In a tremendous effort to maintain business continuity while ensuring staff safety, organisations made changes to the way they work, which led to the biggest remote work experiment in history. Now organisations are planning for life after lockdown.
In the June 2020 issue of HR Review it was reported that nearly three-quarters of business leaders plan to adopt flexible and agile working permanently when the commercial world reopens fully.
The research was conducted by Dale Office Interiors, a company that designs and builds office spaces, who found that 71% of managing directors, CEOs and business owners intend to make flexible or agile work part of their staff working week.
80% of companies reported that their staff are as productive or more productive when working remotely.
Over half (56%) of the business owners surveyed plan to reduce their office space, although offices are seen as vital for face-to-face meetings and social exhange.
There will be a revolution in the way we work. Before lockdown, many businesses had not adopted flexible working practices, and preferred to persist with the traditional office-based, 9-to-5, five-day week.
Whether this persistence stemmed from a lack of trust, fear of change, or entrenched attitudes to costs and productivity, months of enforced working from home have provided new insight.
The UK workforce has proved itself productive when working remotely, which in turn enables businesses to consider the long-term benefits of allowing people to work where they work best, whether that be from home, in a booth in the office, at a desk, or even at a local coffee shop.
Allowing people to work remotely when they and the business will benefit from it will have positive effects on everything from pollution, congestion, sickness-related absenteeism and, it is predicted, an improvement in the mental health of the nation.
John Newton’s July 2020 webinar on ‘Patterns of Digital Transformation’ provides many useful insights not only into how to transition to digital practises, but also into how to survive during a recession.
Citing the Harvard Business Review article ‘Companies Need to Prepare for the Next Economic Downtown’ (May 2019), Newton says that times of recession generate a necessity for digital transformation in products, services, sales and marketing. The Review suggests that less than 20% of 5,000 companies transformed effectively to remain profitable and grow.
Keys to digital success include:
1. Experimentation with digital technology in order to work faster.
2. Protecting financial fundamentals by tracking waste and how budgets are spent.
Distilled to its essence success depends on company culture and efficiency. An organisation must have the right culture to commit to digital transformation and make it work, while business process efficiency is key for the organisation, its staff, partners and customers.
Businesses that do not adapt are at risk of digital disintermediation, while those that adapt successfully generally see 10% growth as a result of streamlined business processes.
Efficient workflows are one of the fundamentals to operating a business effectively. Security and compliance risks are heightened when operating across multiple sites that include potentially less secure environments such as home offices.
In his document ‘Returning to the New World of Work: A Practical Guide for Business Leaders’ (published April 2020), Robert Walters reported that of 2000 businesses surveyed, 33% said that IT infrastructure and security was a point of concern.
Whereas it is recommended to decentralise decision making to increase business agility, it is essential to centralise critical information to maximise efficiency and security.
Document Logistix’ flagship product, Document Manager, was voted 2019 Product of the Year by readers of Document Manager magazine. Document Manager enables companies to centralise records and create secure automated workflows from the moment information enters the business to the moment it is destroyed in compliance with retention regulations.
Document Manager affords precise version control with centrally managed check-in and check-out, and colleagues can collaborate remotely, while managers have a clear view across business performance indicators.
Compliance policies can be embedded in your company’s digital workflows. Assured security and access control combine to achieve full audit trails that record activity in detail, to satisfy internal and external auditors.
Index changes (before and after)
With the mechanical fundamentals in place for efficient digital workflows, Document Logistix customers are able to concentrate on more creative aspects of their business.
Digital processes facilitate faster decision-making. We have seen considerable success among our customers in manufacturing, banking and insurance who have become faster and more agile in both operations and customer service.
A customer in clinical device manufacture integrated suppliers into the value chain and by so doing improved their product life cycle management (PLM), which is critical in the medical sector.
Document Manager is a platform for coordination and collaboration. It removes much of the tedium from workflow processes. The burden of administrative tasks shrinks and staff are freed to be more creative and work on higher value projects.
Across all departments we see the huge benefits of digital transformation. At front of house, the sales department is able to onboard customers faster than ever before. In back of house departments such as Human Resources, HR staff are able to manage the lifecycle of thousands of employee documents and records, quickly, reliably, accurately, and in assured compliance with GDPR.
Next generation document management: more machine learning
All commentaries on successful digital transformation cite the importance of an agile culture and a commitment to empowering employees.
Agility and empowerment depend on reliable information flow.
In the latest version of Document Manager we have included more automation and machine learning components to help customers extract more value from business critical information.
Customers can train their digital document management system to recognise critical information as it enters the organisation, and assign documents instantly and accurately to folders or to people, so that operations run as quickly and smoothly as possible.
By eliminating many hours of wasteful admin time businesses save significant sums of money while getting information quickly to the people who need it, wherever it is needed, in finance, sales, procurement, customer services, complaints, HR or elsewhere.
Machine learning also helps businesses to put an end to labour-intensive and costly compliance tasks that are also prone to human error. Document Manager hides sensitive document information from view automatically (auto redaction). Your system can be trained, for example, to hide personal data when documents are requested either by insufficiently authorised internal members of staff, or when a subject access request is received from an external agent.
Again, the costs associated with manual, non-centralised or paper-based systems represent unsustainable wastefulness, and unnecessary costs that become a greater drain on resources during a recession.
Find out more about the latest machine learning functions in Document Manager.
10 Document Manager functions to help digital transformation:
Centralised access for all, with controlled access levels
Fast information search and retrieval with version control
Easy document filing from remote locations
Standardised policies for working from home
Integrated business platforms (MS Office Gold Development Partners)
Increased efficiency working with external agencies
Automated workflows from input to completion
Workflow coordination and collaboration
Automated GDPR retention periods
Auditable, time-stamped system activity
Companies with developed Green agendas are delighted with the climate-friendly results of paperless operations and reduced commuting and business travel that result from digitisation.
The digital risk-reward equation
The unfortunate but real risk during a period of business interruption or recession is that your business is at risk from competitors who adapt faster. Costs can mount quickly; customers can defect just as quickly to providers who offer simpler engagement.
The rewards of digital transformation come in the form of leaner operations and competitive advantage.
To help in your decision making consider Forrester’s Total Economic ImpactTM Methodology.
The Total Economic Impact (TEI) is a methodology developed by Forrester Research that enhances a company’s technology decision-making processes.
The TEI methodology consists of four components to evaluate investment value:
• Benefits represent the value delivered to the user organisation by the project.
• Costs represent the investment necessary to capture the benefits.
• Flexibility represents future value built on top of the initial investment
• Risks represent the uncertainty of benefit and cost estimates
Your commitment to digital document management and workflow agility can be measured in ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ benefits. Consider how many documents enter and are stored in your business, how easy they are to find, how easy they are to process, the cost and security of storage, the risks of data loss or mis-use, the presence or absence of management line-of-sight, the certainty of regulatory compliance.
Factor in the potential for catastrophic loss and the risk mitigation that digital document management affords you with built-in disaster recovery.
You can quickly establish a monetary figure for eliminated print and office costs, put numbers around improved staff productivity.
What else can you foresee potential digital gains or savings for your business? Fill in some approximate figures in the chart below.
Polymermedics adopts digital document system for efficiency and complianceDOWNLOAD