Many organisations face significant challenges when it comes to storing, managing and accessing company information and content. The global Covid-19 pandemic, which has brought remote working and hybrid/smarter workspaces to the fore, has also accentuated the value of instant, digital access to information. Enterprise content management (content services) can solve these challenges.
ECM refers to the tools, technology and processes that enable organisations to digitally manage all their content, centrally and securely. This eliminates information silos and provides employees with timeous access to relevant information, while still offering individual business units the flexibility to react quickly to changing conditions.
Across a variety of industries, companies are reaping the considerable benefits of ECM, including enhanced operational efficiencies, decreased cost of compliance and improved customer service. The significant impact on a company’s bottom line comes from automating the back-office processes that keep staff from focusing on customer-facing opportunities.
A business is much more productive when it minimises paper clutter, waste and high costs of paper documents involved in business processes. An ECM solution streamlines document workflows in the following ways:
- It eliminates the need to manually input data;
- It stores and tags all documents in a central location, avoiding needless duplication;
- It has a simple yet powerful search function, so users can quickly find the information they need;
- It digitises and automates businesses processes, optimising workflows and eliminating double-handling and physical transport requirements;
- It manages millions of documents and retrieves the right one in seconds;
- It shares documents with colleagues while protecting confidential information;
- It instantly e-mails files;
- It provides access to documents while travelling; and
- Protects documents from damage during fires, floods and other disasters.
Identifying clear workflows enables organisations to reap the rewards of ECM, allowing companies to automate workflows, and leaving the most laborious, time-consuming and monotonous tasks to be carried out almost instantaneously, while enabling employees to better apply their time.
ECM tools can help catapult organisations to all new levels of productivity, which will inevitably lead to greater profitability through the streamlining of workflows. These improvements have an impact on everyone in an organisation’s ecosystem, including customers and suppliers.
In a world where organisations are seeking to speed up processes and get more done, ECM systems can be designed to develop roles that are automatically deployed in workflows. This cuts out time-consuming tasks in decision making. ECM also delegates separate stages of each workflow directly to a department, team or even a specific individual.
Data security and compliance
In analogue environments, it is practically impossible to keep track of who can access a document or make changes to it. There is nothing to stop anybody in the team, or even a visitor, from passing by a desk and picking up a sheet of paper from an in-tray.
In a digital world, where ECM automatically allocates documentation and ensures strict access requirements and tracking, companies have much tighter control. This helps to build customer and supplier trust and confidence, and demonstrates that the organisation has their best interests in mind.
Data protection and Popia compliance should be top of mind for every organisation. With the enforcement of the Protection of Personal Information Act having come into effect on 1 July 2021, every business is required to comply with the standards as prescribed in the act.
The act regulates the “processing” of personal information, which includes collecting, receiving, recording, organising, retrieving or using the information; or disseminating, distributing or making personal information available. The act also relates to records that are already in the possession of the entity or person doing the processing.
ECM solutions provide a comprehensive range of print and document security features, many of which are standard, ensuring that access rights and audit trails are in place, and making compliance with the act much simpler and easier to achieve. Click here for an ECM Q&A to get more information.
Any company knows that the experience provided to customers is one of the most essential elements of what is on offer. Customer inquiries are often urgent, and people have come to expect information, service and more on an on-demand basis. Inefficient workflows mean that employees have to waste time searching to find the information they’re looking for. How seamless the consumer experience is often determines which brand and product will be purchased. If they are not satisfied, they will turn to your competitors.
Automating the business gives employees immediate access to information, speeding up processes that usually take hours of work to complete, and resulting in much happier customers.
Tools like ECM process the sheer weight of the wealth of information coming into and leaving a business on a daily basis. It is a key element of digital transformation that can open the door to greater productivity and rising profits.
Read an in-depth case study of how Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa turned to ECM to increase workflow efficiency, enhance employee productivity, minimise environmental impact and significantly reduce operating costs.
- The author, Werner Engelbrecht, is GM at Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa
- This promoted content was paid for by the party concerned