Workflow Automation Software

Millennia Group Blog

Don’t Let Complexity make you Complacent

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With all the complexities in the world, how do you determine what to focus on in 2022?  HR and employee issues concerning remote work and wellness?  Office or retail space utilization?  Supply chain issues?  Inflation and pandemics?  World events that could cause disruption?  Blockchain, artificial intelligence, green energy and on and on?  And don’t forget the needs of your customers.

What’s needed is a simple How To Guide to manage this overwhelming challenge to your resources.  There is an old saying paraphrased as “don’t build a house on sand”.  In other words, use your resources to build a solid foundation.  Then you will have the ability to manage a myriad of risks and harness amazing opportunities when they come.  Here are four tasks to help your company Succeed in 2022 and Beyond.

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Report v Workflow

Two weeks ago I attended the Realcomm IBCON Real Estate Technology Show that was held in Scottsdale and it was very well done given the Covid restrictions.  There were many vendors with fantastic solutions for everything from monitoring building systems to managing the due diligence process.  Based on my observations, all of the vendor offerings had a dashboard and very nice reports to help users digest the wealth of information these solutions gather and provide.   

This week I had a good conversation with a colleague about a potential need for workflow.  As I listened to the concept it occurred to me that part of what was needed was reporting, maybe even a dashboard.  However, part of the need would definitely also benefit greatly from workflow.  So what’s the difference between reporting and workflow and what scenario would lead to a preference for one over the other?

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Risk – Identify, Calculate, Assume, Navigate

Business is full of risk and yes, I CAN live with it.  In fact, having a risk management approach to your business can be hugely beneficial.  Once you have identified the risk and calculated the amount of risk, you can either assume or avoid the risk.  If you assume the risk, then it is imperative to navigate or manage that risk.

Most businesses manage a variety of risks usually around customer, vendor, market or government.  Lately that has expanded to include environmental and social media risk.  It turns out that beyond being excellent tools for improving efficiency and enabling remote work, document management and workflow are risk management tools as well.  Here are some thoughts on how the two work together and how these tools will help you Identify, Calculate, Assume and Navigate the risks to your benefit.

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Wow that’s messy

How can artificial intelligence (“AI”) help you?  Cleaning out the garage or basement?  Reorganizing your closet?  Organizing your family photographs?  Some readers are experiencing anxiety just reading those words much less actually trying to complete those tasks.  But AI is not going to help in those scenarios.

Here’s another anxiety generator – reorganizing and cleaning out your company file server.  Imagine how good that would feel, especially if AI did it all.  Sorry, but that is not likely to happen either.  At least not on its own.  But you if you want to achieve the significant benefits of well organized, accessible information, here are some tips for such a large, complex project.

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Magic and madness

How can it be that there is both magic and madness when it comes to implementing workflow?  The magic is when you experience the efficiency of a successfully completed process – the approved budget, the signed contract, the approved scholarship.  The madness is getting to that point.

Getting a digital workflow process designed and implemented is fun for people like me who love the challenge of figuring it all out.  But it can be complete madness for others as they work to define the real process and consider options made available by the technology.  If you want the magic and to avoid the madness as much as possible, follow these steps.

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A record of the truth

What’s the core record for your business?  The order, contract, application, evaluation, presentation and subscription all come to mind.  It doesn’t matter if your business sells cars, office space, ideas or medical services, there is a necessary recording of the transaction and end product to the transaction. 

The progression over the past 30+ years has been to devise ways to make the recording, tracking and documentation of your business as streamlined as possible.  That entailed digitizing that path.  But digital data isn’t always what it seems and therefore the support for the transaction is still a key component of every business.  What is your key Record?

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Is this the real end of paper?

The paperless office concept has been talked about for years.  In fact, at least for all of the 25 years that Millennia Group has been in business with that as our focus.  But, here we are and our facility is full of boxes of paper documents that our clients want scanned.  And more boxes arrived today.

But now the concept is no office, not just no paper.  So if there isn’t an office, that pretty much means no paper, right?  What else does it mean?

There is scanning work to be done.  If there was an office and now there will be no office, then any legacy paper files will need to be scanned.  This is achievable with either internal or external resources.  Scan, verify and then destroy the original paper documents.  Unless those paper documents happen to be negotiable securities or documents that are legally required to be in paper form.  Keep those somewhere safe.  This effort is probably long overdue anyway.

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Connected to Compliance

As we roll out compliance workflow I am reminded how information technology (“IT”) is so tightly connected to the concept of compliance.  Information, as in vulnerability reports, access requests, firewall logs, hiring statistics and much more, is the key component for compliance.  Technology, as in firewalls and workflow, is both the end purpose and solution.  You know the headlines, data breaches, ESG issues, government regulations, these are all issues that require corporate compliance measures.

Compliance is basically setting up policies and procedures that ensure best practices for corporate security, effectiveness, goals, etc. and then auditing the adherence to those policies and procedures so that risks can be avoided.  The best solution to minimize the deviation from the policies and procedures and to lessen the burden of audits, is to use technology to track the process of gathering, reviewing and approving the information.  Wow, that sounds like a great fit for a technology solution, workflow. 

Human Process Augmentation – I’m not scared

Robotic Process Automation.  The description is a little deceiving based on how it is used.  Generally, people think Robot and they think mechanical apparatus, computer brain, a bit scary.  However, the current use of that description is more broad and is also used to describe software based workflow solutions.

With or without a mechanical or physical component, it seems that a better description might be Human Process Augmentation (“HPA”).  Or at least it seems that if software is the apparatus, it is just augmenting the human process.  You could say that using digital signatures is HPA.  You no longer need to pick up a pen and send out an overnight package.  You’re no scaredy cat.

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Yep we need that

You or your co-workers have been away from the office for a long time now. What are you missing? That is not a question about certain people or favorite lunch spots. It’s a question about information. Has this experience exposed deficiencies or nurtured already advancing digital processes?

Some companies are finding that there were still some hard copy documents that they needed access to.  Maybe it was just random documents that were slow to enter the digital realm.  These are the documents that come in to certain people directly, but take a long time to become digital and accessbile to all.  Maybe it is a certain type of document like drawings or archived customer files that have been more difficult or costly to convert.  It may be time to re-evaluate the cost benefit of getting those documents scanned or implementing a centralized digital mail room.

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