Workflow Automation Software

Millennia Group Blog

Blockchain vs Digital Signatures

via Flickr, Jon PhillipsBitcoin continues to make news and inroads into the world of finance.  Two of the basic technologies that drive Bitcoin include blockchain and peer to peer computing.  These two concepts are relatively understandable.  Blockchain uses a distributed ledger, which is essentially a list that is shared across many computers (peer to peer).  Because many computers contain a time-stamped replica of the data, it is very difficult, and expensive to hack or change the data in a fraudulent way – and its encrypted.

These concepts are moving into other areas such as smart contracts.  However, these contracts are not documents as that term is generally understood.  The smart contract is essentially a perfectly known set of conditions and data, that when met, results in a payment or action.  The contract is essentially data points; house address, meter number…

Active vs Final – Revisited

Via Flickr - Martin HostThe good thing about this blog is that I don’t really need to have answers.  That is especially good since I am re-visiting the discussion about working documents versus final documents.  It comes up in most every discussion about effective document management – how do I have one system that provides the functionality that I need for both working documents and final documents.

Recall from our earlier post about how creators of working documents tend to like fast and simple – a system where the user can create any collection of folders and subfolders to suit their needs and drag and drop files at will.  A user of final documents requires structure and certainty because having quick access to the right documents gets the job done.  However, at some point the documents in that web…

The Next Big Thing

Via Flickr - Christian SchnettelkerI participated in a webinar recently sponsored by Realcomm, an organization devoted to the advancement of technology for the commercial real estate industry.  It was about the future and hype verses reality.  My contribution was squarely on the reality side as I described how our real estate clients gain efficiency by using workflow to automate document oriented business processes. 

You might think, “do we still have documents?”  The answer in my world and the foreseeable world of our Fortune 5000 clients is, Yes.  Documents may not be in paper form any longer, but documents of some type (spreadsheet, PDF contract, etc.), are the support for data and todays decisions.  But to see the future, the next big thing, you need to believe in the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR).

There…

Keeping it simple is not always the answer

via FlickrRecently we helped a client convert a small amount of paper documents related to a one time transaction into PDFs.  The PDFs would simply be in a folder and viewed or emailed as needed.  To keep it simple the files could be named in a structured format, ie. “ABCCo-Contract-060116-Brazil-Engine-D-JF.pdf”.  Most of that short hand is clear except the “D” is for diesel engines and that the Sales Rep was John Franklin?  Seemed simple enough and so we proceeded based on the clients requirements. 

In this case, the volume of documents was small, but the documents had a significant amount of descriptive information that could be captured. Each piece of information could be captured in a document management system database and ready for user searches. For example, find all contracts for Brazil or all diesel engine contracts.  So…

Make my day – delete those records

via Jay Gorman from FlickrRecords retention and records management are very important principles in dealing with corporate information.  Records management being the overall guide book for employees on to how to store and classify information.  It is also about proper management of that information including legal holds (don’t destroy if litigation is in process), access to information and records retention.

Records retention is basically an information destruction plan based on business or legal requirements.  A business doesn’t necessarily want the burden of securing confidential, but outdated information for ever – ie. former patient records.  Creating a records management policy and records retention schedule requires a lot of effort and yet the actual deletion of records is a very difficult step to take. Here are some thoughts on how to feel better about pulling the trigger.

First, you need to get comfortable…

Clutter of a different kind

Via Sean MacEntee on FlickrThe existence of duplicate documents and files is commonplace in companies of all sizes.  There is the email with a document attachment that was sent to five people, each of whom downloaded the file.  There is a file on someone’s desktop that they copied from the network.  There is a copy in the cloud.  You get the picture and you probably live this picture daily.

What can prevent this from happening?  Does it really even matter?  Companies seem to be surviving just fine, so what would be the cost benefit for an actual solution?  Unless your company is a company of one, you will likely not find a perfect solution, but a combination of tactics will lower the frustration.  And yes, it does matter and it will be worth it.

Companies can use de-duplication tools, send out…

Think Smaller, Deeper and Wider

Via Ed Uthman at Flickr.comThese words, Better, Faster, Cheaper, are heard often during many corporate sales efforts – “our product will help you do that Better, Faster and Cheaper.”  Everyone especially likes to purchase software that makes a process, Better, Faster and Cheaper.  The key to achieving that promised success is know what the process is – really know and understand it.

There are plenty of examples where very complex software solutions were created that replicated an existing paper or manual process.  The problem was that the process wasn’t fully understood and not very efficient in the first place so you have an application that may not be Faster, Better or Cheaper.  You need to change the way you think when designing a workflow.

Breaking down a process step by step and understanding the rationale for each step is important, but…

Collaboration – Group Chat vs Workflow

By Ron Mader via FlickrThe past five or so years have been filled with plenty of talk about and some success in the area of collaboration.  Collaboration being defined as multiple people fully engaged and involved in a single work effort.  The end goal of any collaboration is that the combined effort produces superior results, ie. a better decision, a better product, a better presentation.

Much of the success in the field of collaboration has come in the area of communication, such as messaging applications like Slack or AIM.  These applications improve the communication and are instant and flexible including group chats.  Other areas of collaboration, like co-creating documents, such as a live spreadsheet or text document, have not been adopted as quickly.  But this form of collaboration has historically been linear, passing from person to person.  So can the…

How to prevent that sinking feeling

via Flickr - Judith E BellIn an old paper based world, notification of new information meant extra copies of the document were placed on the desks of teammates.  Otherwise, it required a hunch and a trip to the file cabinet or the random perusing of co-worker’s desks.  In fact, it was probably not known that something new was available until it was a surprise – learned from a customer or worse yet, from the boss who somehow knew the facts.

Today, documents are digital and some might think that has solved all the problems.  Not exactly, not even close.  The only problem that has been solved is now there are less paper copies distributed.  Information, including documents, can still go undetected and unknown.  Surprises still happen and decisions based on incomplete information are still made, but it doesn’t have to…

Vision Influences the Purchase Decision

Speaking strictly from the standpoint of workflow and document management, there are factors that support a purchase and issues that can lead to a “Don’t Need it” response. via Flickr, Jase Lam Ifyou can’t determine need, then cost, as a factor, is irrelevant.  If there is need, it is clear that cost impacts the decision and the expected return must outweigh the cost.  It is a fairly simple concept but establishing need is not so simple.

How can you uncover the factors that determine need and create opportunities in the buyer’s mind?  This is where the technology really must shine.  There has to be enough Wow factor to override the fear of change, the expected implementation effort or simple doubt.  But is it really Wow that makes someone think they need a solution or is it something subtle that sparks a…