Transformation: Put documents and processes in the crosshairs

Published on the 22/08/2016 | Written by Newsdesk

Quest for Digital transformation

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Take a closer look at information management in the quest for digital transformation…

That’s a handy piece of advice from Cameron Mount, GM Enterprise Consulting at Fuji Xerox New Zealand. He points out that at the very heart of digital transformation is the need to store, maintain, access and (most importantly) use information. “Information and content management is a problem which organisations have tried to mask with a variety of temporary solutions; that’s why you see a proliferation of C, P and Z drives. These give the illusion of protection against failure and the illusion of suitably rigorous compliance with applicable regulations.”

It’s a band aid on a gunshot wound. And the problem becomes more apparent when all that data squirreled away on various network shares, needs to be used. “Storing information isn’t worth anything [a point made recently by data scientist Andrew Peterson]. Its value lies in what you can do with it – and if your systems and processes make it difficult to access and use information, even if it is digitised, you are not digitally transforming.”

Among the solutions available from Fuji Xerox is its DocuShare, which, explained Mount, helps organisations to take control of information rather than allowing it to become an ‘unruly bucket of data’. “You need to be able to drive actions out of information; where possible, those actions should be automated throughout the lifecycle of the information and also where possible, the exchange should be digital and not printed.”

“You need to be able to drive actions out of information; those actions should be automated and digital.”

With the lifecycle approach, he pointed out, there are improvements in processing speed and a substantially improved ability to respond to customers, partners and internal people who depend on the flow of information. “Take accounts payable. If invoices are scanned and pushed into a workflow which takes them through approval and back into the document management solution for storage and compliance. You get greater visibility, better contract management and faster processing, and it’s auditable. Or, in HR, employee onboarding – make the process electronic and it makes it far easier for professionals to get their work done so they can focus on other tasks.”

Far from pie in the sky, these benefits are very real. In the cases of Go Bus and Southern Cross Campus, organisations which have deployed DocuShare, invoice processing time dropped from 10 days down to just two.

However, it isn’t all sunshine and roses. Mount warned against what he calls ‘digital waste’; automating a poorly performing manual or paper-based process is likely to result in a poorly performing digital one. “The idea is to create efficiency and enable easier access to and use of information by those authorised to do so. You need to focus on the outcomes and bring value back into the process line.”

Among the digital pollutants is email. While it has its place, it also has its limitations, key among which is sheer volume. Next to that, email isn’t an information repository, though it is often used as such. “There is massive reliance on email, and yet it is apparent that people lose information constantly through email. DocuShare provides a better way to share information which also makes it more manageable, with the ability to make workflow rules complete with an audit trail to keep tabs on who is doing what with any specific assets.”

While Mount noted that improved information management and workflow automation can apply to almost any business – and indeed, he said, DocuShare scales -a cross-an enterprise larger companies probably have more pressing needs owing to scale and process proliferation. “What’s interesting is that for many businesses, focusing an initial go on specific problem processes –contract management, customer/employee on boarding – opens up the possibilities for further workflow automation. You start with one area, get that embedded within the organisation and the applicability for better information management becomes clear – it drives the change.”

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