Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Strategies for Recovery: Streamlining Document Management

*Adapted from Document Management Strategies & Keeping up with the Times, by Cassandra Carnes http://www.dpsmagazine.com/

For decades, companies have relied on paper hardcopies to carry out their business processes. However, change has been on the horizon for the past several years. Natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, and growing environmental trends such as going green, are beginning to shed light on the disadvantages of paper-based document archive, management, and storage systems. Additionally, the increase in telecommuting, advancements in electronic document management solutions, and popularity of portable computers has introduced a digital workflow to the business industry. From internal communications; business-to-business; and business-to-consumer, advancing document management technology is helping businesses streamline operations, eliminate paper filing, and reduce data input. Studies show that the document management sector grows nearly 20 percent annually, making it an area of interest for all companies.

Data is the driving factor behind almost every organization. Therefore the proper management of that data is crucial to success and growth. In a study done by Coopers & Lybrand, they found that 90% of critical business information exists only on paper and that 70% of today’s businesses would fail within three weeks if they suffered a catastrophic loss of their paper-based records. Additionally, more research done by Delphi Group noted that 90% of typical office tasks revolve around the gathering and distribution of paper documents, 15% of all papers are lost, and 30% of our time is used trying to find them. Furthermore they found that companies spend an average of $25,000 to fill a typical four-drawer filing cabinet and about $2,000 a year to maintain it. With statistics like these, a document management solution makes obvious sense for those looking to improve their company operations.

Document management providers are looking at the technology, and ensuring their solutions account for emerging trends, new compliance regulations, and support for a diverse range of document types. Advanced networking and document management integration allows users to scan to email, document management systems, or a shared folder on a network. The files are then printed on demand.

Benefits of an integrated document management solution include:

  • Elimination of paper (and the costs that go with it) from your office.

  • The ability to archive, process retrieve and research document transactions from your desk, increasing productivity and enhancing communication at the same time.

  • Automated processing of documents, reducing redundant data input.

  • The automatic capture, transformation and delivery of enterprise transactions to recipients in a variety of formats and distribution methods.

Adopting a document capture and management strategy is vital to a business’ competitive strategy. The value of a document management solution is limitless as organizations will find themselves improving business processes, administration of information and reducing unnecessary costs and workflow.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Integration Strategies for Using ERP

Drive efficiency and revenue growth in 2010

An ERP system that is properly integrated with the rest of your business operations will improve productivity, increase efficiencies, control costs and unlock visibility across your organization. Recognizing how your company can deploy and use ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software effectively to improve performance and consistently put the right information into the hands of decision makers is a must.

Rebuilding business after the recession

Times have changed in the business world. To drive business in 2010-2011 organizations need to be effective and efficient in their market. There is a different set of economic rules and our ERP strategies need to meet those changes.

Some companies are inefficient, duplicating efforts and wasting time, money and resources however, they are not aware this is happening. Surely to make it through the recession you had to cut costs, but as we look at cost cutting, how much is too much? With an upswing the in the economy, your perspective should be on growing revenue rather than cutting costs. This is a big leap but ERP will help you do this.

Flexibility is going to play a large part in building business in 2010. Agile companies that can meet customer needs and demands will have the maximum ability to grow. Most companies are running lean, but sometimes you can cut efficiency which will bring business to an inefficient nightmare as business picks up. Consider inventory, distribution, production lines, logistics and balancing forecasts with sales. If looking at these processes is difficult because of a lack of data, you need to consider how to get that information and use it most effectively.

Are your business processes integrated today?

By the end of 2010 business efficiency and the value of integration is going to make a difference for your business. The biggest issue with an un-integrated environment is the lack of transparency. When logistics are poorly handled or shipping errors are made due to rushing, etc, this is a result of disparate systems. Transparency within your organization allows visibility across your organization so decision makers can see all aspects of your business tied together for one complete picture.

If you want data automatically updated, alerted to staff or uploaded to multiple reports you need to integrate your system. Some companies look for the one person on their team that has an idea of how software applications work and give them the responsibility of integration. This do-it-yourself approach is bound to result in increased expenses and rarely works. Or maybe you are using multiple excel spreadsheets that are manually updated to make business decisions. When your data is being entered in multiple places human error is bound to happen causing you to see data that is not in the same format. When spreadsheets reflect information that contradicts itself you know you are in trouble. For example, when a customer on one report shows up as a vendor or not at all on another report, you are making decisions without mission-critical information.

2010 is the year of integration

When you’re looking at business applications you need to say no to manual processes or band-aid fixes. Every time you have redundant data entry you will have errors! Business requirements today include having real time information. You need to know what you want to know, when you want to know it, and you need that data to be current. You need to be able to see everything in your organization and provide decision makers transparency between all parts of the business in addition to seamless workflow and real time data. Implementing these requirements will result in increased agility, tighter management, decreased error rates, lower waste and improved margins.