6 Things to Consider when Implementing Workflow Automation

Trends can come and go in technology, what was popular one year could be practically antiquated the next. Often the “next big thing” becomes the “same old thing” relatively quickly, and organizations need to keep up with internal and external needs. Beyond just staying on top of what’s driving your industry, external factors such as regulation changes and an increasing need for secure systems can usher in new and necessary technology sometimes quicker than anticipated.

Across all industries in organizations of all sizes, updating old systems that are no longer working isn’t just a luxury, it’s a necessity. By employing a smart workflow automation process, your organization can improve efficiency, save money, and stay on top of compliance and security needs.

Making the decision to implement a workflow automation solution is an easy one, but deciding what’s important in order for your system to be successful can be more difficult.

When deciding that it’s time to take advantage of new software and processes, you should consider the following:

  1. Flexibility
  2. Business process overhaul
  3. Connectivity with Other Systems
  4. Collaboration
  5. Cost
  6. Security

Flexibility

Even just 10-15 years ago, many businesses just relied on a single desktop computer and a (not-so-smart) phone to get the job done. Now, employees work off of laptops, tablets, smartphones, even watches to complete their daily tasks, and their solutions must seamlessly work with whatever tech they’re using. Consider what devices your employees utilize on a daily basis, any solution you look into should be compatible with them.

Business Process Overhaul

Gone are the days of a simple linear workflow. Your organization doesn’t operate in a straight line, why should your ECM? Organizations rarely work in linear step by step processes without coming across roadblocks that can drive key business decisions. A smart optimized process goes beyond basic steps and allows for exceptions and process changes based on your organizational needs. Smarter workflows mean more efficiency in your processes and more time and money saved for your organization.

Connectivity with Other Systems

If an automation solution doesn’t work with your existing HRIS, ERP, or other line-of-business software, then it won’t work with your organization. “One-trick-pony” solutions are no longer, and finding consultants who can link your existing software to an all-in-one business process management solution is absolutely critical.

Collaboration

Collaboration is necessary within organizations, departments, with stakeholders, vendors, and other third parties, and that communication can’t happen without an intuitive system designed for collaboration. Strategic solutions look at all points of contact between an organization’s documents and its key contacts.

Cost

As with any major investment into your organization, cost is going to be a deciding factor. According to Nucleus Research, for every $1 spent on an effective automation solution a company can expect a return of $7.50.  When looking at the initial “sticker” price of a solution, consider what the return may be, and look into cloud-based options vs. on-site hosting, bundled licensing fees and payment plans, tax credits, and other opportunities to reduce the initial hard cost of acquisition.

Security

Did you know that employees are often cited as the primary cause of data breaches? While file sharing technologies like Google Drive and Dropbox are making it easier to share content, they also lead to gaps in security. Investing in a security-centered solution can reduce your risk of compromising important documents and data. Seek out a solution that allows for group, document, and user-based access rights, redactions, and other features designed to protect your data.

Finding a solution that fits your needs, budget, and existing tech can be difficult. Often out of the box solutions don’t fit all of your needs, but the prospect of acquiring a custom solution may seem daunting. Working with business process automation consultants like Mosaic can help you fully understand your needs and determine the exact solution that’s right for your business.

Give us as call at 1-800-387-7859 to learn more about how you can implement a holistic ECM solution.

The Value of Enterprise Content Management

Every decision for your organization requires you to take a look at its potential ROI (Return on Investment), even small investments can make a big impact on your organization. Many organizations don’t see the initial ROI when they implement an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution.

There are plenty of benefits of ECM, such as simplifying your existing paper-based processes, protecting your data, and reducing your reliance on physical files. Beyond clear day-to-day benefits, you can further improve its ROI by using your ECM as a stepping stone towards complete automation.

More than just a one-point solution

If you have a bucket with multiple holes, plugging just one of the leaks won’t stop the water from getting out. Just like plugging one hole won’t stop a leak, implementing a single point solution won’t solve all of your organization’s problems. While single pain-point solutions are effective at solving specific problems, they may overlook the cause of the issue.

By investing in multiple single-point solutions, organizations end up spending more money and wasting time. When they embrace complete transformation of their processes, they can eliminate the pitfalls that single-point solutions may have. While the concept of “digital transformation” can seem daunting to those worried about the initial upfront investment, the decision can be made easier by educating yourself on the specific benefits of a solution as well as how it can integrate with your existing business infrastructure.

DocStar, Mosaic’s software partner, recently published a white paper in partnership with Levvel Research titled “Tackling AP Automation with a Holistic Document Management Approach.” This report primarily focuses on organizations described as middle-market can directly benefit from a holistic approach to ECM.

In it, they identify middle-market as companies with $2 billion to $100 billion in annual revenue, and specifically looked at companies within this revenue range in North America.

They highlight that an approach to establish ECM ROI is by utilizing it on top of existing technology efforts, specifically within the Accounts Payable and Invoice Management space, but also within Human Resources, Contract Management, Sales Order Processing, and Quality Control. By integrating a cloud-based and scaleable ECM, the ROI greatly improves. This also means there’s a longer-term benefit to your organization.

Embracing Digital Transformation

The report highlights AP Automation as the entry point to full-scale digital transformation as described in 3 points highlighted in the report:

ECM drives ROI by expanding the value of a single technology implementation. Organizations seeking to maximize the ROI of an AP automation solution should aim for a best-in-class solution targeting a particular pain point, but that can also be applied beyond that space as resources grow. This enables an organization to increase the long-term value of a single technology investment and enables scalable digital transformation for companies determined to remain competitive.

ECM drives ROI by empowering departments and supporting processes across the organization. With a strong ECM platform, one solution can transform many functions. For example, advanced document management and workflow features can automate AP processes as well as HR onboarding, training, and form management. ECM can also support other departments, such as Accounts Receivable, Procurement, Expense Reporting, Sales, Customer Support, and the C-suite, as the platform is applicable to multiple business functions.

ECM drives ROI by comprehensively improving collaboration and efficiency and reducing costs. ECM helps reduce paper volume, manual data entry, and time-consuming manual workflows. It also facilitates more strategic allocation of back-office labor. By providing secure digital storage, ECM reduces the pressure on an organization’s IT department, which further contributes to better use of company resources and higher ROI. ECM also improves overall communication and streamlines back-office processes. ECM leads to savings from optimized labor costs, strategic staff reallocation, and a reduced need for outsourcing various back-office functions.

Beyond those three key factors, there are also additional trends to make note of:

Invoice receipt method: how does your organization receive invoices? Physical? Digital? A mix of the two? Do they come in the mail or over email?

Invoice data entry methods: how does data get input from your invoice to your ERP?

Invoice approval time: how long does it take from the receipt of an invoice to the final approval? A day? A week?

AP pain points: where do you see room for improvement within your AP process? What is slowing down employees in their process?

Barriers to AP automation adoption: what is preventing your organization from moving forward with implementing an automation solution? Timing? Cost? Understanding your barriers can better help prepare for selecting your solution.

Net benefits of AP automation: Understanding your organization’s specific benefits of AP automation can help you gain insight into exactly how a solution will work for you.

Next Steps

By gaining a stronger understanding of your organizational needs, as well as the benefits of ECM and automation, you can make an informed decision about a solution for your organization.

Implementing a complete system overhaul can seem overwhelming, but with the right resources and tools you can start seeing benefits almost immediately.

Give us as call at 1-800-387-7859 to learn more about how you can implement a holistic ECM solution.