The Covid-19 pandemic has dealt the world economy a sudden right hook that has the latter crumpling onto the floor. While the death toll count is the primary thing to be concerned about, the slow and painful decline of the global economy is coming up as a close second concern. Governments across the world are having a tough time balancing between the lesser of the two evils.
Businesses are running out of cash, unemployment rates have never been this high before, and people cannot go out and spend, bringing this process to a full cycle. The scary part about this pandemic is that we have no clue till when it can last.
But as businesses adapt to new working environments and timings, it becomes essential to note how paper-based processes act as a deterrent to the transition. While companies may be able to take off with the work-from-home solutions, there is a significant disconnect that is felt owing to the traditional paper-based processes. Businesses, for ages, have been making only the most necessary changes to the technology they employ.
Paper comes in all forms to an office- invoices, reports, purchase orders, tax information and so on. However, businesses that had previously opted to transition into a digital work slowly may find the current work conditions much more natural than rest. When companies are shocked into making this transition, they are susceptible to the following risks:
- Rushing through the planning to adapt with work-from-home solutions, that they do not take the time to identify where the bottlenecks to sudden changes exist.
- Since most businesses are now working online, the risks involved with not having the right cybersecurity solution in place are much higher. It will be interesting to note that most of the low-cost VPNs that companies have decided to employ in these times sell their customer data on the internet.
- The tool is only as useful as its master’s competence. Without giving people enough time to adapt and learn to use the work-from-home solutions, it can compromise the integrity of all your company data. Malware at the endpoint device will almost surely attempt to communicate with the company servers, exposing your company data to many risks.
In a long list of problems that can arise, these are just a few. As the company size increases, the number of issues they may face is much larger. However, it can be agreed upon that this late adoption of digital practices is coming back to haunt us.
What is the solution now?
How can we mitigate the damage that has been done, and ensure that for next time, we are ready to combat ANY threat to business continuity?
The time to reassess and reshape the way we work is now. This pandemic has brought to light, technologies which are essential to business growth and those which aren’t. The work paradigm can now be modified to enhance productivity under all circumstances.
What would be the right place to start?
In this digital era, the first step will be to identify what are the age-old practices which go around the office. A proper study has to be made into the daily processes that make the company run. It will be easy to identify paper-based processes since most of the approval and information sharing takes place through hard copies.
The next step is to brainstorm which of these paper-based processes, if converted into an electronic process, can create a substantial impact in the turnaround time for the company. Usually, these lie in the accounting and workflow approval processes since these take the most time to proceed to the next stage. But it will be different for each industry, so it becomes imperative to sit down with the company to present to them which processes produce a negative cost to their economic activities.
Now, we begin to think about document digitization
Once, these two steps are complete, the next step for the solution provider will be to provide the solutions which can be the best fit to eliminate the dependency on paper-based processes. Data imaging, data capture and OCR technologies are the primary players in this step. To understand what these technologies do, consider the situation below.
You identify that the paper-based processes in the accounting department of your company are costing you the most turnaround time and also lower your productivity. The first step of eliminating paper-based processes is by scanning the documents flowing in and uploading them into the cloud/ company server which everyone can access. Maybe this reduces your turnaround time from one minute to twenty seconds. But this information is still captured from the digital document and transferred by a human being.
If data capture and OCR technologies can capture the data for you in under 2 seconds, wouldn’t that improve your costs by a more significant margin? This is only a simple example using a normal scenario in your office to demonstrate how document digitization works in your favor.
Opening your business operations to these technologies gives you access to a host of new technologies which help you further improve productivity in the office. A few of the benefits of document digitization are:
- Enhanced collaboration between your teams – When the company data is now available at the click of a few buttons, and the sharing is much faster, it becomes much more comfortable for your teams to work together smoothly.
- Automated workflow and approval processes – In a traditional office, it is common to see files lying on a table for approval for days. It is also easy to misplace these files. However, when the information is now maintained digitally, it further increases the accountability and efficiency of the employees.
- Data Security – Information on paper can be easily misplaced and even worse, stolen. While it is not impossible in a digital workspace, it is highly unlikely when you opt for the right solution because these systems are regularly updated with the latest standards.
This article is meant to serve as an introductory text on the topic. Here we will be talking more about why you need to reassess the way your business currently operates. But considering the future of businesses after a Covid-19 free world, you will be inclined to think about how you can reduce overhead costs and increase the productivity of your workforce.
What do you think about the future of businesses, after we beat the Covid-19 virus? How relevant do you think document digitization will be to your business?