Debt Ceiling Strategy: Use ECM to Trim Your Agency

Agencies that implement an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system are typically losers-but in a good way! The whole reason to implement an ECM system is to lose the waste while gaining efficiency. Below are five things you can kiss goodbye when your ECM system comes online:

  1. Wasting Time: How much time does your current process cost you? Some studies have estimated that the time you waste searching for and organizing paper is up to 75%. In other words, if you have four people working on a paper process then with ECM you could redeploy 3 of those people to other projects. I recommend an ECM system that integrates with your business applications (such as an HRIS, ERP, CRM, or CMS) so that the content you store is in context with the business process.
  2. Wasting Space: What could you place on your desk instead of the piles of paper: a nice plant, your elbows, a picture of your Hawaiian getaway, a tower of precariously balanced paper-clips? What could you put in the space currently occupied by your filing cabinets: a potted tree, another office, a regulation dodgeball court? Paper is heavy, deceptively large, and a fire hazard. Digitize these records and then ship the hard copies to a warehouse or, if possible, destroy them. Who needs paper when the digital record is easier to find and far more secure?
  3. Wasting Trees: Once you are digitizing paper, it is a short path to keeping entire processes in the digital world and eliminating paper entirely. For example, in place of a form that must be faxed or mailed in you may choose to present a form online that remains digital from start to finish-an e-form. Some processes may require a fax machine on one end, but why do you need to use paper to receive the fax on your end? Receive the fax electronically in your ECM system and put it to work for you immediately with workflow notifications and automation.
  4. Wasting Taxpayer Dollars: Time is money, space is money, liability is a financial risk, and the list goes on. If your ECM system can help your agency be more efficient and less risky, then you can be better stewards of the taxpayer money entrusted to you. Is there a nobler goal in public service than that?
  5. The Need for Aspirin, Antacid, and Sleep-aids: Searching for files can be a headache, so implement an ECM system with full-text search ability, then integrate it with your other applications and keep that content only a click away. Intuitive ECM systems that automate your processes will cut down on upset stomachs and missed meals. Does the possibility of losing records or failing audits keep you up at night? An ECM system that is designed to be secure, easy to implement, and easy to use could be the miracle pill you are looking for.

We’re all being asked to cut back on many levels. Adding or replacing an ECM system may seem counter-intuitive here, but it may be the key to trimming the drains on your agency and THAT is how you lose with ECM. Come back and visit next week, when we will talk about how much you may gain with ECM!

Originally published at http://bit.ly/p2Veyz on July 14, 2011.

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