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.

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.