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The Budget-Friendly Digital Revolution

Bill Dermody
12/15/2020
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Too many small-to-medium sized businesses I talk to think that they can’t afford to build a digital content platform for their business. A lot of companies know that they need electronic content management (ECM) or digital workflows to be competitive, but have been told they need an expensive, enterprise-class software solution to do it.   

The fact is that you don't need to break your budget to get started with enterprise content management. The secret is that you can start small. In fact, small or medium-sized businesses may have a competitive advantage, because with a small investment, they can get big returns. Big corporations need to deploy an enterprise-grade ECM system to have enterprise-class managed content. Most companies do not.

DON’T BET THE FARM

Consider the case of Dairy Connection, a small company that supplies the cultures and enzymes needed to turn milk into cheese, yogurt and other dairy products. When supplying these ingredients to dairy producers, the company also needs to provide certificates in compliance with food safety laws. That job became even more difficult in 2011 when the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) added new paperwork requirements.

These certificates certify that each batch has been tested and is free of pathogens. “When a delivery goes out, any one product might have multiple lot numbers, each with a different certificate,” says Katie Phillips, Operations Manager, Dairy Connection. “We would need a full-time employee just to track and manage these certificates if we had to do it manually.”

THINKING BIG WITH ECM

With the rise of GDPR and similar data compliance rules, finding a way to automate and monitor data compliance is mission-critical for businesses that want to stay competitive in today’s global markets. The modern supply chain demands that organizations capture, manage, store, preserve and deliver that information faster and more efficiently.

Dairy Connections created an automated process so that the appropriate order numbers and certificates are organized in a Laserfiche folder. The system creates metadata to ensure the appropriate forms and invoices can be tracked and sent to the appropriate customers. “Large, corporate dairy producers insist that you provide all of the paperwork with every delivery, or they can’t work with you,” says Phillips. “Because of our Laserfiche system, we are able to work with the biggest customers and compete with anyone in our industry.” 

As in the case of Dairy Connection, you don't have to digitize your entire business to make significant deep changes to the way you handle content management. Content services should be designed to solve the specific content, sharing and collaboration needs for your company. There is no need to spend millions of dollars on an enterprise-class system, just a solution for digitizing or automating the workflows you need to send orders out the door.

DIFFERENT IS BETTER

In an ideal world, the user should be able to access relevant content from the application or device that best suits their needs. That means that the platform removes as much of the content management from the user, so you can focus on running your business. You can now spend more time on selling more products and not boring regulatory busywork.

If you have been told in the past that ECM was too expensive or inflexible, you should know that things really are different now. The move from physical servers to cloud architectures is making it even more cost effective to manage and process your paperwork. If you are strategic, the returns on your investment will multiply quickly.

We see that once businesses automate one workflow, it is easier to reproduce the work and add automation for other types of documents. For example, Katie Phillips has been able to add new forms and add new capabilities herself, without an IT department or programmer on staff. GFC even helped Katie to attend the Laserfiche Empower User Conference where she could learn about the latest features and functionality.

If, like many small or medium sized businesses, you feel like you can’t compete for big customers because of slow or inefficient workflows, now is the time to look at managed content. Check out the free guide below to learn more about ECM technology. And if you’d like to find out if it’s possible to automate your workflows, contact the ECM experts at the Gordon Flesch Company for a complimentary assessment of your business environment.

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