Automating Business Processes And Document-related Workflows Is Crucial To Digital Transformation

Information management, business processes, and business systems need to be aligned to improve efficiency, customer experience, compliance, and to put content in context.

Document-intensive processes need to be digitised. The reason is simple: digitalisation improves the customer journey and experience and enhances your organisation’s competitive advantage. Furthermore, a digital workplace not only supports process owners, but it also helps compliance officers, partners and customers focus on core business tasks.

Digital transformation is here to stay. Yet, according to Forrester, many enterprises still struggle with this transformation. This is because many organisations still have a way to go in automating operational processes around the customer journeys.

For businesses to truly embrace digital transformation, they need to integrate their back and front office operations. Customers want a seamless experience regardless of contact channel or person. No matter how they’re interacting with the business — ordering goods, filing complaints, or requesting information — the customer wants a good service experience. This is only possible by automating processes and removing silos between customer service applications, customer data, and related documents and content.

The ULTIMATE GOAL is to WIN, SERVE & RETAIN customers.

The Keys To Successful Digital Transformation

Digitising business processes not only automates existing processes, it can also lead to reinventing processes. The best way to handle a process might not be to just transfer the formerly manual process to a more automated process. It can call for a total rethinking of ways to handle business processes.

The number of systems and applications within a business keeps on growing. No single system can deliver all the functionality required. To make transformation possible, information management must step up to support it. Bridging the gaps between individual applications is a key element of digitisation.

Improving customer experience, gaining cost savings, expediting efficiency, and improving compliance are typically related to how the information management processes work.

Often when workflows and processes are digitised, it is done by adding more single-use systems and applications. This is problematic because it results in increased information chaos as these applications remain siloed.

Smart usage of information is necessary to gain business efficiency. And smart usage of information is dependent on gaining access to all relevant information to support decision-making. There is no place for silos; employees need easy access to relevant information when they need it.

Information — and access to it — needs to support their working processes.

Digitising your business is an easy way to achieve benefits. But it pays to focus on processes and workflows, and not only digitise them, but reinvent them when relevant. The removal of content silos is a prerequisite for increased efficiency.

Simply put, empowering employees to quickly and easily locate the exact content they need, regardless of which business application it resides in, leads to better decisions, faster results and improved collaboration, which in turn helps you improve the customer experience.

Businesses today are inundated with information — including content created internally as well as documents and files received from customers, partners and suppliers. Without an information management framework, time is wasted searching through file folders and various disconnected business systems for critical documents. This is often compounded by the proliferation of multiple versions of the same file, which results in errors and repeated work.

The usage and archiving of information can be more efficient by automating user and access rights, information categorisation, version control and archival. Additionally, the inefficiencies of manual work can be removed by automating information workflows that support business processes. 

Manual work takes time, creates costs and is prone to human error.

According to Forrester, organisations are still bogged down with siloed systems and human-driven processes. It is very human to stick to familiar ways of working. Therefore, information, and how to access information, need to support the change of employee behaviour. This behaviour change is a vital element of any potential business transformation. Employees will only accept new ways of working if they understand the need for change and feel involved in the change. Additionally, the systems used to digitise business need to be easy to use. This will enable the employees to embrace new ways of working.

By removing these barriers and silos, there is more potential for increased productivity, improved regulatory and legal compliance and improved customer experience.

The Three Keys To More Efficient Information Management And Automated Business Processes

To successfully automate and digitise business, information management needs to be METADATA DRIVEN, SYSTEM & REPOSITORY NEUTRAL, & INTELLIGENT

Metadata allows employees to use content in the context that is relevant to them. It no longer matters where the information is stored; they just need to know what it is they are looking for: an agreement related to new office space, an offer for a customer, a project plan for intranet renewal, or whatever it is they need.

Information is typically stored in several content management systems, business applications, and legacy repositories.

According to an AIIM study, over half of all companies use three or more separate content management systems. Yet, over half of all content remains outside those content management systems.

Therefore, it is vital to find, access and manage information across systems and repositories, without costly migration.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning go a long way in improving the efficiency of many manual operations. Automatic information tagging with metadata helps remove human error.

The ability to crawl through huge amounts of data and recognise patterns in it are paramount to adhering with regulations like GDPR related to Personally Identifiable Information (PII data) and how to manage it.

The exploding amount of information easily leads to chaos, silos and inefficiency. With the amount of organisational information DOUBLING every 1.2 YEARS, it is no wonder the inefficiencies can remain hidden. With the right tools, however, information can be turned into an asset and used efficiently for decision-making.

The consequences of hidden information and inefficient ways of working affect the organisation on many levels.

Manage Information & Processes Efficiently

Organisations typically need to use several different solutions for different departments, processes and tasks. These single-purpose systems are usually unable to communicate with each other resulting in manual work and poor usability.

M-Files talks to your other systems, so you can find what you need from wherever you are. We integrate tightly with existing CRM, ERP and other business systems so that every bit of information you need is in one place.

Automated workflows are powered by artificial intelligence to help you manage business processes efficiently.

The platform is versatile, yet easy to use, and includes both ready-made solution templates for typical use cases as well as the ability to customise it your specific needs.

Create the business logic and structure you need by using the platform capabilities and the help of M-Files specialists.

Use the ready-made, best practice modules to solve business needs quickly and efficiently.

M-Files consolidates multiple applications into a single capable platform that offers powerful search and information management capabilities across core systems. And you can flexibly start the implementation with one unit or process at a time.

Artificial Intelligence Can Efficiently Manage Large Amounts Of Information 

A task previously unattainable by manual means. To illustrate this point, here is an example we at M-Files have encountered:

A customer of ours had to look for and gather PII data within nine million documents stored in network folder systems. Rather than sifting through all this data manually, M-Files Discovery found 20,000 such documents, and automatically assigned them to a data protection officer for further review. In typical circumstances, an employee might have spent months and years looking for the 0.2 % of documents containing PII data and even so, he or she might have missed some items.

Artificial Intelligence Can Help Find The Relevant Information More Efficiently

35% of interviewees commented that they are either using or could be using AI to automate text analysis for better document categorisation and classification.

On average, an information worker spends more than two hours per day searching for documents, and up to two hours per day recreating documents as the correct version cannot be found or has been lost. Eliminating the timewasters related to creating and managing documents would be the equivalent to adding 98 new employees to a 1,000-person company — a huge savings potential allowing employees to focus on more meaningful responsibilities.

M-Files supports all document-centric business processes. It brings together documents, data, content, workflows and business processes so that you can automate the workflows to support your digital business.

Examples Of Automated Business Processes Supported By M-files Accounts Payable

Manage and process invoices, receipts, purchase orders, financial statements and tax documents to increase operational efficiencies and minimise risk.

Contract Lifecycle Management

Securely keep contracts organised and make sure the right people have fast access to the right version of any contract from any place or from any device.

Document Management

Enable users to instantly access files from any device, while ensuring version control and avoiding duplication of content.

Enterprise Content Management

Manage all your business content regardless of the format or origin of the content. Turn unmanaged data into manageable data in a matter of minutes.

Human Resources

Manage and track recruitment, training, performance appraisals, payroll and benefits to maximise operational efficiencies and knowledge. Protect sensitive information with automated permissions.

Quality And Compliance

Companies in highly-regulated industries can manage audit processes, standard operating procedures (SOPs), nonconformance reports, as well as corrective and preventative actions (CAPAs).

Project Document Management

Define simple rules for content visibility, task deadlines and ownership to streamline the entire project management process.

Records Management

Manage records from the point they are conceived to their eventual archival and disposal.

Sales And Marketing Automation

Integrate with existing CRM to create a connection to critical content like proposals, presentations, contracts, POs, invoices, quotes and email.

Training

Manage staff learning requirements, certifications and other training tasks to track and report on training.

Invoice Processing

Automate and track the review and approval of invoices as well as other financial business processes to ensure invoices are paid on time.

Use M-files To Manage All Your Business Processes

The M-Files platform is versatile and supports the needs of businesses — regardless of their size, industry or use case.

You can use templates to support general use cases. M-Files offers solution templates and best practices for several use cases across several industries. These help you build your own intelligent information management solution easily since you don’t need to build your vault structure and workflows from scratch.

Alternatively, you can configure the platform to your business requirements. M-Files is highly configurable. In addition to the generally available best practices and use cases, you can configure M-Files to support your specific business requirements. Furthermore, you can use third-party add-ins to configure the platform even further.

Summary

Dedicated or “best-of-breed” solutions address the changes in market effectively, but they approach new challenges department by department, and they are limited in scope. Intelligent Information Management that spans across all systems, applications and content repositories provides a single, centralised solution to benefit the whole organisation.

AI-driven workflows support business processes ensure quality and promote consistent levels of service. Streamlining workflows related to document-intensive business processes creates efficiencies across accounting, HR, legal, production, marketing and customer service teams, improving the speed at which business is conducted, and enhancing customer experience.

For more information on how we can help your organisation please email: peter@documentmanagementsoftware.com.au or visit www.documentmanagementsoftware.com.au

 


Peter Ellyard

Having spent over 20 years immersed in the document management software industry I have found that by offering a simple to use, highly effective electronic document management solution (knowledge management software) we increase productivity dramatically. Typically by an hour per person, per day! This is not rocket science, just a simple way to streamline your day to day information needs.