What your financial institution can learn from the Elf on the Shelf

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Once we devoured the pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, our Elf on the Shelf appeared. She’s been keeping a close eye on my daughter ever since. For those of you without young children, The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition is a children’s book explaining the story of Santa Claus’s scout elves, who are sent to be Santa’s eyes and ears at homes around the world. When families adopt them, the scout elves receive their Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole every night – helping Santa keep the most up-to-date records of what children have been up to and whether or not they are behaving. The following morning, the scout elves return and perch in a different place to watch the fun.

My 6-year-old loves to wake up and race around the house looking for her scout elf each morning. Frankly, it’s the only reason she gets moving on these cold mornings and to school on time.

While trying to come up with new adventures for my daughter’s elf, I started thinking about the reason behind the elves, besides being a hugely successful retail venture. Then I realized how they can help financial institutions.

Documenting and tracking current information: Your own elf on the shelf
To make things easier, maybe Santa should look into technology like enterprise content management (ECM), which provides audit trails for managers that rival that of even the best scout elf. Any time an employee accesses a record or a file, there is a time stamp and a user stamp so “Santa” can see who accessed that document and when. ECM also tracks exactly what that person did to that file.

The records management aspect of ECM goes a step further, empowering organizations to control and set retention schedules for documentation. That helps with audits, or future audits, making sure necessary documents are accessible and ones that are nonessential are automatically purged. The right ECM solution will be flexible enough to enable financial institutions to set their own retention requirements to support government requirements and different individual institutional requirements – without the help of their vendors.

Today’s most successful banks and credit unions are looking for transparency into their business and transactions. With ECM, workflow notifications can be set to automatically inform employees when documents are due for updates or whether they are no longer in compliance with specific regulations. By freeing your organization from paper and delivering documentation directly to them, employees are more efficient because they spend more time on high-level tasks, instead of searching through file cabinets.

It’s like Christmas magic!

So, how do you track activities and customer or member information? Can it learn something from Santa and his scout elves?

Michelle Harbinak Shapiro

Michelle Harbinak Shapiro

Michelle Shapiro brings more than 15 years of experience in the banking industry to her role as Financial Services marketing portfolio manager at Hyland. Her mission is to share best practices and evangelize the power of ECM as a tool for banks, credit unions and lenders to help automate paper-based processes and proactively manage regulations.

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