We recently started working with a new client who needed an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system and had not really used any sort of ECM before, only a shared-drive. They were using a save and print methodology for their documentation which means that someone printed hundreds of pages every week to have a physical copy of the important information that the business is required to retain for regular audits. For data that needed to be shared or was currently being worked on there was only the shared-drive being used. Unfortunately, it was a big mess. No one was assigned the responsibility of cleaning it out because no one really knew what all of the information was. This happens so easily when there is not a clear, uniform way of classifying information on the system as each employee adds new documents in. Our work with this company got us thinking, what are the big red flags that are raised, causing business owners to recognize the need for a system to manage their content, files, documents, and more? We dug in and realized that these four issues make a strong CASE for ECM.
Compliance: Regulatory Audits
The need to have quick and easy access to the right documentation is never more clear than when the auditor is standing in your office, is it? That is the truth for many companies in regulated industries, in particular. But, of course, all businesses should have some sort of system with checks and balances even if it is just for the basic record-keeping used for tax time. In highly-regulated industries, the burden is especially great to be able to produce specific documentation in order to show compliance with the various laws and statutes that govern the particular industry. Not being able to provide the necessary documentation within the time frame allowed can end up costing your company hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. If your business has ever had trouble locating a document or piece of information necessary to pass an audit, you need ECM.
Access: Ease & Efficiency
This leads to the second reason a company needs to consider instituting an ECM system, which is to create more ease of access allowing improved daily efficiency for employees. In the case of our new client, we saw that there were many different teams within the organization who all saved records and documents in a different way. When teams had cross-functional projects the members of the different teams would have to involve each other to gain access to the information they needed. This greatly delayed project completion and frustrated employees who wanted to get something done and off to another department. The ECM system we are implementing will attach metadata to the documents and files that allows for quick location by simple searches and solves this challenge of access by all team members. If your employees are waiting around for someone else to provide them with information or documentation, you need ECM.
Security: Disaster Preparedness
Security can be thought of in a number of different ways today, but for this client, there were two major disaster risks: 1) if the building caught on fire, all the physical paper documentation would be lost and 2) if their shared drive crashed all of the electronic documentation would be lost. They sorely needed a backup in case of disaster. If you have no contingency plan for your paper documentation in the case of disaster, electronic malfunction or theft, you need ECM.
Expense: Paper, Printing & People
One of the major problems with this client’s antiquated documentation process was the pure cost of printing. It is practically one person’s full time job to print the hundreds of pages a week needed when a document needs to prepared for the board members or approvers. This is a waste of so much paper, ink and manpower. While the implementation of ECM also has an expense, it is nothing in comparison to the actual and potential cost of the business simply maintaining status quo. Additionally, these current practices are seen as incredibly socially irresponsible in today’s environmentally conscious corporate world which can be a turn off to customers and employees alike. If your business is wasting money and manpower on a flawed documentation system, you need ECM.
We believe the importance of Compliance, Access, Security and Expense make a strong CASE for ECM in this particular client case, as well as many others. If you need help making the case to other stakeholders, let us know. We can do a quick analysis of your current processes and offer suggestions for improvement. Contact us here to get started.