Address the chaos, Part 5: Information as fuel, set the competition ablaze
Information fuels every part of our every day – from personal conversations to mapping travels to business decisions. Information can be the difference between bad and good decisions, right or wrong actions and succeeding or failing.
When we rely so heavily on information, we have no choice but to make the flow, management and security of that information our top priority. We have spent this entire “Address the chaos” series discussing how to best manage chaotic information – coming at us from all directions and being stored all over the place.
To revisit the conversation, here are the first 5 posts in this series:
- Address the Chaos, Part 1: 5 ways to drain your sea of paper
- Address the chaos, part 2: Ditch your abacus and embrace electronic forms
- Address the chaos, Part 3: 3 reasons you need to declutter your digital storage sprawl!
- Address the chaos, Part 4: 3 ways to embrace mobile madness
We have discussed why it’s so important to capture all your important content into a single digital repository. And we have discussed best practices for how to do it. So we are left with one more question.
All the information stored within that important content – is there a way we can get it into the hands of the decision-makers around the organization without needing to use valuable resources for manual data entry? The answer is yes, but there are two ideas you should keep in mind.
Business process automation
There is one type of technology referred to by many names – automated data capture, automated data extraction and OCR software to name a few. But it all gets at the same concept. As documents enter the organization, the technology can “read” the document, understand what the document is and extract relevant, important information.
How many employees at your organization have to manually enter data from content into your systems? With the implementation of this automation, you can re-assign those people to higher-value tasks.
I like to compare it to GPS. When we needed to get from point A to point B, before GPS, we would simply use a paper map – it made sense and it got the job done. And those paper maps would still get the job done today. But we would laugh at having to dust off those maps to use them again.
Why? Because there is a readily accessible tool that is much more effective and efficient.
The same goes with data entry. Though the current process, including manual data entry, may be working fine, is it the best way – the way that ensures you can make the best decisions, compete and succeed? It is definitely time for you to jump on the automation train.
But to simply have information automatically pulled from those documents is not enough. That information needs to be fed throughout your entire IT ecosystem.
It is important that the OCR technology you implement can share that information with your other information systems. This ensures that no matter where staff are accessing information, they know it is up-to-date and accurate.
Even better, it would be worth considering a system that can help you consolidate some of those systems for easier management, such as a system that includes automated capture alongside content management, automated workflow and case management capabilities.
As you are considering technology for 2017, it may be time for you to allow your knowledge workers to be just that and leave the mundane tasks, like manual data entry, to technology. That way, you can focus your time on growing your business instead of your payroll.