Overcoming the Document Disconnect with Process Audits

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Streamlining everyday activity seems like a no-brainer for improving efficiency and the bottom line. Yet, many companies are still bogged down with slow communication, inefficient processes, and a lack of oversight. What’s standing in their way? According to research from IDC and Adobe, it’s called the “document disconnect”— and no company is immune to it.

IDC’s study revealed that executives across 1,500 different sectors and lines-of-business, including sales, human resources, and procurement, estimated that resolving their inefficiency issues would generate 36 percent increased revenue, 30 percent lower costs, and a 23 percent reduction in compliance risks.

Of course, those are dream numbers. Estimates based on wishful thinking don’t really tell you how to deal with your optimization issues. That’s where process audit software comes in. Here are three ways that integrated, mobile process audits can help you get a little bit closer to optimal performance.

#1 No more silos

Over 80% of the executives who responded to the IDC study said most of their problems come from a lack of systems integration— meaning their disparate solutions don’t “talk” to each other— while 43% of workers say they often have to double enter or rekey information. According to the study, even basic information like signatures and date are an issue, and sometimes a document makes it all the way down the pipeline without essential data attached.

No matter the industry or the sort of clients you serve, controlling the flow of your operations across every platform and channel is an integral issue. You won’t achieve seamless interaction between your manual processes and a dozen different databases overnight, but you can start to close the gap with an auditing platform that boasts a robust, broadly-compatible API.

The ability to mold a platform to your specific needs and data models means you can easily and intuitively aggregate all your process information in one digital space. Kick off action plans, gather approvals, and capture data using a unified system that can “talk” to your existing solutions.

#2 One version of the truth

A study by Siemens revealed that companies with over a hundred employees waste 17 hours each week clarifying communications, which translates to roughly $528,443 in annual losses. However, according to research by McKinsey, when companies optimize communications with collaborative software, they can boost productivity by more than 25 percent.

Leveraging a cohesive platform to automate workflows, assign tasks, and convey standards can greatly reduce the amount of “crosstalk,” or miscommunication in your organization. You can build your logical workflows that trigger events, like action plans or follow-up tasks, based on conditions that you define across all your systems. Instead of waiting for approvals, signatures, and memos to “trickle down” through the enterprise, construct a network of automation that cuts through the static and straight to the meat of the matter.

#3 Data-driven decisions

Making decisions based on loosely-collected data isn’t likely to yield substantive results. That’s why you need to analyze the data you collect so you can put it to work. Without coherent analysis, you can’t tell whether new initiatives are driving positive change.

Take the story of Clorox’s Order to Cash initiative, for example. While upper-level execs believed the program to be a success, the analysis revealed that the process (despite its age) was actually not “mature” enough to recoup the cost of its many redesigns. These conclusions told Clorox executives that they needed to focus on improving the initiative’s main performers, their knowledge, and their behavior.

A good process audit asks the right questions to help you understand where to concentrate your energy. Using business intelligence tools to monitor trends over time will give you the top-level oversight to make real-time adjustments. Don’t bank your company’s process strategy on individual reports; instead, inform your decisionmaking with longitudinal data that offers scope and meaningful context.

Some final words

Some companies get by using paper, spreadsheets, or underperforming mobile apps, even though they tend to be inflexible and labor-intensive. Unfortunately for them, these solutions rarely meet all their needs, and they find out the hard way that one size doesn’t fit all. Ultimately, they end up hammering a square peg (their “solution”) into a round hole (an inappropriate use case), and they lose efficiency in the process.

Before you simply “make do” with your current configuration, think about how much time, money, and energy you could save just by auditing your processes for gaps in efficiency. Once you take a serious look at how to optimize your processes on a mobile process audit platform, you’ll see that operational excellence is the key to long-term profitability.

Alex Brown is a technical content writer, writing informative tech articles in different publications and content related to digital distribution, branding, IT, and more.

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