Digital Transformation for the Mid-Market, One Step at a Time

document management system document controlDigital transformation can be thought of as embracing digital technologies to improve the efficiency of manual processes; many identify digital transformation in the office with going paperless, which typically includes Enterprise Content Management or Document Management Systems. Transformation should be the development of new and innovative ways of doing things, rather than simply supporting and improving traditional methods.

In a recent article by IT World Canada, they identified that 38% of Canadian executives in large enterprise companies are rolling out their digital transformation strategies, and 50% of them are in the planning and building stage, with 12% still trying to determine a plan. What is interesting is that it is very hard, as well as very expensive to transform a large enterprise. There is also typically a significant disconnect between the “C-level executive” and the front line employee.

Canadian mid-market companies are slower to move, with 31% of them taking steps toward digital transformation. However, what is extremely interesting is that the significantly large group of mid-market companies in Canada, are actually much more nimble, and with limited investment can more easily make strides towards significant efficiency gains through digital transformation. They can do this one step at a time without stalling or impacting departmental throughput. Another supporting factor is that mid-market companies have more readily adopted cloud technologies, so they are perhaps more ready for transformation than they realize.

Here’s an example of a simple workflow integration to a Document Management System and ERP or financial system.

AP Processing

document management system sample ap workflow

1. Capture AP Invoice – Inputs

a. AP Clerk scans paper invoice to input into AP workflow.
b. Fax technology monitors inbound fax over IP for invoices and automates input of invoice to AP workflow.
c. Email technology monitors inbound AP email for invoices and automates input of invoice to AP workflow.
d. AP Clerk drags and drops digital invoice files that may have come from other digital sources to input invoice to AP workflow.

2. Document processing and routing

Once the invoice is input into the AP workflow, the processing engine captures the document, converts it to a text searchable PDF, and captures the important data (i.e. company, invoice number, purchase order number etc.), then matches the important data with the financial system’s AP data and routes the document to the AP clerk’s workspace (Electronic Document Management System or Document Control System) and is ready for the operator review step.

3. Operator review and approval – this step can be an “exception only” step

AP clerk reviews to ensure that the document is correct and approves it for payment.

4. Deliver to Document Management System and link to client in Financial System

Approve payment in financial system and save and link document for records and audit.

This is a very simple workflow example that can be implemented easily with workflow software that is integrated into a financial system and an inexpensive cloud-based document management system to support digital storage. Your managed print services partner should be able to recommend the appropriate hardware and software, and manage a proof of concept through to full production and final implementation. We typically see that automating the AP process will cut processing time by 60% – 70% –  now that’s efficiency! Your organization may be ready for this.

Keep in mind that similar, very simple digital workflow processes can be implemented for HR, other finance functions, quality control in production areas, etc. Organizations may not be ready for a complete technology revamp quite yet  i.e. integrating all systems inside and outside of your firewalls. There are so many complexities – all of the organizations your organization deals with would have to support the same systems, standardized protocols and documents. A total technology revamp won’t happen overnight, it will take a considerable amount of time but for now, your digital transformation can effectively be supported one step at a time. It’s time to get rid of those filing cabinets and transition to inexpensive, integrated cloud-based document management systems.

Don’t invest in technology before you figure out the future state!

Before you select a partner to implement your document workflow or document management system, make sure that they have the ability to configure the system to support your business processes – not the other way around. We more often than not see companies invest in software that typically has way more capabilities than they will ever use. Keep in mind that lower cost, open architecture solutions are available.

Get in touch with one of our experts to determine the optimal way to configure your document management system or read this case study to see how this organization benefited from an optimized system.

What is the State of Your Organization’s Print Infrastructure Security?

document management system state of print infrastructure security hp mfpYour organization invests a great deal of time, effort and resources into the development of intellectual assets, so it’s important to protect your organization’s intellectual property from being compromised or stolen. Open printer ports, printer web servers and FTP protocols are becoming a popular entry point for hackers, and unfortunately Print Infrastructure Security is an area that can often be overlooked, thus exposing organizations to potential security breaches. In order to determine whether or not this is the case, you should start by conducting a Print Infrastructure Security Assessment to pinpoint potential vulnerabilities. We then recommend that you implement software and business processes that will lock down the physical and digital print environment, automate print security and enable reporting and auditing capabilities.

Assess Your Network Printer Security

A comprehensive Network Printer Security Assessment should analyze the device set-up and configurations of all of the print devices on the network, as well as how they are utilized for all of their functions. The following is a list of items to examine during your security assessment:

Unauthorized Access

Unauthorized access is the use of a computer or network without permission. A cracker, or hacker, is someone who tries to access a computer or network illegally. Some hackers break into a computer or network for the challenge. However, others do this to utilize or steal intellectual property and resources, or corrupt data. Assess the access points – physical and digital – and protocols on your printer network and on all of your networked print devices, and identify which access points and protocols can be used as inroads for potential security threats.

Unclaimed Print Jobs

Determine what happens to unclaimed physical print jobs. When confidential documents get printed and left on work group print devices, what happens to these documents?

Device Settings and Ports

Assess networked print device ports and protocols and identify which ones aren’t being used.

Scan Process

Determine which users are scanning documents and where these documents are being sent once they have been scanned on devices within the corporate network.

Vulnerabilities List

Document all of the security vulnerabilities you discovered and develop a security plan to address each vulnerability.

The following HP video is an excellent depiction of some potential print security breach scenarios:

Click here to see if you qualify for a free Print Infrastructure Security Assessment.

How to Improve the Security of Your Network Printer Environment

Device Security Policy

If your Device Security Policy is not comprehensive enough or you don’t have one that is formally documented, your organization may be vulnerable to security threats without even realizing it, so it’s imperative to have a formally documented Device Security Policy and ensure that it gets properly implemented. Make sure that your policy specifies and limits access to information AND network assets. This policy is the foundation for creating a secure network printing environment.

Document Management

Document management, often referred to as a Document Management System (DMS), is the use of a computer system and software to store, manage and track electronic documents and electronic images of paper-based information captured through the use of a document scanner, multi-function device or networked copier.

Let’s take a look at traditional paper-based filing. Rows of large document folders are put into these filing cabinets in the hopes of being stored correctly. Paper doesn’t keep a record of who has viewed it, copied it or scanned it, and it can be destroyed or damaged accidentally by things like a water pipe bursting, fire or the accidental spillage of coffee.

Think of a Document Management System as a large electronic filing cabinet with folders that are stored in an unlimited number of drawers (based on hard drive space of course). Digital content is secured by user access rights. When documents are checked out, changed audit logs can track who has looked at the document, changed the document with version references and can even prevent unauthorized users from viewing and/or printing the document. The Document Management System’s IT backup processes ensure that documents don’t get damaged or destroyed accidentally, unlike those stored in paper-based filing systems.

Print Workflows and Process Automation

For many organizations it’s difficult to monitor and manage each and every user’s print jobs. Many times print jobs are forgotten or sent to the wrong printer and documents end up sitting on the printer, never to be retrieved by the user. This is especially troublesome when confidential documents are left for everyone (even unauthorized users) to see.

To prevent this from happening you should establish print workflows and automate print processes. A print workflow is the definition, execution and automation of business processes where tasks, information or documents are passed from one participant to another according to a set of procedural rules.

FollowMe Printing allows users to print to a shared print queue, and roam and release their print job from any enabled output device. This ensures that printing remains confidential to a specific user and reduces printed waste from documents left uncollected at the printer. If a printer is out of service, users can release their print jobs from the next available printer, without disrupting productivity.

Authenticating at multi-function output devices enables custom scan capture workflows to be presented at the panel. This process ensures secure access to retrieve printed content while using the devices as on-ramps to key line of business applications storing captured content.

Tracking and reporting tools create transparency for all print costs, helping finance managers allocate or recover costs from individual departments or clients. Organizations can also use tracking data to help them comply with industry regulations such as Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX).

Automated Print Device Security Software

Strengthen information security and significantly reduce administrative overhead by utilizing automated print device security software that automatically deploys and updates print device identity certificates. HP Security Manager performs these automatic deployment and updates, and offers a simple, intuitive process for securing your print fleet. It efficiently deploys and monitors devices by applying a single security policy across the fleet, and secures new HP devices as soon as they are added to your network with HP Instant-on Security. Actively maintain and verify compliance with your defined security policies using HP Security Manager’s automated monitoring and risk-based reporting.

If you would like additional information on how to improve the state of your organization’s print infrastructure security, please get in touch with one of our MPS Experts or request a free Print Infrastructure Security Assessment.

Are Your Digital Documents Secure?

secure document storage digital document securityPaper-based document storage either in on-site file cabinets and bankers boxes or off-site storage should really be a thing of the past. Paper document storage can be a challenge for users to find and access the documents they need. Additionally, with the increasing move to employees who are working remotely and can do business with a laptop and a cell phone, paper document storage makes productivity impossible. In addition, there is risk associated with maintaining only paper copies of essential documents – both damage and security risks. Transitioning to digital documents is a good option to combat these challenges.

When an organization is looking to reduce the use and storage of paper (go paperless), it is important to work closely with managed print services experts to ensure that the printing and imaging environment is set up to support efficient workflow processes for both paper to digital and complete digital workflows. Without an efficient process for your users, the efforts to reduce paper and implement secure online storage may be a significant challenge. As with any other business process, if it’s not simple for the users, the business process will fail.

There are many simple effective software products that make the transition to digital documents very simple and effective for the users. It is also crucial to remember that document security is an especially important consideration when going digital, so the software products need to be correctly integrated with a secure printing document control system and secure online storage system. With these integrations and custom workflows down to the user level, a digital document storage plan will be successfully implemented and is more likely to achieve user adoption.

Digital Documents Storage Challenges

Before implementing a digital storage solution for general office documents and records management, there are some potential challenges to consider:

  1. Un-findable files – Without a simple, standardized process and naming conventions for moving documents into your secure online storage system, digital documents can be scanned or dragged and dropped to a repository and lost forever.
  2. Non-text-searchable documents – If there is no automated/simple process to convert paper and digital files to text-searchable PDFs with reliable compression, future search and usability of the digital documents may not be feasible.
  3. Complex workflow/process – If the workflow process to get digital documents into the secure online document repository isn’t simple, the users will not adopt.
  4. Digital files at risk – Without integrating a secure printing system and locking down the printing and imaging devices for security, your firm’s digital documents may be at risk.

Secure Printing with the Help of a Managed Print Services (MPS) Partner

With all of the challenges associated with digital documents storage and printing, how does an organization overcome these hurdles for a successful implementation? It starts with MPS experts who really understand all of the ramifications and understand your business needs. So, what should a managed print services partner help with?

  1. Have an audit of the office print device infrastructure completed with a proven software application to gain a clear understanding of your organization’s risks.
  2. Implement an automated print device security software to close the gaps on risks of potential security breaches and ensure a secure print environment.
  3. Implement a document control system to lock down all functions of printing and imaging devices (print releasing, scanning, faxing, copying) to require and enable quick and simple user authentication. This will increase security and provides a user audit trail.
  4. Ensure that the workflow for the user has active directory integration to enable serving up custom workflows by user. The custom workflows can be created for hard copy to digital conversion and routing to storage and/or digital workflow and routing to storage from the desktop.

To ensure success in moving to a paperless environment, getting rid of the file cabinets that take up so much space, and move to secure online storage, contact an MPS expert to learn more.