By Dan Smith, Head of Integrated Marketing for the Middle East and Africa region of Xerox’s Developing Markets Operations.
For a few years now, the business landscape is such that most organizations are being forced to re-think the way they invest in technology. Business leaders, tasked with cutting costs and improving worker productivity, are discovering that technology alone cannot help them achieve their goals.
While technology over the years has played an increasingly important role to automate the exchange of data, the role of the document cannot be overlooked. In fact, the document is the container of knowledge that connects people and business processes.
The labour that lies in the production, distribution and use of documents in today’s business environment is a hidden and misunderstood aspect of cost, productivity and IT infrastructure. The interesting question here is, why have so few organizations focused on document management to help them in increasing their bottom line by cost cutting and increasing productivity.
The answer is complex yet within reach. Technological innovation is necessary, but equally important is an understanding of the work culture and human behaviour.
There needs to be a shift in thinking when it comes to IT, the focus needs to be less on the ‘T’ and more on the ‘I’. Business leaders need to remember that while they purchased technology to be more efficient, it is actually information that generates new ideas and drives decisions across the organization.
83% of organizations say that documents that contain this type of information are critical to all business processes, yet only 44% measure document-related costs within the organization, according to a recent leading industry vendor-sponsored survey conducted by IDC.
Effective document management has the potential to unleash a new wave of information worker productivity in the workplace. Research indicates that information within documents is needed thousands of times per day; to satisfy a customer, to close a deal, to make the most of an opportunity and to minimize risk. Organizations that improve the way they work with documents improve the way they do business.
Organizations that quickly recognize and adapt to this new IT shift will focus on identifying how & when information is transferred and determine the most effective way for employees to obtain it. By turning to an expert for document management consulting, these organizations will be better equipped to capture, store and retrieve information, giving them a competitive edge by improving customer service, speed time to market, and business continuity plans that are in place to protect intellectual property.
The key is smarter document management solutions that help companies to capitalize on the important information within documents.
Smarter Way to Work with Information
In a business environment that grows more and more dependent on information in all formats on a daily basis, the flow of information needs to be as manageable as possible so that workers can create, share and use the knowledge on which the business runs.
To attain the next level of efficiency, an organization must provide employees with a smarter way to work with information. Here are some suggestions on how to achieve greater productivity through smarter document management:
- Review current processes. By understanding where knowledge exists and how it is transferred, businesses can identify inefficiencies before adding new technology or changing existing practices.
- Evaluate customer communication. 90% of customer communication is through documents, making the content and distribution of these documents vital to the way the company wins and keeps customers. By reviewing current communications activities, an organization can determine how to best get the right information to the people in a way that will have the greatest impact.
- Consider new ways to do business. Multifunction devices are now offered at a price range to fit every budget. Assess document output needs or consider outsourcing to determine the most efficient way to free up time to focus on core business objectives.
- Empower the workforce. Organizations spend billions of dollars on technology without considering the impact it will have on employees. To ensure new technology is deployed most effectively, the company should consider work habits and cultural norms, and train employees so they understand how the implementation will integrate with current work processes.
- Measure the return on investment. Establish metrics and benchmarks for productivity improvements before making technology decisions.
Creating a healthy office environment that supports the way people and teams actually work should be looked upon as an opportunity and not a challenge. If an organization succeeds at finding the right balance between design and technology, people and workgroups will increase productivity, worker performance and collaboration.