Managing information used to be paper-based for many companies ingesting data and using manual workflows for various business processes. Today, I see more and more industries taking the steps to transform their business operations to be paperless and build greater efficiencies into their processes. It gives them 1) greater processing speed with automation and 2) greater value for the staff that does not have to do manual repetitive tasks. Many industries, however, are slow to take the first step in transforming their operations – and surprisingly, the financial sector is one of them.
According to research from Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends, the financial sector (banking and insurance) has a lot of document types needed for day-to-day business, and we can easily see how digitizing all these documents and building workflows could help their operations. According to Keypoint’s Analysis – Market and Vendor Insight for Financial Services, “They represent opportunities for enhancing customer satisfaction, increasing efficiency and lowering costs.”
While I have seen our consultants work with various companies to better direct their needs for getting documents and records into digital form and building out the workflows that they need for daily processing, it is often a challenge to demonstrate the value of going paperless. It seems like future-thinking organizations would look to utilize technology to not only benefit their organization but also to stay ahead of the competition. The Keypoint study cites financial and insurance as the industries that have “the most to gain from automating processes and reducing print volume” because they top the list of industries for the highest print volume. So the numbers represent an industry that needs to take a closer look at its operations and think about gains to reduce its reliance on paper. Every institution is different, however. Some are processing claims, applications or orders, but for others, just getting all their documents and records in digital form poses the first big challenge to conquer.
That is why I was pleased to see the highest adoption of technology in the study was the 57 percent of respondents investing in scanning and data capture. While the stat may seem low, relative to the subsequent steps – workflow, cloud, mobile and complete content management – it was the highest investment statistic. And, it should be the highest, as it is the first critical step to get your organization going toward achieving the paperless state.
I view the digital transformation roadmap as 1) scanning/data capture, 2) business process automation/workflow and 3) managed content, which would include line-of-business integrations. While using the cloud is best, some organizations are required to have on-premise deployment. And mobile – that is a no-brainer. If you are going to go paperless, give your employees all the digital device options to facilitate efficiency and accessibility to information – wherever they work. We see more and more organizations adopting the workplace of the future with technology, better managing their office environment, mobile workforce and home-based staff.
That said, the disappointing statistic in the Keypoint study is the 59 percent representing institutions that have not invested in a content management solution. Thus, the financial sector has a long way to go. Moving forward with a digital strategy not only helps operations but gives decision-makers more data and analytics to manage smarter, process faster and drive higher levels of customer satisfaction. Plus, with security and compliance requirements constantly looming in the financial industry, transforming their operations to be digitally based rather than paper-reliant gives them more ways to secure their data and allows them to be better able to manage compliance needs.
All data points to the need for the financial sector to take more tactical action in order to achieve their digital transformation initiatives. Not staying current with today’s trends or failing to anticipate what your competition is doing to be ahead of the curve can set your organization back. Help set the tone for your organization so that you are at the forefront and leading the way for others to follow.
Joanne Novak is a program manager at Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. and is responsible for program development with the company’s Business Intelligence groups, including the Intelligent Information Management (IIM) practice. Her responsibilities are to build sales and customer-facing educational and thought leadership insights as well as strategic initiatives for IIM.