Are your employees spending time doing low-value activities? Are too many mistakes occurring in workflows? Perhaps customer grievances are up. What if some employees are overworked and others aren’t doing enough?
These are just some of the indications that your business may need content services in the form of an enterprise content management (ECM) solution.
“ECM comprises the collaborative method of digitally managing and applying a company’s information to support its processes and business goals,” says Ian Dury, business support manager of Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa. “This ensures that information is easily accessible, and as useful as possible at any point throughout the content lifecycle. The right ECM system will help you automate processes, increase productivity, and encourage teams across your business to work better and more efficiently together.”
He points to these 10 signs that your business may need an ECM solution:
Too many mistakes are happening in workflows
Ineffective processes pave the way for errors, leading to incorrect data entry, lost or misplaced documents, and lack of document version control.
An ECM solution digitises workflows, with automation removing human error and freeing up employees to do more valuable work other than fixing mistakes. Error-free processes are particularly important in the finance and accounting environment. ECM solutions enable these departments to speed up their workflows, ultimately driving up their productivity and efficiency.
Employees are spending time on activities that do not create a lot of value for the business.
Legacy systems invariably perpetuate inefficiencies across an organisation. When it comes to document management, you may find that employees are still recording data manually, storing files physically and digitally and across various locations, wasting time searching for information, taking documents physically from one place to another within the office to get authorisation so the next step in the workflow can take place, and that multiple employees are handling the same documents – wasting time that could be dedicated instead to revenue-generating activities, such as customer relationship development.
An ECM solution streamlines document workflows by eliminating the need for manual data input, storing documents in one central location, making information easily searchable, and digitising business processes, so that workflows are simplified and optimised.
Some employees are too busy while others are waiting for work.
Inefficient workflows produce bottlenecks. Managers often delay things because they’re busy trying to keep up with all the paperwork, while employees are waiting to complete that particular job and are under-occupied.
An ECM solution facilitates faster workflows and if one person has too much on their plate, the system can be customised or programmed to reroute the task to an alternative approver.
Employee satisfaction is low
Employees expect technology at work to keep pace with technology at home, using apps and other digital technology for almost every aspect of their daily activities. Outdated technology in the workplace can make them despondent.
They have also become used to greater flexibility and work-from-home options. If these are not met, they may well seek out companies that will offer these benefits.
An ECM solution can have a positive effect on employee engagement, as it makes work much easier, allowing employees to focus on tasks that are both more valuable and rewarding. A mobile-based system unshackles employees from their desks, giving them more flexibility, so they can work at anytime from anywhere, thus increasing their productivity.
The business is sluggish due to slow processes
Business agility is the ability of an organisation to adapt quickly to market changes and respond rapidly and flexibly to customer demands. But unproductive workflows can make a business extremely sluggish. When the speed at which data is recorded is slow, management cannot make business decisions in real-time. Employees have less time to spend on innovating, and growth slows down.
An ECM solution automates processes, executing them in the fastest possible time. This frees employees from tedious tasks, so that their time and resources can be invested into more lucrative growth activities.
Data is trapped in departments or silos
When data is not fully integrated across the entire organisation, individual departments have their own separate systems; this leads to data silos that don’t speak to each other. In addition, employees often create their own silos, keeping data in email inboxes, personal folders, or hard drives.
When data is trapped in silos, employees battle to find the information they need to do their jobs, content is often unnecessarily duplicated, and businesses lose out on insights that aggregated data would make easily available.
An ECM solution stores data from all departments in a centralised location. Metadata helps to cross-reference information and form interpretations that would otherwise have not been achievable.
Money is being wasted on physical resources
Paper-based information is expensive to maintain and store. Moreover, filing systems take up a lot of space.
By digitising documents and storing them in an ECM solution, businesses can save the significant costs associated with printing and filing hard copies, and use the space once dedicated to storage, for more important pursuits.
Document security is at risk
Document security is a massive concern for every organisation today and not enough companies are taking it seriously. Digitally storing sensitive information in unsecured folders exposes it to the entire network, including employees that don’t require access to those files. Confidential documents are left on desks. Files are scanned on unsecured devices that are exposed to hacking.
An ECM solution stores files securely and restricts unauthorised tampering of sensitive information, by restricting access to those who need it. It can also define levels of access, giving some employees the ability to edit files and others the ability to only view the files. Even redactions in documentation is possible.
Customers are complaining
Customer inquiries are often urgent. Inefficient workflows mean that employees have to waste time searching to find the information they’re looking for. This can lead to aggrieved and disappointed customers.
Customers expect information, service, and more on an on-demand basis. This seamless experience is many times the deciding factor in which brand and product to purchase. If they are not satisfied, they will turn to your competitors.
It’s a struggle to comply with regulations
Across industries, regulations are amended and updated frequently. With so many different methods of storing and maintaining data, it’s easy to lose control of compliance issues. Clunky workflows do not help.
ECM automates processes and effectively manages documents, which can then be submitted to different approval levels. This way, compliance leaders can monitor activities and ensure that processes are being carried out correctly.
“These are just some of the warning signs that flags the need for an organisation to relook at its legacy systems,” says Dury. “An ECM solution can revitalise a company by turning it into an agile business, which is more productive and therefore more profitable. This in turn leads to satisfied employees and happy customers.”