Dematerialisation and document collaboration
Letters, contracts, invitations, invoices, advertising—an avalanche of paper documents that need to be managed according to their importance, the legal requirements, the approval workflow, the distribution list and also the time it takes to archive them.
In the last few decades IT has put a lot of effort into structuring data to better manage processes. Many companies improve their processes using Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Master Data Management (MDM) or whatever other software can manage unstructured data. But the processes supporting the production of structured data also generate a lot of unstructured data exchanges such as emails, photos, videos, letters, claims, phone calls, etc. IT efforts have also changed to better manage unstructured data, but this has often happened separately from changes in the above process-driven software. Analysts estimate that 90% of data produced is unstructured. Reconciling the worlds of both structured and unstructured data is the next IT challenge. Using workflows, the data content of both structured and unstructured data can be mutually enriched.
Today, business transformation can be achieved by giving content, and the interactions this content enables, a bigger and more central role. Although our data exchanges are becoming increasingly electronic, the entry of paper documents is still one of the main starting points within an organisation. Switching from a paper document flow to an electronic document flow is where dematerialisation starts, though paper documentation will probably never disappear. Everybody speaks about dematerialisation but how can it be achieved? What are the impacts? What should be taken into consideration?
Let’s focus our attention on the different aspects that would be considered important when designing or re-designing an electronic document flow. This includes physical organisation, legally compliant paper archiving governance and process flows as well as the IT organisation surrounding it all.
Inside magazine issue 6, October 2014
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