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In recent years, blockchain, cryptocurrency, the IoT and AI have gotten all the attention. For the most part, those trendy technologies have either graduated from being buzzwords to become real products, or have completely lost their luster.
So, instead of making a list of new tech buzzwords for 2019, we want to focus on some that are, perhaps, less sexy yet critically important. Specifically, we’re thinking of Electronic Content Management (ECM) and Business Process Optimization (BPO).
Why? Because paperwork is still slowing down many companies and employees still can’t find the documents or information they need. Most companies know that the real problems that need solving are things like making sure Accounts Payable invoices get paid on time, Human Resources can create reports faster and remain in compliance, and that employees get up-to-date information to share with customers.
Here are some real-world examples of how document management and ECM software can transform broken business processes and make your life easier. And it’s the kind of change that can happen a lot faster and more reliably than self-driving cars or bitcoin.
Halquist Stone is a Wisconsin-based company whose full line of building and landscape stone is distributed nationally. The company was established in 1929 and has continued to grow, but their sales order process changed very little since those early days. Customers and employees were both becoming increasingly frustrated because it would take days just to process an order. Orders were often lost, and supervisors and sales associates were spending most of their days entering data into spreadsheets instead of completing their day-to-day duties.
Now, with an ECM system in place, order processing takes a few hours instead of a few days. Supervisors can answer customer questions in a more timely manner, complete orders faster and quickly make necessary changes to orders. Customer and employee satisfaction rates have both increased dramatically, along with an estimated annual cost savings of over $120,000. Plus, orders are electronically delivered to supervisors within hours, speeding up production and delivery time. “Nearly 3,000 hours spent on data entry per year has been eliminated,” says Wade Balson, CFO Halquist Stone.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Reserve (USDA ERS) is a government agency responsible for anticipating trends and emerging issues in agriculture, food, the environment and rural development. Reports, outlooks, charts and data series are then published on the ERS website. Much of this was time-sensitive information with a specific publication date, so employees at the USDA ERS were looking to make collaboration easier for faster publication.
Working together, ERS staff and Gordon Flesch Company (GFC) business analysts designed workflow-based business processes to optimize handling while increasing throughput volumes, decreasing the possibilities of human error, and centralizing collaboration. Now, over 90% of hard-copy forms and printed documents have been eliminated, and employee collaboration and efficiency have greatly increased.
Hamilton Capital is an independent wealth management and investment firm based in Columbus, Ohio. Adria Rosebrock, Manager of Advisor Training and Research, was inspired to implement and manage a review policy and system for all internal documents using Laserfiche. Working with GFC’s analysts, she was able to pull together a robust system to store, control access and automate the updating process for materials.
Hamilton Capital now has an automated annual review process in place for internal resources. Rosebrock says that the collaboration between Hamilton Capital and GFC has produced a workflow that allows the company to always have forms, resources and a knowledge base that will serve the company now and into the future. “They had the expertise and showed us how to use the security settings, rights management and metadata to build a really powerful process that did what we needed.”
Established in 1979, Columbus Center for Human Services, Inc. (CCHS) is a Central Ohio-based nonprofit and has more than doubled its number of employees within the last five years. CCHS chose to implement an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software solution. Now, all CCHS employees easily collaborate on business processes through automated notifications and task routing. Information is readily available and can be found within seconds. Workflow is entirely paperless and digital from start to finish. Estimated yearly savings are more than $32,000. “With our annual cost savings, CCHS is now able to expand our programs and services for individuals with developmental disabilities, instead of dedicating so much of our budget to administrative work,” said the organization’s Executive Director, Becky Sharp.
Hopefully, these examples demonstrate that, while ECM and BPO might not be trendy buzzwords anymore, they are practical, real solutions for problems that every business faces. Simply put, ECM can help solve almost any business process problem you may be struggling to solve. Check out the free guide below to learn more about ECM technology. And, if you’re ready to start digging out from underneath that pile of data and documentation you’ve accumulated, contact the ECM experts at the Gordon Flesch Company for a complimentary assessment of your business environment.