John McNeil 29 August 2011 21:54:39The other day I read a blog by Mark Shead called ‘Paperless – the wrong goal’. The opening part of the blog suggested that simply by going ‘Paperless’ would not automatically make you more efficient. The efficiency gains come from improved workflow.
Now I can embrace this point view. Efficiency gains, the real big gains, those that make a step change come from challenging the way we do things, finding a fresh approach to a mature process. In most cases the mature process is something last reviewed many years previously. Since that time technology and services have moved on. A review of the old process is able to offer a better result for a more economical input.
Now the blog also went on to say that many people pursue the ‘Paperless’ goal over the ‘Workflow’ goal because it is easier to understand, to visualise. People can grasp moving from pieces of paper to reading information on a computer screen. The workflow changes are harder to understand.
While there may be some truth in this I believe the ‘Paperless’ label has gained popularity from those who wish to promote the eco agenda. It has a mission, the reduction of paper to lighten the load on the environment. Conversely the ‘Workflow’ label was bourn out of the corporate world, where there exist a myriad of forms, paper processes, procedures and people. The ‘Workflow’ mission was to reduce bureaucracy and deliver cost savings. Ironically it is neither of these two areas that appears to have driven the adoption of ‘Document Management Systems’ but those of solicitors, accountants, insurance and other regulated industries.
At the end of the day those organisations that have embraced digital information systems such as ‘Document Management Systems’ have been those with regulatory or compliance requirements.
It would appear that the question is ‘What regulations do I have to adopt and what tools can help me?’
Believe you can, and you can. Belief is one of the most powerful of all problem dissolvers. When you believe that a difficulty can be overcome, you are more than halfway to victory over it already - Norman Vincent Peale, 1898 - 1993