Document-Genetics-GlobeDigitised systems lead to happier customers, writes Cameron Mount, general manager of Ricoh Consulting Services

29th September 2011

We are not quite there on the paperless office. More than 90 per cent of businesses don't have an effective document strategy.

The average document is copied nine times, and then 40 per cent of documents are keyed back into a computer.

Studies have found some people at work spend nearly half of their time looking for information, and half feel overwhelmed by information.

By making information flow better there is a positive impact from cash flow and profit, through to customer satisfaction and regulatory compliance.

What common document processes are the cause of wasted time and effort?

No matter how well managed it is, virtually any organisation has one or more business processes which are either time-consuming, complex, or prone to error.

Take any department, from accounts payable to human resources, if it uses paper there is an efficiency solution which can improve it.

By replacing paper-based processes with digitised systems, there is increased efficiency, compliance and cost control, and happier customers.

What are the most common information-related time-wasters at work?

* Searching for information.
* Recreating content which can't be found.
* Reformatting documents.
* Publishing the same content in multiple formats.
* Coping with compatibility issues.

All of these can be vastly reduced through an efficient document solution system.

What are some ways companies can better manage their document processes?

It is critical to have an effective document strategy, based on a "map" of the information process, which charts the flow of documents between people and departments.

Understanding and assessing that map is crucial for improving productivity and reducing costs.

The first step is to chart the lifecycle of a document, from information capture, management, distribution, through to storage.

All these points can be addressed with a mix of accessible and intuitive document management and workflow solutions which are usually built on an integrated suite of software.