Solving the document process priority puzzle


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Solving the document process priority puzzle

  1. 1. A New Perspective:Ricoh DocumentGovernance Index 2012Part 4: Solving the documentprocess priority puzzle
  2. 2. Solving the document process priority puzzle David Mills, COO, Ricoh Europe We all know how frustrating it is to receive poor customer service – perhaps you’ve experienced a utilities provider unable to access your latest account records or a retailer with no record of a previous complaint. For businesses everywhere, this kind of issue can be the difference between securing happy customers who keep coming back or driving customers into the hands of your competitors. In some industries, such as healthcare and banking, the implications of being unable to access important information when required can be even worse and have potentially life threatening or major regulatory consequences. There is one thing that underpins the relationship between a business, its customers, and their information: document processes – the core interactions that occur regularly and repeatedly throughout all businesses in critical areas such as HR, finance, procurement and accounts. To get a fresh perspective into how these document processes are running across Europe – given the increasingly mobile, global, workplace we find ourselves in – we published the Ricoh Document Governance Index 2012, an independent research study of business leaders and employees across Europe. This research has revealed many interesting findings. Most concerning for employers in Europe will be that 82 per cent of employees feel the way they work is out of date and that this prevents them from being as effective and efficient as they could be. But is this really a surprise? Business leaders admit they are struggling to share information effectively, and almost a quarter think information security is worse today than it was three years ago. The research shows that clearly, businesses across Europe are puzzled about how to keep their document processes up to date so they support the swiftly changing workplace. Faced with the challenges of managing an increasingly diverse workforce, with employees at different locations and of different generations, getting document processes in order has never been more important.2 Ricoh Document Governance Index 2012, Part 4
  3. 3. The process priority puzzle: What’s going wrong? As well as being held back by outdated working practices, European business leaders are experiencing a wide range of impacts due to outdated document processes: n Half are exposed to risk from compliance and data leaks. n One fifth are struggling to share information effectively, either within their organisation or outside the firewall: only around one third think ‘information sharing’ is a problem they have overcome and for almost a quarter, this is an issue that has gotten worse in the last three years.n Fewer than two fifths have overcome the challenge of ensuring document processes are environmentally sustainable.n Almost 25 per cent say the efficiency of document processes is worse today than in 2009, perhaps due to a disconnect between front office and back office technologies. This is leading to bottlenecks, with the seemingly more high-tech front office sending information to the back office which often isn’t set up to receive or process it automatically, in turn leading to a slower response to customers or other business partners.So what’s going wrong? Most likely, while businesses are focusing on their core businesstasks – rightly and necessarily – be that providing products or services to the public or to otherbusinesses, they’ve been unable to keep their business document processes in sync with therapid changes in technology. As a result, systems are not connected, data is unstructured, andemployees are unable to access business-critical information at crucial times. This can have a damaging effect on customer relationships, business agility, and even reputation. It can also result in security breaches and in some instances, financial penalties through non-compliance with strict regulations. It is not surprising that businesses are struggling to manage their information given fewer than half of those surveyed have a fully developed and implemented document process management strategy. While many have set targets outside of a strategic framework, there is clear confusion about the best way to keep up with the pace of change. Ricoh Document Governance Index 2012, Part 4 3
  4. 4. In addition, while European businesses say that new devices such as smartphones and tablets are helping them manage their document processes, the majority say they’re unable to maximise such technologies because their back-end systems can’t fully support them. And a worrying 78 per cent of business leaders admit they invest in new technology before fully realising the functionality of their existing systems. This means businesses are wasting money on new gadgets instead of maximising what they’ve already got and making strategic decisions about how technology can be used to gain competitive advantage. The research highlights a significant gap between board-level perception and the reality experienced by employees in the workplace when it comes to their input and feedback being gathered and the training they receive. More than 90 per cent of the board-level respondents surveyed said employee feedback is gathered regularly and training provided when new hardware or software is introduced, with far fewer employees agreeing: just 77 per cent agreed their feedback is gathered before and after a new technology rollout, and only 76 per cent said they receive training. These gaps are worrying as they mean businesses are missing out on valuable insights from the people on the ground – their employees. As such, they are at risk of failing to properly maximise investments in new ways of working, as employees are in many cases not equipped to fully adopt them.4 Ricoh Document Governance Index 2012, Part 4
  5. 5. The process priority puzzle: The future outlook for Europe’s business leaders Almost 40 per cent of organisations worry that they will lose their competitive edge if they do not keep up with the pace of change1, yet it’s clear that when it comes to the document processes underpinning their business activities, they’ve already fallen behind. So what can be done to tackle these issues?1 Europe’s business leaders need to be better prepared to connect their processes seamlessly with business technology and their employees, requiring a senior overview of how all areas of the business are working, with the most successful document governance strategies being led from the top. Indeed, part 3 of the Ricoh Document Governance Index 2012 found nearly a fifth of employees are calling for higher level executive sponsorship to champion document process improvements.2 Secondly, business leaders should consider working with an expert to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. Document processes, the business technology used to manage them, and the people who work with them on a day-to-day basis cannot be reviewed or improved in isolation. Instead, a thorough review from an external partner with expertise in all areas will highlight the hidden opportunities to improve all three pieces of the puzzle. Businesses should be free to focus on their core business, safe in the knowledge that a document process expert is taking care of the rest.3 Thirdly, business leaders should listen closely to employees and ensure they take them along for the journey. As the people working with these processes everyday, and being most impacted by any changes to the way they work, it’s vital they are properly consulted, their valuable experiences and opinions acted on, and a full programme of change management introduced to ensure any improvements achieve their desired results.4 Finally, in addition to a comprehensive view of processes, technologies and the way employees work with them, it’s essential to maintain an ongoing process of governance and improvement. Doing so means any remaining bottlenecks can be identified and put right, and better ways of working can be identified and replicated throughout the business. The process priority puzzle: What’s next? When the Ricoh Document Governance Index 2009 was published, the business environment was dramatically different to today. In three years’ time, it is likely to have transformed again, with the Economist Intelligence Unit predicting that few industries will remain unchanged by technology disruption2. Looking ahead to 2015 and to ensure the future of Europe’s competitiveness, businesses need to have fully connected business processes, with strategies in place to link document processes and business technology with employees’ working practices. Organisations should ensure they have in place a comprehensive, ongoing review process to ensure document processes are working smoothly and to identify any areas for improvement as they seek to keep up with the rapid pace of change. For Europe’s business leaders, the message is clear: Those businesses that are able to master the management of business-critical document processes will be the ones that thrive in the increasingly global, fast-paced business environment of the future. Ricoh Document Governance Index 2012, Part 4 5
  6. 6. Putting the theory into practice Healthcare A new electronic health record system is giving doctors at a German hospital group quicker access to essential medical information to help them provide better outcomes for their patients, through the digitisation of their patient records. Furthermore, the digitisation of the company’s administrative documents, such as personnel archives, contract management and invoicing, is significantly improving the efficiency of the organisation itself, meaning the hospital is on its way to becoming paperless. Energy/Utilities A tailored electronic invoicing service, using Cloud technology, for a leading energy provider in Spain has saved both time and money. By outsourcing their invoice processing, which was previously a manual process, the company is estimated to have released the equivalent of 3.5 full-time employees, saving the business approximately €200,000 per year. Management consultancy A leading management consulting firm improved the effectiveness of two of its internal document processes recently. The processes are now more secure, have an auditable document trail, and employees have ready access to electronic data. Transactional documents are turned around more quickly, less manpower is required, and the company has made significant energy savings through more efficient technology. As well as improved process efficiency, the firm will save nearly €40,000 over five years. Education A University in The Netherlands has optimised its document management by simplifying the range of technology it used. This has seen it scale down from 1300 printers to 480, reducing energy consumption and increasing efficiency to the point that it is now saving €700,000 a year through managed document services and a new way of working. Legal A law firm in the UK has introduced a streamlined and secure system for managing the one million documents it processes each year, including client intake forms, witness statements, pleadings, depositions, contracts, case settlements, letters and emails. It has reduced paper use by 20 per cent, cut costs by £90,000 a year, and reduced CO2 emissions by 70 per cent. 1 Economist Intelligence Unit, Agent of Change: The Future of Technology Disruption in Business, March 2012 2 Economist Intelligence Unit, Agent of Change: The Future of Technology Disruption in Business, March 20126 Ricoh Document Governance Index 2012, Part 4
  7. 7. More Sales Press queriesJanice Gibson/Louise Yarrall Tel: +44 (0)20 7465 1153Email: press@ricoh-europe.comSocial Ricoh Ricoh is a global technology company specialising in office imaging equipment, production printsolutions, document management systems and IT services. Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh Group,operates in more than 200 countries and regions. In the financial year ending March 2012, Ricoh Grouphad worldwide sales of 1,903 billion yen (approx. 23 billion USD).The majority of the company’s revenue comes from products, solutions and services that improve theinteraction between people and information. Ricoh also produces award-winning digital cameras andspecialised industrial products. It is known for the quality of its technology, the exceptional standard of itscustomer service and sustainability initiatives. Under its corporate tagline, imagine. change. Ricoh helpscompanies transform the way they work and harness the collective imagination of their employees.For further information, please visit Read the full series Ricoh Document Governance Index 2012, Part 4 7