Simplifying Document-Intensive Tasks with Workflow Management
By Anthony G. Dupree, CISM CIO/CISO, Novitex Enterprise Solutions
Coordinating Tasks with Workflow Management
In the simplest terms, Workflow Management is the coordination and progression of tasks, from initiation to completion, through a set of rules. In our industry—document outsourcing—we manage our clients’ document-intensive workflows, such as claims, application and loan processing. In today’s business environment, our clients are challenged with managing the abundance of multichannel communications flowing in and out of their organization, breaking down operational silos, supporting compliance and safeguarding their data. Technology alone cannot solve these workflow-related pain points. CIOs must work across departments to ensure that the right processes are in place and are supported by the right tools.
“Technology alone cannot solve these workflow-related pain points”
Standardizing Workflow with the Latest Technologies For customers operating in highly regulated industries, standardizing processes is a no-brainer. Without standardization, the probability of non-compliance or security gaps increases drastically. A more compelling option, though, is automating standard processes to remove manual, error-prone tasks. Processes that benefit most from a managed, automated workflow are those that require hand-offs and high process integrity.
Developing a managed, automated workflow can be complex and requires a range of resources. A business process can be difficult to define and reengineer, and you can run into problems when you attempt to integrate technology with minimal knowledge of the workflow. If you do not define and improve the workflow, the technology you invest in will not drive your intended results.
I advise clients to really ask themselves if their team has the needed technology and workflow experience to implement the project at hand. If it is a non-core project, the answer tends to be “no” more often than not. My advice for when you answer with a “no” is to bring in the experts. Take the guess work out.
There is an increasing amount of avenues to connect to the Internet, which means that cyber criminals have more ways to access information. Many users are not fully cognizant of all of the connected devices that can pose a security threat. A great example of this is the postage machine sitting on the production floor. This device is a connected device, and if it is not secure, hackers can easily access your network and data. When implementing a workflow solution, it is critical to evaluate all devices and technology being leveraged from a security perspective.
Sifting Data with Information Governance
With approximately 90 percent of information being generated in the past two years, the management of information can easily drain your resources. If managed appropriately, your data can be an asset. The question becomes “how do you sift out the clutter?” The answer is having a strategic Information Governance (IG) program that leverages the right technology, processes and policies. IG provides an enterprise-wide framework for managing information throughout the entire document life cycle. A successful program will support your organization's objectives, decision making and legal requirements. When developing an IG program, it is critical that you be honest about the maturity of your current state. If your program is in its infancy, your organization may not be ready for the most advanced technology.
Utilizing Resources Wisely
With the interconnectedness of workflows, businesses are starting to look for true, end-to-end solutions that break down operational silos between departments. When you implement a new solution, you need to invest in scalable, secure technology that can easily be integrated with your existing and future technologies.
Utilize your resources wisely. This relates to my earlier point of hiring outside experts when your team does not have the right skill set to implement a workflow solution, or if a project is not core to your growth objectives. Use your talent to move your business forward.