Monthly Archives: September 2013

Barclays Bank offers electronic document management to its customers

Filing electronic personal and work-related documents may not go hand in hand, but if there was a program that facilitated such an exchange, would you go for it? It has the potential to save individuals a lot of time because all the files would be in one, central location.

The Barclays Bank in the United Kingdom invites its customers to use the company's new cloud-based, electronic document management program to store financial statements, bills and personal certificates, Computerworld UK reported. As long as the user is a Barclays Bank customer, they will be able to utilize this free service. As of now, customers are not capped for a certain amount of bandwidth space, but that could change in the near future, according to TechWorld.

"We all have so many bits of paper, documents and files floating around these days that it often feels like we need an extra spare room to house them all," Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of Barclays Retail and Business Banking, told the source. "Chances are when you need to get hold of a document at the office, you will have filed it at home somewhere, if you can remember where you put it in the first place." 

All customers have to do is log into their online banking account information and begin uploading documents into this paperless office solution. The Barclays hopes that people will use the document management program as an "online deposit box," reducing their reliance on large filing cabinets that takes up a lot of office space, FinExtra explained. Oftentimes, organizing these files can be extremely overwhelming for businesses and individuals.

In order to maximize the system's use, customers are encouraged to input metadata tags with their uploads so they can be relocated in specific folders—improving future searches for specific paperwork. As a safety precaution, the bank will scan each incoming document before it enters the cloud-based server to prevent future data breaches or the chance another account becomes infected with these cyber "bots."

Electronic document management saves Hong Kong university $500,000

Colleges and universities are large entities that can also benefit from electronic document management systems because they too, process many files on a daily basis among many departments. Since the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) began transitioning toward these solutions in 2011, the institution has already seen one-third of its investment returned, according to Future Gov. 

Beginning with the finance and human resources departments, the $1.5 million project will happen in three phases. The first portion of CityU's plan consists of scanning and archiving information on full-time faculty and their payroll records, and so far HR has completed more than 3,500 files while payroll transferred 3,000. CityU chose to implement the program in these offices first because together they manage information on more than 4,000 staff members. 

"When the documents were stored in hardcopy, a large amount of clerical effort is needed to photocopy and physically transfer documents from building to building, as well as sorting through pages and pages of document to tag them with post-it notes for review," Wy Wong, CityU's HR Executive Officer, told the source. "This workload is particularly serious during periods of annual review. "[W]e can now access employee information whenever needed at our desks without any delay."

Since the plan started in 2011, the university has already saved at least $500,000, about 30 percent of the organization's initial investment. The university's enterprise content management helped staffers increase information security and financial savings while reducing overall waste. Andy Chun, CityU's chief information officer, expects that production will be "six times or more" efficient than it was before.

"The value of instantaneous online search compared with manual sifting through piles and piles of paper documents cannot be overestimated," Chun added.

As CityU becomes more internationally recognized—it was recently ranked ninth among the world's young institutions—it will greatly benefit from a paperless office.

Advisory firm in Napa Valley benefits from a paperless office

Businesses that transition from filing cabinets to a paperless office save themselves a lot of time previously spent manually completing administrative tasks, many of which are now done more efficiently through the support of document hosting software.

Adoption may require some additional time upfront on their part, but they can greatly reduce their efforts as they become more accustomed to a document management provider who can complete these tasks for them.

For Daniel's Harvest Financial in Napa Valley California, owner Chal Daniels found that he was able to spend less time communicating with the California Department of Corporations, the organization's broker-dealer. The 10 foot by 10 foot records storage room became the home of another full-time employee, further streamlining the business' operations. 

"By going paperless, I can spend more time with clients listening and finding their solutions," Daniels told Financial Advisor Magazine. "That is what any office system is all about,"

Transitioning toward the electronic document management system took Daniels and his team a year and a half, but Daniels plans on expanding electronic services for his clients by adding e-signatures. About 25 percent of his contacts prefer receiving electronic statements. Daniels noted that, "[s]ome people think it is more secure to get paper; that is not logical in my mind."

Daniel's Harvest Financial has been operating on this new platform for at least six years and has seen other benefits like a reduction in insurance costs. Companies that are considering paperless office solutions can find the resources they need to get started with the help of an electronic document management provider.

How enterprise content management saves law firms time

Law firms go through a great deal of paperwork on a regular basis, and it can be difficult for employees to effectively sort out affidavits and debriefs without getting overwhelmed. However, this does not have to be a part of a worker's daily routine with the support of document hosting software.

File folders are designed to separate documents from each other and make information easier to locate, but they're still difficult to navigate if you're looking for specific information. Electronic document management services can sort these files in a more efficient and useful way than folders and even filing cabinets. Search criteria from these programs can help "filter results faster than trying to craft the perfect search string," FindLaw author Karen Clifford wrote.

Oftentimes, associates are trying to track paperwork down from memory, which could possibly fail because even the brightest minds can only retain so much information at once. However, enterprise content management is dedicated to organize and tag these files for businesses.

Just like a search function on many e-commerce websites, records can searched using specific terms, dates or file types. Document profiling can also help lawyers sift through emails that contain information pertinent to specific cases and agreements. This highly organized program can be applied to an attorney's email as well.

Emails, similar to paperwork, enters inboxes day in and day out. A majority of messages are related to the lawyer's workflow and there is a way to manage it better than dumping them in designated folders.

Relocating these points of communication could handicap fellow lawyers who are working on similar cases, according to the Law Gazette. Instead, document management programs with email modules can fix this issue and greatly increase productivity with the metadata tags and search capabilities. Too many times, personnel find themselves panicking over "lost" records that are right under their nose.

Study: UK government can save £70 billion with electronic document management

Businesses are constantly trying to find ways to reduce their bottom line, and many have found success doing so through paperless office solutions. Recently, the United States' National Archives and Records Administration issued a directive to all agencies to implement these digital solutions to streamline their operations. In other nations like the United Kingdom, a study from the Policy Exchange echoed a similar point, potentially saving government agencies £70 billion in seven years, which is equal to more than $100 million.

Researchers found that the Crown Prosecution Service prints out about 1 million sheets of paper each day, while passport applications are still processed by hand because they are submitted in paper form. This is the case even though 30 percent of citizens said that doing more tasks on the computer or over the internet could improve their daily work productivity.

"Switching to digital for everything the government does would generate billions of pounds' worth of savings that could be used to cut the deficit or improve public services," Chris Yiu, Policy Exchange researcher, told StoreTec.

The UK government does allow its officials to issue electronic proofs, and it is now taking another step toward paperless solutions by transitioning the National Health Service (NHS), the nation's public health care network, to electronic document management.

The NHS' plan to improve care for its patients

Through the support of the government, the NHS will be granted £1 billion—equivalent to about $1.3 billion—to improve its software. This will be highly beneficial to medical professionals who work in emergency departments because they will now be able to access patient information sooner than before, according to Future Government.

Before this system, many health care providers experienced difficulty looking up a person's medical records from other parts of the UK. Some tasks like placing e-prescription orders, should be possible by March 2015, and by 2018, the entire NHS network should run on its business process software.

"Rather than imposing a clunky one size fits all approach from [the government], this fund will empower local clinicians and health services to come together and find innovative solutions for their patients," Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt explained.

Health care information technology has been shown to improve the quality care for patients while reducing costs for practices. The UK's decision to look into this technology will only support its "massive demand [doctors] face as the population increases," Hunt added.

Similar changes are happening in the U.S., as more than half of doctor offices and 80 percent of hospitals run an electronic medical record system. Enterprise content management can improve operations for many organizations, regardless of size.

Proctor & Gamble: An enterprise content management success

Before transitioning to document organization software in 2008, consumer-goods giant Proctor & Gamble, based out of Cincinnati, Ohio, constantly managed an influx of paper. Many of its paper files discussed research and development for its over-the-counter medication as well as regulatory information supporting these products, according to Baseline Magazine.

After years of wading through paperwork, Proctor & Gamble decided to implement an electronic system.

"Digging through all the records is a long, laborious process," Kay Bross, senior public key infrastructure specialist for Procter & Gamble, told the source. "If a court case comes up, the process of pinpointing a document and pulling it out is extremely time-consuming and painful."

Proctor & Gamble has an umbrella of products under its belt, like Crest, Tide, Gillette and Charmin‚Äč. The best way to organize the plethora of data that comes from these individual brands is through the use of an enterprise content management system. Proctor & Gamble's platform also allows clients and other parties to electronically sign paperwork, ultimately streamlining the company's operations.

Since the switch, Proctor & Gamble has been able to save its researchers time, thus opening additional opportunities to communicate with potential partners and government regulators. Throughout the company, employees who are responsible for document management saved 30 minutes per week. Instead of finding signatures and organizing folders, all of the information is available in the database.

When Proctor & Gamble began implementing its paperless office solutions in 2008, executives were aware that some of its staff would be skeptical of the change, but executives like Bross were committed to convincing the departments to get on board. In some cases, there were "management issues [on top of] provid[ing] training sessions." 

How law firms can organize their document management strategies

Each day, lawyers have to sift through folders full of files for a variety of cases. Instead of building stacks of paper within the office, law firms could benefit from electronic enterprise document management software. This way, legal staff are able to go add notes to one part of a document and switch to another without making a mess.

"You open a new case, [update] whatever information you got from the client, and say, 'Go,'" Stephen Holmes, chief administrator at a Hawaii-based firm, told BizTech Magazine. "It really is an amazingly well-thought-out product."

There are other solutions that help streamline operations, like a shared file drive or email system, but these options are easily overwhelmed. Going through hundreds of emails at work quickly becomes inefficient and sharing folders back and forth can slow down the computer's overall performance.

Instead, having one central place to store and access files can be a part of the firm's network, capable of backing up documents and managing multiple accounts. Not only will the business reduce waste from printing many memos, contracts and briefs, but document hosting protects information from getting into the wrong hands.

It helps that these types of programs have a search engine within their framework, assisting coworkers from multiple departments to contribute to the case without having multiple meetings with one another.

"It's incredibly customizable in terms of what sets of data you want to look at," Jordon Kimura, a litigation associate, explained to BizTech.

Having a thorough, enterprise document management system makes it easier for assistants, associates and lawyers to be on the same page.

U.S. immigration changes business process software

Some federal government agencies are well underway with their paperless office solutions, but there are many more departments that are waiting to get the green light. Under the directive of the National Archives and Records Administration, all government entities should be implementing some sort of system to streamline operations.

The latest department to do so is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which hopes to be entirely digitized in three years, according its press release.

"The [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services] administers a tremendous volume of documents on a daily basis," Bill Cornelius, vice president of Xerox Federal Solutions explained in the announcement.

Each day, the department processes paperwork from individuals that live in many nations, all of whom are seeking sponsorship to come to the United States. On top of green card applications of many others who immigrated to this country, the agency has its hands full all day. Funding for the $16 million, three-year project came from the Department of Homeland Security.

Due to the magnitude of the project, the immigration office's vendor will have to open a separate facility just to manage its electronic document management system. Both parties are looking forward to finding additional opportunities for Americans to find jobs in a competitive and demanding market.

"[Our facility in Barbourville breathes new life into an area of Kentucky that will really benefit from the employment and peripheral business opportunities that typically come with a facility like this," Paul Dole, president and chief executive officer of the Kentucky Communities Economic Opportunity Council, told the United Press International.

Gartner: IT departments may lose control of budgets

In the world of information technology, senior staffers are beginning to think they know what is best for their business. Because files can be accessed on many devices like cell phones, tablets or cloud-based servers, they think that some programs—designed for personal use—can be translated into the workplace, according to Computer Weekly.

Gartner's Outsourcing Summit showed that this shift in control can make things difficult for chief information officers (CIOs), who are devoting so much of their time to teaching workers how to use their new business process software that may lose control of their overall strategy. Gartner estimates that by 2015, 40 percent of the IT budget will be beyond their control.

"The 'no clue' buyer has arrived. They buy what they want, but do not know how to buy it," Gartner analyst Frank Ridder told the source. "This includes apps, such as those available as a service, and devices, as a result of trends such as bring your own device (BYOD)."

This is why it is important that CIOs keep paths of communication open. About 65 percent of executives approve of technological changes, but 62 percent of respondents said they lack the skills to make the change. Even though, in actuality, many of these organizations have an IT department sitting in their building.

If there are rumors that your company is in the midst of purchasing new programs, ask senior staffers about it. Instead of resisting the change, try to work with these parties. Not doing so can waste a lot of time, as your company tries to interoperate programs or teach employees how to learn yet another, business management program.

How to manage multiple outsourced vendors

Despite a recovering economy, businesses are continuing to outsource non-core tasks like document hosting or scanning. It is a great way to keep costs low while still working with a team of qualified staffers. The issue is that when companies hire multiple vendors for other departments, including IT, workflows can become strained.

These third-party organizations do not have a contract with one another, therefore there is no incentive for them to cooperate with each other. It is up to the chief information officer (CIO) or executive in charge with these contracts to get them to play nice, because a lack of infrastructure will end up being less productive and more expensive, according to CIO Magazine.

"At a basic level, providers are financially motivated to get the highest possible fee for the least amount of work," Lois Coatney, director with outsourcing consultancy Information Services Group, told the source. "This leads them to focus on their particular scope of responsibility, and to be very diligent about specifically defining what they are and aren't responsible for."

Vendors have to remember that even though they are working with other outside help, they share a common client. Therefore, it is important to work with the client to complete these tasks. Organizations that put themselves before the client will end up losing their business and the potential of getting additional recommendations.

In order to build a solid foundation with the vendors, the CIO should create an agreement that outlines the arrangement between the multiple parties that will work with one another. The CIO might consider fining service providers that do not live up to the agreement, for example. Having regular telephone conferences with the vendors can also open paths of communication, reminding them that they are a part of the business' success.

Enterprise document management with multiple teams may be difficult at first, but once the headaches are over, the benefits will begin.