Spring is a good time to think about the pain points you’ve seen thus far in 2019 and what you want to change for 2020, either the actual year or the fiscal year. The latter could be starting this summer or fall based on your company and your office space.
While a lot of organizations use this time to do housekeeping, this is also a perfect opportunity for business process adjusting and redesigning. It makes perfect sense: you are already unearthing old, outdated documents and tools, exchanging them for streamlining and open space. Why not do the same for your workflow? Do some advance planning on work you’ve been putting off due to a crush from other tasks.
One of the concepts we often discuss with clients is “out with the old, in with the new” in the context of document management. We want you to leave the old ways — the polite term is “traditional approaches to business and document management” — behind and embrace some of the newer ideas that can drive your business forward.
Below are a few examples.
Old: Paper Filing
This has a multitude of benefits. One of them is environmental, for sure. One of them is space. (Stacks and stacks of filing cabinets need to go somewhere.) Here’s a third, often-overlooked one: it’s very hard to transform into a digital company if all your processes are still rooted in paper. “Disruption” is still a commonly used buzzword in business journalism today. It’s not applicable in every single industry. But if being disrupted by a smaller, well-funded competitor scares you, then you need to have a more agile, digital-friendly operation. You can’t do that if everything is still rooted in paper-based processes.
New: Mobile is everything
The business travel market surpassed $1 trillion — with a t, yes — back in 2013. It’s still growing. That simple, but mind-boggling, stat means that there’s a good chance 1-2 (if not more) of your employees are on the road somewhere at a given time. They probably have a smartphone. You want to create an organizational system where your HQ is in NYC, but one of your employees is in Boise — and can pull up the latest version of a document from his/her phone or tablet before a client meeting. Mobile isn’t a business trend, a fad, a strategy, or anything else. It’s a way of life. There are more mobile phones on the planet than people right now.
Old: Strict, single-function systems
These are things like BPO software, or PO management software. They had one core function — which admittedly they often did well — but any attempts at adapting or adjusting them were tedious and time-consuming. These are limiting concepts in 2016 because business moves quickly, and, honestly, business models often adjust very fast, especially in a new office environment. If your business model shifts within a year, you need your processes and systems to be able to shift as quickly. Strict, single-function systems are quicksand to that idea.
New: Multiple installation
In the most common usage, ‘multiple installation’ means on-premises vs. cloud. It can also refer to named and/or concurrent users. The other way we like to think of multiple installation is in terms of modules and integrations. For example, our software integrates with Salesforce, which many clients are using as a CRM. (As the LinkedIn-Microsoft deal plays out, there could be greater integration with Dynamics too.) We also offer a forms functionality. In short, the idea of ‘multiple installation’ is a synonym for meeting the customer where they’re at and helping them get to what they need to effectively manage their documents and processes.
Old: Technical-heavy installations and set-ups
Remember a 300-page manual plopped down on your desk in the early days of document management software? When something broke or a user was locked out, you had to dive deep into that monster to find the solution. “Ah yes, page 217! I should have remembered!” That was the manual. You had already bought and installed the product by that point. Did we forget about the research to settle on the product? Sales calls? Technical specs you had to find someone in your company to explain to you? The whole process was a hassle and cut into your overall productivity.
New: Easier processes
We’re all busy people, and most document management options these days make it easier to research, purchase, and install (while customizing) the option that makes sense for that specific client. While B2B sales websites can often lack 100 percent transparency (especially around pricing), product features and potential integrations are being explained more. This is largely owed to a renewed business world focus on customer experience. On our side of the equation selling the document management options, we don’t want to run you in circles only to leave you with a bad product. While we might make a sale in that case, it’s a one-off because you’ll never come back and you’ll find something that fits better with your business needs. Easier processes create better customer engagement, and that’s better for both buyer and seller.
Document management software has undergone a lot of changes in a relatively-short period of time thanks to digital tools, the emergence of the cloud, and different partnerships (CRMs, etc.) emerging. Don’t stick around in the ‘old.’ Use this Spring to move over to the ‘new’ and start seeing real business advantage from it.
A version of this article was originally published as Summer Cleaning for a New Office Space by Ted Bauer on June 30th, 2016.