Address chaos to keep business strong through your unpredictable seasons
Around this time of year in Cleveland, Ohio, the weather can be chaotic and unpredictable. But as long as I set the Weather Channel on my TV and as my homepage on my internet browser, I know I will have what I need to be as prepared as I can.
Business is no different. Although, unlike Cleveland weather, business is not only unpredictable and chaotic a few months out of the year – it can take rollercoaster-like twists and turns throughout the year, even multiple times a day. However, like the weather, as long as we have the information we need to make the best decisions and be as prepared as we can for every turn, we can stand strong through the storms.
But is it as easy for your employees to find all the information they need as it is to set an internet home page or TV channel? Probably not.
The information your employees need is most likely stored on paper in filing cabinets or as attachments and correspondences in their email inboxes and multiple electronic systems.
So, address the chaos by capturing all of that content. Make it centrally accessible. Make it as easy as searching one place for all the information needed to keep business moving, growing and staying strong through even the most unpredictable turns.
How do you do that? There are a spectrum of capture solutions you should consider to best prepare your business and empower your employees. Here are three key things to keep in mind as you move forward.
As simple as scanning!
Haven’t jumped on the “paperless office” bandwagon yet? Still buried in paper?
Start optimizing your processes by creating electronic versions of what currently lives on paper – it is much easier to send around and access electronic versions of documents and it leaves you with less risk than paper documents. This also frees up that filing cabinet space for more desk or meeting space!
And as you receive documents from today on, skip the physical storage and immediately scan them in for better accessibility from day 1 – whether you use a central scanning operation in the mailroom or individual scanners set up at employees’ desks.
And don’t forget about those remote business locations too – give them the ability to scan documents as well. Because once all of your business documents, no matter where or how you receive them, are scanned into the system – alongside your already electronic files such as PDFs and emails – you can easily make them accessible through a central enterprise content management (ECM) system.
E.T. phone home …all the important information!
Bad pun or not, it is important that your employees who spend time out in the field are able to communicate the important information they gather back to the office. But the way paper-based businesses run, this happens at the end of the trip when that person has returned to the office.
Don’t know if you have heard, but there is a smartphone craze going on! As noted in an earlier OnBase Blog, as of 2015, 73 percent of the world’s population has access to an internet enabled smartphone or feature phone.
You can use those smartphones as mobile scanners – taking images of documents that have been signed or completed in the field. Or, you can create electronic forms for the mobile device to gather information directly into a form and get rid of the paper form all together! No matter the method you use, that information will reach the office much quicker – especially if the ECM system you use to manage your content allows this instant mobile capture directly into the system.
Be resourceful: Use what you have for bigger, better things
So you now have the capture thing down! You have captured all your documents and information. And you even have found a great system to store the content for better accessibility.
But, in the case of the documents you have stored, even though you have better access to those documents, the information still needs to be shared with other systems your staff uses as well. So maybe you have some people focused on entering data in manually.
Now it’s time to take your capture solution to the next level and allow technology to automate that process too – automatically reading the documents and pulling the information and sending it to those other systems for you. Now, suddenly, you have freed those manual data entry clerks for decision-making, customer service or other tasks – bigger and better things that bring much more value to the business.
So start addressing the chaos with capture technology, to make sure your business is prepared to weather… well… any weather.