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In the highly competitive Life Insurance industry, efficiency and outstanding customer service are mandatory for growth and success.  It is difficult for insurance professionals to deliver the highest level of timely service when they rely on outdated legacy systems and manual-based insurance document management processes. Automated claims processing is no longer a luxury, it’s a competitive requisite.

Claims Processing Improvement

Founded in 1960, Investors Heritage Life Insurance Company is licensed in 30 states and provides insurance and annuities to fund funeral services through funeral homes.  Investors Heritage recognized that their Claims Processing procedures are a key component to providing the high customer quality mandates of the organization.   Their prior claims process involved several manual steps where incoming claims were received via fax, email or mail, then printed out and filed in 1 of 5 color coded folders.  Next, the folders were passed to a benefit claims professional who verified the claim information in their legacy back end system and validated the submission with the IRS and Child Support websites.  Once all documentation was received and verified, the folder was sent to management to approve the payment.  If the claim was above a certain dollar amount, up to 3 levels of management could be required for approval, and the folder was sent to each manager for sign off. Investors Heritage

Investor Heritage looked to VeBridge to implement an Automated Claims Processing Solution.  They wanted to streamline their existing process with automated workflow that enabled their benefit claims professionals with immediate access to the right documents.  Their goals were to provide visibility into claims status as claims moved through required processes, and to integrate with their legacy back end system.  The expected business benefit was that all claims would be managed in a consistent and controlled manner, allowing for processing time to be minimized and errors to be eliminated.

Better Information Enables Better Decision Making 

Leveraging OnBase, by Hyland Software, incoming claim data is now captured and imported directly into OnBase. Documents are grouped automatically into digital folders by claim and tracked by policy number, policyholder and company.   All documents are stored as their individual document types, which aids in recognizing which documents exist and which are missing.  Data is copied directly from the legacy system into OnBase eliminating a manual printing step.

Claims are then placed into a “pending” queue workflow. When additional documents are added to the claim, they are automatically added to the benefit claims professional’s queue and flagged as “available for review.”  Check approval is now completed through automated workflow, and no physical documents (folders) are passed around the office.  If additional levels of approval are required, email notification includes all supporting documentation needed for a quick approval.  The workflow provides the flexibility for management to determine who needs to be notified for approvals based upon availability.

According to Executive Vice President & COO Raymond Carr, “the paperless, automated workflow allows our Benefit Claims professionals to focus on providing efficient, high quality service to our customers.  In addition, digitizing our paper claim documents on the front-end of the process has reduced risk by enhancing our data security and improving our business continuity program.”

A Bridge to Better Business

Claims processing automation enables enormous savings in time and money, and can help reduce human errors in the process. In the Insurance industry, reducing the cost of claims processing is key to profitability. Reducing cycle time, the elapsed time from opening a claim to its settlement, is key to customer satisfaction.  Set up a free consultation with VeBridge to evaluate how business process automation can build a bridge to your better business.

Kentucky Business ProcessAlthough VeBridge serves clients around the country and in neighboring states such as Indiana, Tennessee and West Virginia, like most teams we’re proud of our home city of Lexington and our home state of Kentucky.

As proud Kentuckians, we want our local businesses to compete and thrive in the global marketplace. That’s one reason we’re so passionate about the value that we deliver, which is to relentlessly simplify business process to drive up profit and productivity. We do this by focusing and enhancing the daily connections between people, process and technology.

Our team takes great pride in helping local companies in Lexington, KY, and beyond, become more productive and profitable by 1) eliminating paper (via document imaging), 2) making business processes simpler and smarter (via business process management, eforms, workflow improvements), and 3) making information more accessible and usable (via enterprise content management, or ECM, software and services).

What is “Business Process”?

VeBridge Business ProcessNot every business executive or IT leader speakers in terms of “business process,” so it’s important to define what we mean by it.

Business process is usually defined as “an activity or set of activities that will accomplish a specific organizational goal.” It’s quite simply what your organization does each day to succeed. Creating new products and services, hiring great people, taking orders, delighting customers, getting paid, and paying others all require smooth and efficient transferring of information across bridges between people, process and technology.

In the most basic terms, VeBridge is committed to providing a bridge from inefficient paper and email chaos to a smarter, digital-enabled way of getting things done. Here’s how we do it:

Eliminating Paper

Paper is the great enemy of efficient business process. Some of the major downsides to running your business on paper:

  • Paper gets lost
  • It’s enormously expensive to purchase, use and warehouse
  • It’s difficult and expensive to retrieve and use ad hoc when needed in the future
  • It adds risk to your business in areas of business continuity, crisis management and disaster

VeBridge Document Imaging AssessmentThe average office worker continues to use a staggering 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year, according to statistics from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Filing costs average $20 per document.

According to a Paystream Advisors study, 84 percent of invoices enter processing in formats that include paper, fax and email attachments, which require manual conversion into ERP-formatted data. This can drive the cost of processing up to $20 per invoice vs. $4 in a fully automated environment!

VeBridge has been a leading document imaging and digital service bureau for over 15 years and dozens of clients across many industries.

Simpler, Smarter Business Processes  

What did the BP Trends State of the BPM Market survey of business executives reveal about Business Process Management?

  • 52% stated their organization had never or occasionally developed performance measurements to evaluate the success or failure of business processes.
  • 49% stated their organization had never or occasionally defined and documented the skills needed to perform the tasks in the major processes.
  • 59% stated their organization had never or occasionally trained managers to analyze, design and manage business processes.
  • 53% said their managers never or only occasionally use performance data to manage their processes.

At VeBridge, we take a deep discovery process approach to identifying how and why business tasks are taking longer and costing more than they should, and our business process consulting team maps out specifically how they can be made smarter and simpler.

This approach can lead to eye-opening improvements in how your organization runs:

  • Reduced order to cash cycles
  • Reduced process costs: 10-15%
  • Increased quality / reduced number of errors: 20-30%
  • Reduced process throughput times: 10-30%
  • Reduced training time / expenses: 10-30%
  • Reduced number of (internal) support requests: 15-30%
  • Reduced number of customer complaints: 20-30%
  • Increased forecast accuracy: 15-30%

Accessible, Usable Information  

VeBridge Enterprise Content Management SolutionsThis is where the power of ECM technology comes into play. It’s not enough to simply digitize documents; you must develop a comprehensive content management strategy and enable it with flexible, enterprise-scalable technology. How many times have you known a piece of information exists somewhere “out there” on a server, but couldn’t find it? Consider:

  • A typical employee spends 30% – 40% of his time looking for information locked in e-mail, documents, shared hard disks and filing cabinets.
  • 18 minutes is the average search time for a document
  • U.S. managers spend an average of 4 weeks a year searching for or waiting on misfiled, mislabeled, untracked, or ‘lost’ papers”

An effective ECM solution provides:

  • Efficient, direct access to content
  • Data storage and backup
  • Automation of tasks and processes
  • Improved compliance

Each industry has its unique business process challenges. Our experience in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, insurance and higher education, among others, helps us apply these ECM benefits to your business processes in a more efficient manner.

At the end of the day, it’s about your organization and your people thriving! Frankly, it’s more fun to run an efficient, productive, profitable business. That’s our goal for all of our Kentucky peer companies and for all those we serve around the country.

Let us know when we can schedule an information conversation with you and your team about becoming more competitive and profitable!

OnBase by Hyland - KentuckyIn continuing our blog review of foundational enterprise content management (ECM) technologies, we’re eager to share our thoughts on Hyland’s OnBase software solution.

As you know, we’re fond of thoroughbreds here in Lexington, Kentucky, and OnBase is considered the thoroughbred of ECM platforms. OnBase is placed in Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant” of leading enterprise content management solutions, so it’s important for you as an IT or business leader to understand the power of this offering.

OnBase centralizes your important business content in one secure location, then drives this content through your business processes. It works in conjunction with your other applications, and then delivers relevant information to you when you need it, wherever you are. This allows legal retention requirements to be implemented automatically, giving you total visibility into the status of your processes, documents and information. It delivers foundational ECM functionality for your content, such as the ability to capture, process, access, integrate, measure and store documents and ad hoc content.

OnBase 2014 delivers over 4,000 enhancements, including:

  • Single, secure, scalable architecture that integrates fully with your core software systems
  • Configuration without code, making it easier than ever for you to build solutions
  • User interface enhancements that makes data instantly available

According to Forrester Research, a leading industry analyst group, a key reason for Hyland’s continued growth and market penetration has been its vertical domain expertise and deep solution focus. VeBridge focuses special emphasis on manufacturing, healthcare, higher education and insurance markets because of their importance to Kentucky’s overall economy, including our home base in Lexington. However, OnBase offers a slew of in-depth vertical and departmental solutions. These specific solution templates can dramatically reduce development time while retaining flexibility for your unique environment.

VeBridge is an authorized reseller and leading solution provider for OnBase, including development, consulting and training. Combining the power of OnBase’s ECM capabilities with VeBridge’s unique discovery and solution development approach, you’ll be well on your way to building a bridge to better business.

After our OnBase Community Event in Lexington on November 21, 2014, we’ll have even more great OnBase solution examples to share with you. For a free OnBase assessment meeting that will uncover how this leading ECM platform can benefit your organization, contact us at http://www.vebridge.com/contact-us/.

It’s a well-known secret in the world of IT that most organizations only scratch the surface in unlocking the value of technology they already own. Whether the challenge is a poor user interface, poor planning or a lack of training, billions of dollars in productivity are lost each year on underutilized “solutions.”

That’s one reason VeBridge has selected enterprise content management (ECM) technology partners such as OnBase, Digitech and frevvo.  In our professional opinion, the tools provided by these vendors offer a greater potential for enterprise-wide return on investment.

Digitech Systems – Empowering Kentucky Organizations to Manage Information

Digitech KentuckyDigitech Systems’ ECMNOW! a comprehensive ECM product suite that enables businesses to more effectively manage information of any kind—from paper documents and electronic files to print streams and even email.

A diverse group of customers across the country have benefited from Digitech’s approach to ECM, including:

  • All Island Gastroenterology & Liver Associates – Achieved 879% ROI and project payback in 1.3 months (as verified by independent research firm, Nucleus Research).
  • BancWest Investment Services – 33% ROI and a 3 year payback on BWIS’s ImageSilo project.
  • Vulcan Materials Company – 498% ROI and full project payback within three months, saving $128,000 annually in labor and offsite storage, while providing customers secure, unlimited access to their own records.

Here in Kentucky, VeBridge is a long-time leader in document imaging. However, if we stopped there, we would be as guilty as other organizations in leaving ROI on the table. We’re on a mission to not just simply digitize documents for easier storage and retrieval, but to help organizations rethink the process steps they take to get important business tasks done. Why simply digitize a poor process?

Our team of project managers perform “uncommon discovery” to deeply understand how your company currently operates, and how it should operate to eliminate wasteful steps that lead to cost and errors.

How can your organization get rid of paper documents, streamline the steps required to get daily business tasks accomplished, and drive up profit? Schedule a free review of Digitech ECMNOW! solutions at http://www.vebridge.com/contact-us/.

Digitech ECMNOW! Product Suite

Digitech’s tools that empower our solution delivery include:

  • ImageSilo® – Conveniently store and access data online without capital costs
  • PaperVision® Enterprise – Conveniently store and access data hosted on a local server
  • PaperVision® Capture – Capture, integrate and distribute everything for less
  • PaperFlow® – Get control of critical, paper-based information quickly and easily
  • PaperVision® Enterprise Report Management – Convert print streams into practical electronic reports
  • PaperVision® Message Manager – Store and index email messages for easy retrieval
  • PaperVision® Enterprise WorkFlow – Automate document routing to streamline business processes

With the increasing levels of compliance regulations and required audits, both internal and external, keeping track of necessary documents is more important than ever.  A well thought out Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system can help to facilitate audits and other compliance requirements.

ECM refers to the strategies, methods and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes.

A great example of ECM for compliance can be found at the Kentucky Approving Agency for Veterans Education (KAAVE).  KAAVE has a mission to afford veterans and other eligible persons the opportunity to improve their quality of life and employability through the use of quality education and training programs approved for use with their GI Bill Education Benefits.

KAAVE grew out of the GI Bill of Rights and is responsible for determining what programs may be approved for the use of VA education benefits.  KAAVE, in coordination with Kentucky Community and Technical College, play a vital role in the economic future of Kentucky by providing services to develop high-skilled workers for today’s fast-paced and globally competitive workplace.

Compliance Requirements

To accomplish their mission, this State Approving Agency (SAA) is obliged to track and maintain accreditation information from all veteran training programs as a requirement to obtain federally based funding.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) requires that an annual compliance survey be completed by the 80 participating training organizations in Kentucky.  This audit process had been very paper intensive and required multiple training site visits and interviews with veteran participants.  These compliance audits usually span several months to completion and the agency is required to report on their progress on a quarterly basis.   KAAVE had a goal to streamline the overall process by reducing the amount of paper and to improve efficiency in the quarterly reporting requirements.

A Streamlined Solution

KAAVE selected OnBase Unity Briefcase as a solution to automate the annual compliance process and provide document management capabilities to the mobile SAA Consultants responsible for conducting the audits.  The portable solution allows access to documents needed by the SAA consultants when performing off-site audits.  The consultants are now able to retrieve, create, and update the most current versions of compliance documents and forms without network access, then simply sync offline content back into OnBase when connectivity resumes.

In addition to improving SAA consultant audit quality and efficiency, the solution provided additional management and reporting capabilities.  The prior reporting process was handled quarterly through manual updates to Excel spreadsheets.  Today, compliance documentation and audit activities are updated daily, resulting in a huge time savings in delivering the VA required reports.

A Bridge to Better Business

This compliance audit process is just one example of many manual document-driven business processes in organizations today.  Through innovation, experience and technology, similar processes can be improved to result in operational efficiency and lowered cost and compliance risk.  For more information on ECM for compliance, contact us at http://www.vebridge.com/contact-us/.

We all know that the first step in kicking a bad habit is admitting that you have a problem in the first place.

Even in this digital world, many businesses are still dependent on paper-based files. In fact, according to Price Waterhouse Coopers, the amount of paper files double every 3.5 years!

Is your business a paper addict?  If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may just have a problem!

1. If your headquarters had a catastrophic fire, would your business be severely impacted?

According to the Paperless Project, 90% of a business’s information is in documents and more than 70 percent of US organizations would fail in less than a month if a catastrophic fire or flood compromised their paper-based information management system.

2. Do you have filing cabinets?  Do you really know the cost of a filing cabinet?

Each four-drawer file cabinet holds an average of 10,000 to 12,000 documents, takes up to 9 square feet of floor space and costs $1,500 per year.  Other data suggests that companies spend an average of $25,000 in paper costs just to fill a typical four-drawer cabinet.

3. Do your employees spend time looking for documents?

According to Gartner, professionals spend 50% of their time searching for information and take 18 minutes to locate each document, on average. Each misfiled document costs $125. Each lost document cost $350 to $700 –and on average, large organizations lose a document every 12 seconds.

4. Are a large percentage of your business processes manual and paper-based?

In general, the higher the number of human touches or decision points in a process, the greater the inefficiency of that process. In the U.S., companies spend more than $120 billion a year on printed forms, most of which outdate themselves within three months’ time.  Regulated industries spend millions on compliance processes required to archive documents and maintain audit trails. According to AIIM, organizations can see a 50-90% reduction in costs associated with faxing, mailing and copying paper documents when they digitize those processes.

Kick the Paper Habit                                                                                                                                                                     

It is obvious that lowering paper usage can lower costs while increasing productivity and efficiency.  Hopefully from these questions, you have an idea of just how big of an impact that kicking the paper habit could have on your organization.   But sometimes knowing where to start can be intimidating.  Don’t allow your paper habit to impede your organization’ profit and productivity one more day. Check out this whitepaper with more information on how to get started:  Pain to Profit Whitepaper

 We’ve all been there. There’s a pile of cute, fluffy, wriggling puppies in a crate. You lift one out for a quick cuddle. It licks you. It loves you. In minutes you grow to love the puppy back. Looking up, you see the sign… “Free puppies.” OMG, it can’t get any better than this! The transaction is completed and you are now the happy owner of a free puppy, with whom you are in love. As you are walking away, the puppy purveyor reminds you to “get it to the vet for its shots.”

Within a week, without breaking a sweat, you have dropped $400 on this free puppy. That’s not all. You have also awakened to the daily maintenance associated with loving, and owning a puppy. You have modified your schedule: Wake at 5:45 to let the puppy out. Walk the puppy before leaving for work. Come home every 2 hours to let the puppy out. Come home earlier than usual for the pre-dinner puppy walk. Take the puppy out before going to bed. Wake up once during the night to allow the whimpering pup to, once again, relieve itself. The good news is, it was “free.”

There is no such thing as a free puppy. There is also no such thing as a low-maintenance puppy.

How does this relate to scanning apps? It’s a fairly similar story, you just spend more money and it wags a much bigger maintenance tail! Here goes…

You are attending a demo of your next new business application. (Take your pick…Finance and Accounting, ERP, Inventory, Recruiting, HR, Asset Management, Case Management, Incident Tracking, etc.)

Suddenly the sales guy says, “But that’s not all! It will also allow you to scan all the documents associated with the transaction, right into the software! That way the images will live with the transaction and you won’t have to do any more filing!” You begin to swoon! Then you get the best news…this scanning capability comes bundled into the software, so it’s FREE! You are now in love, and decide to buy the new-fangled software package. They’re even going to throw in a scanner.

Like the puppy, this sounded like a great solution at the time. Here’s why it may create more problems than it solves.

  • New silos are created – One of the objectives in the development of document management (DM), and later enterprise content management (ECM) solutions was to eliminate information silos. Most of us remember the days when each department had their own set of file cabinets to house the business records that supported their work. Since it was difficult for people in other departments to get to them, they tended to have their own set of files. Version control did not exist. The main problem was the lack of a single source of the truth. Decisions were often made based on the wrong version of a document.With the silos now living within the line-of-business applications, things are even worse. If you don’t have access to the software that holds the transactions, you can’t get to the underlying documents. So a project manager that needs ready access to the bills associated with a project must keep their own copies. New electronic silos are built with the same problems as the paper files of old.
  • Single point of access – A related issue is that documents can only be retrieved within the application into which they were scanned. Not only does the Finance system have its own scanning app, so do the HR, ERP, Facilities Management and other key business systems. Using our project manager example, let’s examine the impact. The PM not only needs invoices from vendors, they must also access time sheets, billings sent to the client, maintenance files related to the equipment in use on the project and any documentation on capital items that were sold to the client for the project. In today’s LOB-based imaging world, these documents may now reside in multiple LOB applications. The notion of a single search to retrieve these disparate documents is not an option.
  • Licensing issues – Now we have a new problem. Our Project Manager has access to their project management system and the ERP, not the Finance system. Licenses aren’t cheap…and neither is the training required to use system. Even if the only reason people have to log into the business system is to access the documents stored there, additional licenses and annual maintenance must be purchased. On top of that, the security matrix that must be built and maintained to grant document-only access and restrict access to other areas is difficult to set up and maintain. In many major business systems, this is not even possible.
  • Yet another workflow engine – The overhead created by supporting multiple workflow products is staggering. IT must have additional staff to configure and support the workflows. Extra licenses must be purchased to support the users, and everyone has to be trained on each workflow system. And if a workflow requires actions that touch several business systems, typically referred to as “swim-lane” processes, it just can’t be done.
  • Records retention issues – Most business systems do not support retention schedules. As a result, when it’s time to delete documents in accordance with the retention schedule, the organization has two choices: 1) Have an individual navigate to every transaction that has reached its expiration point and manually delete the images, or 2) write a script, if it is supported by the LOB application, to automatically perform the deletions. In either event, the added complexity of having a litigation hold in effect materially increases the complexity and cost of the process.
  • Finding documents related to one another is a pain – Let’s revisit our beleaguered project manager. Their focus is the “project”. There are bills that are associated with POs, which are associated with change orders, which are associated with revised drawings, which are associated with new zoning events. If each of these items is housed in a different business system, there is no easy way to quickly search for everything related to the project, or easily study the documentation side-by-side.
  • Everyone becomes a scanner operator – Business system imaging applications tend to rely on users to scan items when the associated transactions are entered, or afterward as a separate task. This presents many unanticipated costs to the organization. First, everyone involved in adding documentation to the system must become adept at operating a scanner. They must have one available and convenient. They must remember to add the document, every single time. They must take their valuable time to scan the documents. They must also know how to perform quality assurance steps to ensure all the pages are scanned and the document is attached to the right transaction. The higher the pay-grade of the employee, the more this task costs. Finally, and most importantly, the process they must follow is slow. Economies of scale cannot be implemented under this model.

All these high-maintenance issues support the deployment of a single Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system to manage business records. Since most mature ECM systems provide seamless integration to most business applications, and have workflow capability that can be applied to both document-centric and process-centric swim lane workflows, this solution overcomes all of the issues that are inherent in business system scanning apps.

 

Enjoy your free puppy. Leave the scanning to the ECM app.


For years now, manufacturing operations have enjoyed tremendous financial gains by improving the manufacturing process. Whether it be Six Sigma, Kaizen, Lean or other popular techniques, the focus has been on squeezing the fat out of the process, removing all non-value added activities.

It is time now to apply the same thinking to back office operations, in all industries, and in a radical way. Incremental improvements in document management and storage to eliminate a file cabinet here, and a copying expense there will not achieve today’s goals. Addressing the entire business process is essential to achieving game-changing results.

Seven Ways to improve back office performance, and thereby make more money, include:

  • Identify process bottlenecks and eliminate them
  • Apply automated rules to processes in order to eliminate human touches
  • Increase the speed of processes and the retrieval of vital information
  • Establish a single source of the truth for business records
  • Replace back-end quality assurance with processes designed to eliminate the root cause of errors
  • Make sure customer needs are clearly understood and optimized in the business process to deliver a better customer experience
  • Tie appropriate business processes to aggressive time-to-market goals and strategies

Your goals should not be for 1% improvement, or even 5% improvement, but 20%, 30%, even 80% improvement in these areas.

Your first step in achieving these goals is process re-engineering. Start by understanding the true “as is” state of the process. This can’t be done in a conference room. The discovery process must be conducted where the work is being done. Follow transactions through the process. Discard your preconceptions. Ask “why” even if you think you know the answer. Define your work objectives. Draw your current processes out. Create flowcharts. Record times: transaction, waiting, etc. Once you know your true work objectives and your “as is” state, it becomes clear what your “to be” state must be. This is where you can eliminate any steps in the process that do not add value. You MUST fix your processes before automating them. If you start with a mess and automate it, you will end up with an automated mess!

Next, think about the automation tools in place to support the re-engineered processes. What would it do? How would it allow you to improve the speed, eliminate the waste and drive down manual processing costs? A good starting point is to evaluate the time required to complete each task. The longer a task takes to perform, the more likely it could respond well to the use of technology. Also look at those steps in the process where the flow of the work is waiting on action. Is there a way to reduce or completely eliminate the wait, reroute the process if the wait exceeds a limit, or improve the likelihood that the action will occur?

Now, let’s focus on quality. Where are errors occurring in the process? Are your employees hijacking a standard process, implementing their own approach, which leads to errors down the line? Are your processes documented so that your entire quality control process is not walking out the door every night? Is your entire quality control process in place because errors are not being caught at the source? Are your processes enforced through the use of rule-based technology? Are your processes subject to routine audits to ensure constant improvement? Current technology should enable a rules-driven process where up to 80% of your transactions are handled instantaneously without a human touch.

Connect everything you do with the Customer. Examine every business process and ask, “How does this help our Customers? Would they pay for this if they knew we were doing it? How does this help increase revenue or reduce costs?” Improvement must increase revenue, decrease cost, reduce risk or improve customer satisfaction.

Improving internal customer satisfaction is key as well. Most departments are interdependent. A change in one department may shift costs to another department. Lean in the back office applies to all of the back office functions (and the front office ones as well) that interconnect. For example, think about the A/R process. It is not a standalone process within accounting. It must also interact with Sales (from order origination to customer interaction), Shipping and Receiving, Logistics, Manufacturing, Human Resources, IT, ERP systems and potentially other parts of the organization. For this reason, any lean activity must examine the implications for all of the interconnected parts of the organization.

Look at the resulting vision. Does it allow the organization to respond quickly and cost effectively to its customers? Does it allow the organization to rapidly adapt to changing circumstances, rolling out new products, new sales campaigns and new organizational structure quickly? If so, you’ve done it right.

This blog post is the third, in a series of three. It provides a window into an extraordinary exercise held by the Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) IT staff and members of their user community. The goal was to better understand their paper-process pain. In this post, I’ve included the answers to the bolded questions, below:

  • If we had magic paper – what would it do?
  • What is most irritating about paper? What drives you crazy about paper processes?
  • Other than paper and electronic forms, what else do you want to store and retrieve? What digital formats need to be stored?
  • Let’s put on our Worry Hat:  What might get in our way?
  • What worries YOU about living and working in a paperless office?
  • How would a paperless office help you?

What worries YOU about living and working in a paperless office?

  • BDMS goes away and I lose everything
  • What if my computer crashes and I lose my email files
  • My ability to use the technology
  • Other people with good intentions
  • The possibility of technology failure
  • Lots of different tools – need to streamline and use “best”
  • Loss of historic artifacts when it is digital
  • People don’t know what they are responsible to do
  • Lawyers – regulatory requirements
  • People keep doing their own thing; lack of consistency
  • Being left out of the information loop
  • IT support
    • System crashes
  • Not doing it and having a fire
  • More electronic creates a greater sense of immediacy

How would a paperless office help you?

  • Time savings
  • Ease of retrieval
  • Get rid of clutter – more space
  • More effective and efficient
  • More customer friendly
  • Decrease staff workload
  • Operationalize records retention
  • Increase security – backup – audit trail, etc.
  • Engage student workers in a more meaningful way
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Standardize processes across University
  • Enhance customer service to students
  • Free up resources for recruiting and retention

I hope you agree that this was a great exercise. This was as revealing to us and the IT staff as it was to the user community. As a result of this exercise, it is more likely that the real problems driving their content chaos will be addressed and solved.

If your organization is working to streamline their business processes and eliminate unnecessary paper, this would be a great process to conduct with your team.

 

This blog post is the second, in a series of three. It provides a window into an extraordinary exercise held by the Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) IT staff and members of their user community. The goal was to better understand their paper-process pain. In this post, I’ve included the answers to the bolded questions, below:

  • If we had magic paper – what would it do?
  • What is most irritating about paper? What drives you crazy about paper processes?
  • Other than paper and electronic forms, what else do you want to store and retrieve? What digital formats need to be stored?
  • Let’s put on our Worry Hat:  What might get in our way?
  • What worries YOU about living and working in a paperless office?
  • How would a paperless office help you?

Other than paper and electronic forms, what else do you want to store and retrieve?

  • Receipts
  • Paper forms
  • Original Signature documents
  • Payment forms
  • Contracts
  • Degree Audits and other electronic information at the point in time (snapshots)
  • Correspondence – letters, memos
  • Email
  • Letters of Recommendation and supporting docs
  • Minutes of committee meetings and the associated agendas
  • Evaluations

 

What digital formats need to be stored?:

  • Paper
  • Excel
  • PDF’s
  • Word documents
  • Word perfect documents
  • PowerPoint
  • Photos
  • Web page format
  • Databases
  • Email
  • Text messages
  • Calendars

Let’s put on our Worry Hat:  What might get in our way?

  • Change is difficult – fear
  • Learning curve
  • Boss wants paper
  • Limited access because restricted data isn’t hidden
  • Legal requirements unknown at this time
  • Requirements of Accreditation and Auditing
  • Implementation strategy that takes into consideration how individual offices and the whole University are affected
  • The need to keep things permanently as necessary
    • Data corruption
    • File format obsolescence
    • Etc.
  • Legality for electronic signatures
  • Implementation must be well communicated
  • Lack of resources, funding, staff and time
  • Changes in technology and the need to be able to adapt over time
  • Change in policy, procedures and processes are constant
  • Access to documents too open
  • Lack of support and enforcement from top
  • Education about how to do it
  • Need for consistency across the University to realize full potential
  • Culture of treating electronic documents as less important than paper
  • Fear of losing jobs
  • Printing is easy
  • If we cannot purge as required
  • Inability to provide access to documents to outside agencies/auditors while limiting access to it others
    • Package and handoff
  • Lack of communication and collaboration between offices
  • Lack of technical skills and abilities in our staff

 

Stay tuned for the third, and final installment!

 

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