By Jen Barnum, Naviant
These days, I find one of the biggest reasons companies invest in enterprise document management is because of the dreaded paper trail. Think invoices, contracts, receipts, and work orders. I could go on, but you get the idea. Now, as companies try to reduce their footprint, they think they have a solution to the problem as they acquire various applications for which to generate and store content. And while this cuts down on waste, there remains disorganization because the applications do not speak to one another. So, while you may have done away with paper, you’ve created a new problem where workflows stumble. It’s this reliance on disparate systems that can end up leading to even more confusion and overspending. You may have gone digital, but you have no way for which to manage content across departments.
Which brings me to the topic of timing. How do you know if you need an enterprise content management (ECM) system? As an expert in workplace management experiences, the folks at Naviant have helped hundreds of organizations understand when and how to make the transition. Here I present some must-have tips I’ve learned along the way. Keep reading to see if you can spot the signs your organization needs an ECM solution.
- Too Many Mistakes — There’s no question workflow automation can help reduce manual errors. People make mistakes for various reasons including environmental factors, systems, and stress. The more choices an individual must make then, the higher the number of errors. If you feel like your business is prone to misfiling and lost documents, then it’s time to consider ECM. From content creation to completion, an automated ECM system can ensure searchability with ease. Instead of relying on employees to make more choices, an automated workflow can take these decisions out of their hands. The results mean more productivity and fewer mistakes in a workday. Your employees will thank you, and customer service will improve.
- Redundant Business Processes Are Taking Place — Have you ever had an invoice travel the world to get an approval? I’ve seen it happen and the costs are outrageous. When you repeat steps such as data entry, you might as well be tossing cash out the door. The reason being someone must dedicate a portion of their day to getting the information done right. Hello, stress! I can’t count the number of times I’ve made my own mistakes by transposing a number. Do this at work, and you may never find a contract again. The benefits of enterprise content management, on the other hand, means you can eliminate unnecessary keying in of information. Data is available in real time. Approved individuals can access content whenever and wherever they need it, without hassle. What’s more are subsequent steps happen without manual intervention by staff.
- Employee Productivity Is At A Standstill — There will be days when employees are not in the office. What do you do then? If you don’t have an ECM system in place, this can be a significant problem if someone is waiting on a contract, payment, legal matter, or other time-sensitive issues. In this situation, I like my clients to think about their competition. When work is at a standstill, you are falling behind, bottom line. An ECM solution will not let you down. Even on the weekends, automated workflows are taking place. All you must do is establish key parameters to take control of your business processes upon implementation, which Naviant is an expert at helping clients with, and the system will go to work for you. It’s as easy as that.
- Version Controls Are Well, Out Of Control — This is a common complaint amongst our clients. From policies to contracts, it never fails that someone is working with an out-of-date document. This can be dangerous when making business decisions based on outdated information. Tempers flare, and employees point fingers. Keeping up with version numbers in a manual or disparate system can no doubt cause unnecessary headaches. An ECM solution can help you adhere to workplace protocols with built-in audit controls. Any time a document is updated, you’ll know it down to the version. You can also view who made the changes and why while being confident you are working with the latest document. If content requires yearly updates, you can even tell the system to remind you when that time comes.
- Are You Audit-Ready? — Does the word audit put your office in a frenzy? Many companies find themselves hanging on to information just because. They are unsure of when to destroy certain documents since they don’t even know its creation date. This is a big no-no when it comes to industry regulations and legal ramifications that can cripple a business. An ECM system will save you headaches, time, and the potential for fines and legal issues. All you must do is tell the system when a document is set to expire and let the enterprise content management system do the rest.
If you can relate to any of these key points, the timing might be right for you to implement an enterprise document system.
About The Author
Jen Barnum has been a marketer and customer experience professional at Naviant since 2003. She works with companies to digitally transform their processes while also developing solutions to help them stay competitive and increase customer satisfaction. Jen enjoys connecting people with information and making their day-to-day work lives easier using business process management (BPM) and document management solutions (DMS). Learn more about enterprise content management and document management solutions.