December 17, 2013 by Tom Zeliff Categories: Document Management

An Inc. magazine article, “How to Automate Your Business for Fast Growth,” features an 8-step plan on how businesses large and small can introduce and implement automation. As a document management solution provider, we’ve adapted these eight steps to show how you can automate business processes with document management and workflow automation software:

  1. Automate the easiest processes first: for many businesses, the process inflicting the most paper pain is either accounts payable or human resources. Processing paper and manually obtaining approvals is not a value-adding activity and can be streamlined with document scanning services and workflow automation software
  2. Build a culture that embraces automation: automating invoice processing can help turn accounts payable from a cost center into a strategic partner ; automating HR onboarding can get new employees trained and producing faster and help meet regulatory guidelines
  3. Start small and focus on one business function: accounts payable is often where businesses first implement document management and workflow automation; the same system can then be seamlessly leveraged for you in HR, accounts receivable, shipping/receiving, engineering, and legal
  4. Automate the process away: automating a process inevitably “collapses” it as document management and workflow automation technologies allow a business to not only execute the current process faster but also to cut out steps or “re-engineer” the process for additional efficiency gains
  5. Create an automation service bureau: having a member or two of your team that is in charge of monitoring and documenting internal workflow processes will likely more than pay for itself
  6. Build a history: by keeping track of the processes you automate, employees re-purposed, time cut out of the process, and ROI, it will be easier to justify future automation projects
  7. Learn from the leaders: document management and workflow automation has been around for a while so you’ll want to leverage the expertise and efficiency of a document management provider rather than going it alone. This can also dramatically reduce the risk of a failed automation project
  8. Pick a technology partner: look for a document management provider that works within your industry, has experience with your type of documents, has a secure facility (if outsourcing document scanning), and one that has strong reference clients for you to contact

By following these business process automation steps, your business can encounter dramatic cost savings and productivity gains, particularly within cost centers. Automate 2-3 processes and you just may find yourself becoming a leader in your industry with multiple competitive advantages. Just remember to start simple.