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Building a Bridge to the Cloud - Leaving a Different Kind of Legacy Behind…

  
  
  
  
  

2legacy

 Adjective

Definition of LEGACY

of, relating to, or being a previous or outdated computer system <transfer the legacy data> <a legacy system>

As a company, we at DocuVantage are seeing increasing evidence of the dramatic acceleration and adoption of “Cloud” based technologies and the transformation of the traditional business process.

As a “Cloud” technology provider participating at the center of this remarkable evolution, we see this transformation first hand, both in what our clients seek to accomplish using our technology, and in the conversations and collaborations we participate in on an industry level.

It’s also important to note that due to our close involvement in the day-to-day needs and activities of our clients, we see evidence and trends that are not always reported on in the industry press or by market research firms – In fact, its more often the case that we see these trends in dramatically different ways than industry research may indicate.  Here are some simple observations – any one of which stands as a potential research topic on its own –

–      Accelerated adoption of “Cloud-Only” solutions (Also evidenced in the reduction of in-house IT investments) as “requirements” by certain organizations.

–      Accelerated adoption of “Business Process Automation” solutions (BPA/BPO) to address more departmentally focused objectives (as opposed to more traditional enterprise level objectives).

–      Accelerated investments in departmental solutions as opposed to IT mandated company standards…  A relaxing of the requirement to embrace company-wide IT standards.

–      Accelerated adoption of “operating-expense-based (OPEX)” (or subscription-based) commercial models and the dramatic departure away from traditional software licensing models that are often capital-expense (CAPEX) centric.

–      A less publicized, shift away from additional deployments of on-premise / licensed software in lieu of SaaS/OPEX.  We are seeing this, even in organizations where investments have been made in legacy solutions. 

Enterprise level Document Management and Business Process Management solutions have historically required on-premise, otherwise known as legacy systems, to provide the functionality desired by organizations that are streamlining operations to reduce costs and save time. When you consider the time, expense, and attention required by legacy approaches, it becomes increasing obvious why organizations are moving to embrace cloud solutions and their business models so rapidly.describe the image

DocuVantage OnDemand completely eliminates the need for these legacy systems by providing the same or often better functionality in a cloud based system.  Again, stating it simply, ours and other Cloud-based solutions eliminate the need for in-house servers, databases, administrators, backup tapes, software roll-outs, updates, etc…   All of the issues that have traditionally slowed the progress of business systems are now increasingly obsolete.

 

Free Demo: Request a Firsthand Document Management Best Practices Demonstration

DocuVantage Presents to Cloud Computing East Conference in DC

  
  
  
  
  

DocuVantage had the pleasure of speaking on Healthcare Cloud Architectures at the Cloud Computing East Conference in Washington DC.  

Topics covered were Cloud Architectures; What are they and why do you care? Various service models such as SaaS, PAAS, IAAS and CAAS were explained. Dave Wiggins, CTO, discussed deployment models and what that means for an organization; public, private, hybrid or some of both as well the clients, datacenters and connectivity needed for various business challenges. Do you need real time access to Imaging, Patient Records, Accounts Payable, Personnel Files or Policies and Procedures. 

It was a great learning experience and we hope everyone enjoyed it! 

Cloud Computing Conference in DC 2014 resized 600



Marketing Asset Management: Dance Away Your Campaign Pains

  
  
  
  
  

dance away campaign painsMarketing is a crucial element of your business operations if you really want your company to swap sales stagnancy for game-changing success. Transcending those borders and passing those bridges – the ones you never even thought you’d come across – is only possible with the planning and execution of a successful marketing program. And that means making your marketing campaign management as seamless, consistent and productive as possible. 

So how do you ensure that your marketing content meets the needs of its audience? It’s all about the process, and making sure that your process flow is both custom-tailored and automated for success.

Here’s a process model for your team to follow to help create content that stands out so people listen up:

Lay out your marketing calendar.

For those not familiar with the term, a marketing calendar lists 1) all of your upcoming events and 2) the tasks that must be completed to make each event a success. Let’s say, for example, that you want to enter a new market. What has to happen to make this launch successful? List and prioritize each critical task on the calendar. This now becomes your project plan.

Put some end zones in your game.

Each marketing task should come along with its own goals and specifications. Marketing without specified goals is like a football field without end zones: The audience still makes noise and heavily padded guys still tackle each other, but no value comes out of the game. There’s no score. There’s no winner.

Tangible goals and specifications do three key things:

  1. They ensure that each activity has a purpose that’s in line with the overall project or campaign.
  2. They allow for measurement so you’re able to tweak, ditch or replicate for the future.
  3. They make sure your messaging is on target for your audience so you’re effectively guiding them toward conversion.

Get real about scheduling.

Step One: Assign tasks.
Once you have everything laid out on the calendar, it’s time to assign tasks to individuals. These assignments must come complete with critical due dates, relevant notes and dependencies. This part of the process also brings to light any possible conflicts or complex processes that must be monitored closely. Let’s say you need a specific logo for the aforementioned launch into a new market. The logo must be printed on every piece of content, print or digital, that you put out. So if it’s not designed and approved in time, the creation of all the correlated content is thrown off and your timelines are completely skewed as a result.

Step Two: Allocate resources.
When scheduling tasks, be practical. Know what you should realistically expect from any individual or group. Unrealistic expectations may look good on paper, but in reality, they just mess with your schedule when tasks are not completed on time or up to par. Confirm that due dates are realistic – that they’re achievable by the people assigned with the resources they have. Another good practice is to build in follow-up dates (i.e., “check-ins”) to ensure that each task is on course for timely completion.

Make time to review and approve.

This is when you follow up with those specifications and goals you set. Did the delivered content meet the requirements? Remember: It takes more than well-written or “pretty” content to make a difference in today’s information-saturated world. Your content has to offer actionable substance, real value, for your audience in order to make a difference for your organization.

Let it breathe.

So, now you have your marketing calendar, including:

  • All of your events 
  • The tasks needed to make each event a success
  • The specifications and goals for each task 
  • The role assignments and resource allocations to make it all happen realistically and on schedule

This is a living document: As opportunities arise, complications develop and plans change, your marketing calendar must adapt accordingly. It must evolve with your organization. If you find yourself adding more work, make sure it aligns with your calendar. If not, find additional resources to make it work.

ENCORE!

Dance (don’t stumble) through the workflow process.

Your marketing campaigns are focused on one thing: remarkable content that not only conveys a message, but also makes people perk up, listen up and sign up for whatever you’re offering. But the steps it takes to crank out that remarkable content – from time management and resource allocation to efficient communication and fruitful collaboration – are a difficult dance to master. And that’s where the ultimate choreographer, document management software with workflow automation, comes to dance away your campaign pains.

Want to learn more about transforming your marketing process into a marketing engine for growth? Click below to sign up for a personalized demo with the DocuVantage team to help you make that marketing magic happen.

Free Demo: Request a Marketing Asset Management System Demonstration



Time to Spring Forward with a Document Management Detox

  
  
  
  
  

document spring cleaningAfter such a wicked winter, the first buds, blossoms and bird chirps of spring are certainly a treat: frozen noses to ambrosial aromas and frostbitten ears to sweet symphonies. Everyone knows this weather is ripe to refresh your space, but why limit the sparkle to grunt chores and junk drawers? Clean out, spruce up and organize your files with a dose of disinfecting, structure-flexing document management.

  1. GET RID
    Review your records and purge all files that have reached their retention deadlines. Keeping those records is not only a waste of space, but also leaves them open to discovery in the event of legal action.
     
  2. BE SURE
    Do an extra round of file checkup: a second review of your records to make sure all required documents are present and a quality check on all scanned images. Then go a little broader to review record categories. Are there additional record types that should be managed? Are you keeping and purging according to accurate record retention guidelines?
     
  3. DIG DEEP
    Take a good gander at your document indexing structure. This is an analysis you should do every year to ensure you’re capturing the best quality and right quantity of data. If you realize you’re overloaded with data, or you aren’t capturing enough, make adjustments as needed.
     
  4. PROBE FLOW
    It’s time to hash out your process flow. Do an in-depth workflow analysis each year to keep processes updated, relevant and as streamlined as possible. Did a rule or law change that requires you to add or remove steps? Do you need to adapt operations to a recent audit finding? Are there new opportunities for process automation?
     
  5. TAKE CHARGE
    Validate your access controls and make sure you’ve kept up with staffing fluctuations. Does anyone need broader access? Should anyone’s access be restricted? What about denied altogether?
     
  6. GIVE THANKS
    Thank your boss for making your life easier with a document management system featuring workflow management software that untethers you from cloudy chaos and keeps productivity pristine.

Now that was some spring cleaning worth bragging about. But don’t stop now …

You’re on a roll. Step up the productivity pep with advanced workflow automation. Click the button below to download our complimentary report: Improving Information Movement with Workflow Software.

Whitepaper: Unlock the Secrets of Improving information movement with workflow software



7 Ways “Fear of Document Management” Is Holding You Back

  
  
  
  
  

fear of document managementIf you like wasting time with inefficient processes and you welcome mismanaged mayhem, then a real document management system with powerful workflow software, records management and email integration is not for you.

You like things the way they are, no matter how broken down, beat up and tapped out your workflow engine is. We know what you’re thinking, more or less:

  1. You aren’t one for proactive decisions. 
    You know that planning in advance saves lots of time and money in the long run. You know that putting the big picture into perspective makes it easier to connect the little pieces in the best, most efficient way.

    But what about that up-front effort? No, thank you. So proactive scheduling and task simplification via workflow management software – no matter how much streamlining, cost-shaving and time-saving it gets you – is way out of your comfort zone and simply out of the question.
     
  2. You don’t sweat the deadlines. 
    Missing deadlines isn’t a big deal, so you’re totally fine with using that spreadsheet – you know, the one no one remembers to reference or update until it’s too late.

    But what are a few late fines here and there? You really don’t understand the fuss. Plus, scrutinizing critical dates with real document management software and setting up task alerts require more of that proactive planning! So while you’d get automatically notified about upcoming deadlines, thereby preventing late fines, you’d rather flounder through a spreadsheet than put in the effort to take charge.
     
  3. You don’t mind fumbling around for files. 
    That document is being reviewed, and it’s around here … somewhere. Sure, there’s document management with business workflow automation out there, and it lets you add documents to a business process (keeping all related files together), updates you on the status of a document (showing what’s been changed and who’s next up in the chain of review) and prompts you when an action needs to be taken (reviewing, approving or sending out externally).

    But that whole “business process improvement” thing is way overrated. Plus, all the time you spend looking up and tracking down documents isn’t so bad.
     
  4. You don’t feel like playing “version surgeon.”
    You laugh in the face of document version control. Completely unnecessary! Everyone should know that “smithcontract_dw_v14-edits-3.docx” is the latest version – I mean, really. And you know that document management spiel: how it opens your eyes to complete version history, lets you manage updates by checking documents in/out of editing and streamlines your search for files based on modification date and user.

    But all that stuff must take effort to set up! Not only that: You’re used to constant versioning questions. You dominate the field of inefficiency. Sure, it’s a field besmirched with the skid marks of constant back-and-forth, but it’s your field, and it’s familiar territory.
     
  5. You’re a big fan of big printing.
    Printing request forms just to have someone approve them? Sure, why not? Electronic approvals via contract management software may save ink and paper, not to mention the weeks it often takes to get contracts back. You’d get insight into viewing, signature and routing status, and that digital signature means signers are able to sign from anywhere.

    But, all this change is overwhelming. Again, you’d rather keep things static, no matter how stagnant they are. Keep those printers humming!
     
  6. You don’t mind the email sludge.  
    You’ve got hundreds of copies and versions of files being emailed back and forth during a review cycle. It’s a lot, but that’s what emails are for, right? Then again, the IT team has been telling you that email software isn’t designed for long-term storage and that it doesn’t perform well when besieged with high-volume correspondence.

    But routing and indexing your emails/attachments in a separate document management system must be super complicated. You’re sure your team couldn’t handle it. And who needs optical character recognition (OCR) for full-text search, anyway?
     
  7. You don’t prep for audits.
    Auditors come in, and their eyes glaze over at the boxes and piles of files they have to go through. But hey, that’s their problem … right? You’ve heard the pitch that records management software makes an auditor’s job easier, which makes him or her happier and more pleasant to deal with.

    But that simply can’t be the case! Auditors are going to give you a hard time regardless of the state of your records. Plus, your employees love taking on that “file fetcher” role, shackling themselves to the auditor’s every beck and call. Then again, there are those options for setting up audit trails and record retention controls/alerts. Hm. Now that you think about it, that would be useful. Maybe next quarter. Or next year. Or maybe next …

Okay, so this was obviously a gross overstatement of the thoughts someone might have when confronting a possible transition to document management software. But the truths underlying these exaggerated ruminations are spot on! Let’s face it: Change is scary, especially when you’ve got to get everyone on board to achieve real process improvement.

But you know what’s even scarier? The inefficiencies, inaccuracies and insolvencies brought on by improper document management. 

There’s no time like the present to make a change, cut ties with wonky workflow and make process improvement a priority … finally! Click the button below to download our complimentary whitepaper, Accelerating your Service Delivery through Process Automation.

Whitepaper: Unlock the Secrets of Improving information movement with workflow software



9 Document Management Solutions With HR at Heart

  
  
  
  
  

What’s the biggest frustration for HR departments? Lack of strategized, secured and streamlined document management solutions. 462577443

  • “I can’t find the files I need. There’s no organization, no central storage for documents. Email folders, and even cloud-based folders, don’t help at all.”
  • We just had a fire and all of our personnel files were destroyed, now what do we do?
  • We have 10 offices and now we have 10 copies of our files. Which one is correct?

… Sound familiar? If so, we feel your pain. DocuVantage has worked with enough frustrated HR managers, directors and generalists to know that the endless search through mismanaged personnel files makes productivity (and workplace satisfaction) impossible.

One, two, three: ACTION.

Step One: Read our blog post on document management secrets for the HR team, part one. 

Step Two: Read our blog post on document management secrets for the HR team, part two.

Step Three: Get smart about document management solutions and best practices that keep your workday frustration free – well, as frustration free as possible.

  1. Get digital. 
    Centralize your personnel file storage in electronic format and share it with authorized personnel, regardless of location. This ensures that there is only one copy of each file. Make it policy, and enforce it.
     
  2. Clear out those file cabinets.
    Ditch the boxes and make room for more people – people who have the power to advance your organization. It’s pretty logical move: Another sales person is definitely going to generate more revenue than those file cabinets, don’t you think?
     
  3. Consciously expunge.
    Keep your files as long as record retention laws and records management stipulations mandate that you do so. Then, get rid of them. Once they pass that retention period, they become a space-wasting and audit findings liability.
     
  4. Control and track.
    Control who has permission to view and touch files. Keep track of all the times these files have been accessed, as well as who has been accessing them.
     
  5. Help your system help you.
    Have your system remind you when reviews are due. Don’t put undue pressure on yourself to remember everything! That’s not only impossible, but it’s also a recipe for distress.
     
  6. Make audits easier.
    Keep everything organized and electronically accessible. This way, when the auditors come by, all your files are orderly and ready to go. Only give them access to the records they are requesting, that’s it, don’t open yourself up to legal discovery. This makes for a happy auditor, and a happy auditor makes everyone happy.
     
  7. Turn “file complete?” into “file COMPLETE!” 
    Make it easy to determine if a file is complete by organizing and identifying documents coherently and consistently. Once again: Make it policy, and enforce it.
     
  8. Check in; check out. Nothing left to doubt.
    Implement a content check-in and check-out guard that prevents users from wiping out each other’s edits and keeps finished documents from being mistakenly tampered with.
     
  9. Stop printing. Seriously.
    Take advantage of electronic signatures so you stop wasting resources on unnecessary pen-to-paper signatures.

Still want to hear more from the process automation station? Stay tuned to HR process improvement by clicking below and downloading DocuVantage’s free guide: Improving Information Movement with Workflow Software.

Whitepaper: Unlock the Secrets of Improving information movement with workflow software



No-Nonsense Document Management for Nonprofits/NGOs: What to Look for

  
  
  
  
  

Many people assume that nonprofits and NGOs are outside the domain of business process improvement. This could not be further from the truth. On the contrary, it’s often the case that “profitless” processes – due to the countless stakeholders and key decision makers involved – require the most fine-tuning to their operational efficiency and document management.describe the image

We could go on, but we’ll let an actual NGO take it from here. They live and breathe the complexity of nonprofit/nongovernmental operations, so they naturally say it best.

This global NGO found their document management solution.

The following is an account from an actual NGO whose document management system needed a little boost of digital efficiency.

As a global NGO, we face many challenges trying to efficiently and effectively deliver services while maintaining compliance with government regulations. We knew that keeping paper in the processes and records was presenting challenges that were growing along with our organization. We knew we needed a better solution, but we weren’t sure exactly what that was.

The Challenges
We did, however, have a firm grasp on the challenges we were facing:

  • Keeping track of contract deadlines
  • Making sure everyone was working from the same version of the document
  • Getting documents to the right reviewer at the right time
  • Guaranteeing access to documents, contracts and records from anywhere, at any time
  • Ensuring that our data was protected

The Solution
After researching and testing out multiple platforms and vendors, we confirmed that DocuVantage’s document management software would meet all of our challenges – across each locale and every department of our international organization.

  • Contract Management 
    With the contract review and approval process we implemented, participants in multiple locations all have instant access to the documents for review.
  • Workflow Automation 
    The workflow engine automatically delivers the document when the prior reviewer has completed his or her task.
  • Visibility And Intelligence
    Everyone now knows where the document is in the review process. No more phone calls or emails trying to track down the document. No more, “Wait until I return from XX country office,” delays. 
  • Organizational Growth
    The document management software has allowed us to more than triple the number of contracts we’re able to process.
  • Data Security
    Many of our documents contain sensitive financial information, so document security was a major concern of ours. The system’s information encryption and triple redundancy gives us the peace of mind we need that our data is safe and secured.
  • System Flexibility
    The software is so adaptable that we’re able to use it to solve issues beyond document management.
    o We have officially automated our procurement-request process to document all of our purchases. 
    o We have automated all travel authorizations, boosting the efficiency and accuracy of recordkeeping.
    o Vendor invoice payments are now quickly and effectively processed, saving us time and keeping our vendors happy. And, as we all know, a happy vendor is a happy NGO.

Don’t settle for nonsense.

What your nonprofit or NGO needs is “no-nonsense” document management. No-nonsense does not mean a dip in functionality. It means that the system is highly organized, easy to use and compliance oriented. Period.

You’ll know you’ve hit no-nonsense gold if the document management software has the following functions and tools:

  • Organized data and tagging
  • Content search
  • Alerts and timers
  • Automated document version control
  • Audit history
  • Access controls
  • Process automation
  • Reminders
  • Task delegation
  • Retention schedules
  • Data encryption
  • Global access via browser
  • Electronic signatures

Want more process improvement tips for NGOs and nonprofits? Click the button below to download our complimentary whitepaper, Accelerating your Service Delivery through Process Automation.

Whitepaper: Unlock the Secrets of Improving information movement with workflow software



4 Ways To Diagnose Your Contract Management System As Productivity Parasite

  
  
  
  
  

181519186We recently reported on a study conducted by the National Contract Management Association (NCMA), which opened our eyes to the rampant inefficiency plaguing the contract lifecyle management (CLM) of countless organizations – companies and NGOs/nonprofits sweeping the variegated gamut of industry type, geographic location and size.

Contract management is a bit under the weather.

Contracts are ghostly pale.

  • 81% of companies surveyed said that simply finding contracts was a major concern.
  • 54% found it difficult to access specific terms and clauses without scouring through contracts. 
  • More than half of companies said they were unable to analyze their contracts by vendor, customer, product or service line in order to achieve full negotiation leverage and/or optimize performance from a vendor or customer.

Professionals are sleep deprived.

  • At 75% of companies surveyed, managing contractual commitments – a crucial aspect of preserving business relationships and transactions among parties – was “keeping contract professionals awake at night.”

Value is flat lining.

  • 40% of companies surveyed reported that they would achieve large savings in contract procurement by managing contracts better.
  • 31% felt they would benefit from large incremental revenue by managing sales contracts better.

Risk has never felt so alive.

  • 75% of companies listed contractual risk as a major concern. 
  • 61% had no idea of the interdependencies amongst their contracts.
  • 66% either rarely kept track of or did not track side letters or supporting documents at all.
  • 60% did not track contingent liabilities.
  • Over 50% of companies surveyed had no reliable process to alert the appropriate people to respond to triggered risks.
  • 26% were dissatisfied with risk disclosure in financial reporting.

If you want to speed up your business operations, maximize profitability and reduce contractual risk, you must carefully examine how well your system measures up against industry best practices. Then, you must commit to realistic and reliable document management software that resolves all your CLM afflictions – from contract creation to visibility and commitment management access to contractual risk tracking.

Is your CLM infecting your organization with inefficiency?

The best way to find out if you need a little more pep in your contract management step is to bring in a document management expert to examine your system. But let’s pause for a second. What do you do when you’re feeling under the weather? You probably make an appointment with a doctor or other healthcare professional, but that’s not the first thing you do. First, you do some researching online or you ask a few friends and family members to see if you really do need that prescription, operation or treatment.

Same deal applies here.

Read through the following “patient records” to see if you can relate to their ailments.

When contract management is sneezing, seizing and wheezing for attention.

In DocuVantage’s ongoing operation on business process improvement, the sickest subjects are pursued by the examiners of the Document Control Squad. These are their stories.

Names have been encrypted to protect the privacy of the organizations involved.

  1. They were losing their memory. 
    Organization A had a lease that rolled over to a new year because they forgot about the 90-day notice. They got stuck paying for office space that they had already moved out of and were no longer using at all. This culminated in a $50,000 treatment to mitigate a seemingly harmless case of memory malaise.
     
    Organization B forgot to renew its research contract in time to keep the current team. Research is something that requires team continuity – No matter how hard you try to capture the information about the research, it’s an unavoidable fact that some of that invaluable information and thought processes exist only in the minds of the researchers. The lapse in contract renewal meant they lost the current team and had to replace them with new people, people who were not privy to the previous team’s ingenious ideas. It cost Organization B several months of repeated work to get back on track.
     
  2. They were losing their vision. 
    Organization C had a cell phone contract that was automatically renewed for two more years at the old (pricier) price because they forgot to review and renegotiate. With over 1,000 employees, this little oversight cost them more than $100,000. This was a lesson on the importance of keeping a close and vigilant eye on contracts.

    Organization D had contract files stored in 15 different departments. Some were paper files and some were in electronic form. It became the norm for their team to spend hours scouring for contract documents. Even the legal team didn’t know where the documents were! Needless to say, the lawyers had no idea what the company was legally obligated for. Luckily, this contract visibility issue was solved with a smart contract management system before an unexpected contract violation could make matters worse.
     
  3. They were losing their mental acuity. 
    Organization E knew it had a problem when, on multiple occasions, one customer sent the wrong version of a contract out for signatures. This may seem like a minor issue, but it only takes one small mistake in decision making to tip the scale and cause serious damage. In one instance, sending out the wrong version cost Organization E $20,000 because updated pricing was not included in the older version that had been erroneously signed.

    Organization F was in complete disarray. One particularly troubled employee caught our attention with her anguish: “It takes hours to enter everyone’s comments and merge their changes into the document. I send out the emails and then they come back in at different times. And each time, I have to manually merge the comments and changes! Since the reviewers are working from their own copies, they often make the same comments and changes. Or they include feedback that contradicts another reviewer’s words! This is not only a huge waste of time, but also a huge shot to my workplace happiness… not to mention my sanity in general!” This situation was bad. But hope, happiness and productive health was restored when our Critical CLM Crew grafted in the proper contract management software.
     
  4. They were experiencing some hiccups. 
    Organization G was the perfect example of a simple mistake that cascades into a maelstrom of frustration. Their IT department set up a shared drive for their contracts, and it was working great until someone accidently deleted all the files. One of the company’s power users didn’t realize that he had selected all of the files and sub-folders inside one of the main folders when he clicked that unforgiving “delete” button. Fortunately, the IT team was able to recover the files from tape – in most cases the back-ups are not done or checked daily and data is lost forever. Unfortunately, Organization G lost a week of changes because of the backup schedule and tape capacity. Just one little hiccup opened the airways to a mess of irritation.

They all had one thing in common: a happy ending. A masterful contract management treatment plan resolved all of their problems, providing a central location for all contracts, lifecycle management to track revisions, event reminders to ensure contracts don’t expire or rollover without review and protection from accidental deletion or intentional destruction.

Don’t stop at contract management when you’re getting your organization in fighting shape! Keep it up with advanced workflow automation. Click the button below to download our complimentary report: Improving Information Movement with Workflow Software.

Whitepaper: Unlock the Secrets of Improving information movement with workflow software



PART II: 5 Document Management Secrets for Your HR Team

  
  
  
  
  

200384172 001This is the second part of our feature on HR process improvement through a powerful information management system. The first installment featured four document management secrets for your HR team. Ready for the next five?

Here are five more tidbits to prime your knowledge on powerful document management and process automation for your HR department:

  1. Document management software allows you to automate your performance review process.
    One of our clients came to us with an interesting challenge, they wanted to use our solution for employee reviews and they knew that we had automated alerts, but not quite what they needed.  They requested that we give the alerts the ability to automatically trigger a workflow process.  We did that and now they never forget a performance review again! With an automated alerting system, your document management system tells you when it’s time to execute those critical reviews, allowing you to electronically distribute the necessary information to the reviewers and even have reminders set to ensure they get completed on time.
     
  2. Grant access to documents from remote offices.
    One of our clients is a large technology consulting firm with offices located in multiple states.  Many of their people work on multiple projects and often need to be tasked from other offices.  With their paper records, each office ended up keeping a copy of their personnel file.  What they ended up with is mismatching files and copies located in multiple offices.  With our solution they do not have to make copies, overnight files or even fax or email critical documents. Now there is no need to keep duplicate copies in the remote offices, keep only the electronic copy and save office space.  Everything is accessible in one cloud-based repository.
     
  3. Keep all critical files on lockdown with secure document management.
    One of our fortune 1000 customers has so many employees that they had to dedicate a team of people just to retrieve and replace employee files.  They need to be kept secure but authorized people need access. The expense was growing right along with the company.  With paper records, you have to remember to lock the files away whenever you leave your desk, even if it’s just for a quick snack break or a run to the bathroom. If you don’t lock them up, you’re liable to HIPAA violations. With an electronic document management system, the system timeout setting automatically logs you out and shuts down access to files.
     
    But it’s not just the locked-up documents you have to worry about when you rely on paper files. When your records are secured in an electronic system, you don’t have to worry about personal information being left absentmindedly on people’s desks.
     
  4. Never worry about “returning files” after viewing.
    This one’s simple: When you receive a paper document, you have to put it back when you’re finished. But, what if you return it to the wrong place or, worse yet, you forget to put it back altogether? We’re all human and we all make mistakes, but these mistakes lead to lost, damaged, violated or stolen documents.  The time saving here are enormous.  Your HR team can literally save hours per day by not having to carry documents back and forth between their desks and the locked file cabinets.
     
    In the seamless world of electronic document management, you’re never in taking possession of the original document.  You’re simply viewing a copy of it, while the real document stays locked up in the system – only accessible to the appropriate people, always secure and never misplaced.
     
  5. Set up an electronic file for employee data, and only set it up once!
    Document management should not be a hassle.  One client maintains over 50 documents for each employee.  In their old system, every time they added a document to the file, they had to type all of the information again, name, address, phone, etc.  This led to many mistakes and incorrect data.  In our system when you add new documents all you have to do is enter the employee ID to link the document to the corresponding record, no repeated typing of their information.


Want more tips on taking the hassle out of HR information management? Click below to download DocuVantage’s free report: Improving Information Movement With Workflow Software.

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The Real Deal On Process Improvement: The Why, The What, The How

  
  
  
  
  

470937585Process improvement. That’s a phrase that sends shivers down both managers’ and employees’ spines. Why? People – well, most people – are adverse to change. Whether it’s a fear of the unknown, a touch of laziness or a stubborn attachment to the status quo, a change in the way things get done doesn’t bode well with most individuals – not at first, at least. But if you don’t commit to improvement, you can’t commit to success.

Do you need a boost of process improvement?

Here’s how you know if your processes are underperforming:

  • People are frustrated.
    They’re wasting time performing tasks that they believe are either unnecessary or should be handled by others. They’re performing tasks without knowing why.
  • People aren’t listening.
    Some are making recommendations for change, but no one cares enough to listen up or follow through with tangible action. 
  • People are working in silos. 
    Employees have had to come up with their own workarounds and they haven’t raised their hand about the problem or communicated their “solution” – if it is, in fact, a solution. Management, therefore, is completely out of the loop when it comes to how things are really being done.  
  • People make rash decisions.
    They’re changing processes or putting new ones in place whenever an unanticipated bottleneck or obstacle comes up. They’re changing the tactic without thinking about the strategy – like putting a cast on a limb without mending the broken bone.

Yes, you need a boost of process improvement.

Here’s the best ways to handle the aforementioned scenarios:

  • Dispense clarity.
    Explain to each team member why a process exists and how it fits into the grand scheme of our business operations.  
  • Ask questions.
    Encourage your team members to think of better ways to handle your processes. Your employees are the “boots on the ground,” so they know the groundwork of your processes best. 
  • Make moves.
    Seriously consider the recommendations your team makes. And if they make sense, work toward implementation. 
  • Analyze events.
    When an issue crops up, determine if it is a one-time event or a repeating occurrence. The “repeating offenders” are the ones you want to mold your process improvement initiatives around.  
  • See reality.
    Evaluate processes on a regular basis to make sure that they are 1) still relevant, 2) still being followed and 3) being followed properly and efficiently.

What does process improvement do for you?

Process improvement is a term that’s thrown around so frequently – like “lean operations,” “synergy” and “best practices” – that it’s lost its true meaning. It’s become a bit ambiguous and abstract, but you can’t afford to shun it because you’ve lost touch with its tangibles.

Here are the palpable advantages of process improvement via powerful document management software

  • Increased productivity. 
    Spend more time on core business activities and less time entering paper records, routing files, printing documents and searching for information. 
  • Automated processes. 
    Work more efficiently by digitally capturing, classifying and delivering information where and when it’s needed. 
  • Grow customer satisfaction and loyalty. 
    Quickly and easily customize your customer communications and respond more efficiently to customer requests. Your customers get the information they need faster and in the formats they prefer.  
  • Reduce waste and overhead costs.  
    Streamline your operations with workflow automation to improve the results of your business processes and reduce printing and shipping costs associated with managing unnecessary paper documents.
  • Improve security and compliance. 
    Your data, including confidential customer information, is protected. With records management, files and even emails, required for record retention and regulatory compliance are automatically routed and stored.

What has process improvement done for other companies?

Sometimes, you need proof. We get that. Here’s the “proof in the pudding” with a story about a real company who sought out DocuVantage for real process improvement

DocuVantage worked with a Voice over IP (VOIP) solution provider to help correct some growth challenges that they were experiencing. As their sales force got more successful, their delivery team became unable to keep up, as a result, their new customers were very unhappy with their initial service delivery. Once they were up and running, everything was good… but the initial startup was painful for all parties involved.

When we began the interview process, it was very clear that the sales team and the delivery team were unhappy with each other, and neither team trusted management to help make things work. It would have been easy to blame the implementation teams for not delivering on time and without incident, but the easy solution is usually not the best solution. Instead, we separated the teams into separate groups to get to the bottom of the issue. Remember: Mending the broken bone comes before you put on the cast if you want a “real heal.”

What did the company learn?
The early team, which included management, had developed the delivery process. And it was very successful. What they did not realize, however, was that they were on both the sales team and the delivery team. So the person who sold the deal was also delivering the solution.

  • As the company grew, an actual sales team was hired – a team that was great at selling, but did not have delivery experience.  
  • The delivery team was not involved in sales and did not effectively communicate with them. They complained to the operations manager, who simply blamed them for not getting their work done. The reality was much different, though: The solution was being promised 1) in a timeframe that was not practical and 2) with equipment that needed to be ordered and configured before delivery.

What did the company achieve?
The solution involved bringing the two teams back together and explaining to them that neither was at fault: They were both working on different pages and with insufficient information.

  • DocuVantage helped them develop a dialog and work as a single team – all members with skin in the game – to outline the sales and delivery process.  
  • The sales team realized that they needed to gather more information. The delivery team realized that they needed to be more involved in the sales process so that the correct information was gathered. 
  • The joint team outlined their process from prospect to delivery, identifying the key communication points that a successful delivery required. 
  • Once they had their plan and process documented, they were able to implement the technology solutions they needed to achieve the results they wanted

You, too, have the ability to achieve tangible process improvement for quantifiable success. For more in-depth information on how to improve your organization’s operations, click below and download DocuVantage’s free report: Accelerating your Service Delivery through Process Automation.

Whitepaper: The Uncensored Guide to Accelerating Service Delivery Through Process Automation

 



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