Workflow Automation Software

Millennia Group Blog

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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Kicking off our 25th Year!

Let's Do ThisAs we kicked off our 25th year in business in September, Millennia Group did not wait around for the New Year to start anew. Here’s what’s new:

New Facility – We’re moving to a new facility on December 1st, 2020 with a configuration to maximize our security, efficiency and office flexibility.

New Employee – Welcome to Kevin Turner our new senior software developer.  He comes to Millennia Group with 11 years of experience at a national software solutions provider.

New Equipment – All new high-speed scanning equipment to help you convert those critical paper documents and plans/drawings to mobile friendly digital and a new IP phone system for even better customer support.

New Features – FileStar has new features and benefits (A/P workflow, new integrations, improved notifications and more.)

New Tools – FileStar Agent to keep your network drive in sync with your EDMS.  Call us to learn more.

What does this all mean for our customers and future customers?  It means we will be more efficient and more effective in providing our customers with workflow and document management solutions, document scanning services and data migration services. 

As we start our 25th year in business, we are as dedicated as ever to being the best service provider in the document management industry.  If your new flexible workplace rules have resulted in employees struggling to gain access to critical documents or your work processes have bogged down, contact us now!

Let’s talk X’s and O’s

Small businesses are always looking at ways to grow and prosper.  This is a ritual that is practiced regularly but more now than ever and it’s not limited to small businesses either.  But while owners and executives throw sh** at the wall, whiteboard ideas or put on our rally caps to generate that grand, economy saving solution, it’s important not to forget the X’s and O’s.  That means do the little things right so in the end the chances of winning (or surviving, depending on your perspective) improve.    

That is sound advice even if it is from the sporting world and not Wall Street.  So what are some of the little things your organization can be doing to increase its chances of winning?  Remember, its little things we are talking about, not “Increase Sales” or “Outsource Production”.  More like – does your CRM have the correct industry code for every client or do we have fraud controls in place for our wire transfers?  Let’s take some clues from those head coaches who at half time always say, “we need to do better at the X’s and the O’s.”

As an example of doing little things, we see the use of simple workflows increasing substantially.  A workflow to ensure that every outbound wire transfer goes through the proper authorizations and is recorded properly.  A workflow to help manage bad debt write-offs, which is unfortunately a hot topic at the moment.  How about a simple workflow to process journal entries, typically a manual process of email with supporting documentation attached.  Convert the old methods of doing these tasks with an automated and tracked digital workflow, its time.

How about gathering up all of your organizations vendor contracts, either the hardcopy or the digital version and ensuring you have the correct terms and notification periods recorded.  Yes, that is a basic vendor management system or contract management system.  This will ensure you don’t accidently auto-renew a contract with a less than stellar vendor for another year.  It might also help you realize you are missing the executed contract on many vendors, a compliance and potential cost issue.

What processes are in place at your organization that use a spreadsheet for a checklist?  Now is the time to convert that spreadsheet to an online checklist which is accessible to all vested parties and updated in real time.  Maybe then you can have the checklist programmatically notify you of missing items or upcoming critical dates.  This simple effort can save any organization lots of money and avoid potential missed opportunities or mistakes.

Lastly, take a poll of your remote workers and find out how to help them be more efficient from home or when working remotely.  Is it a better communication tool?  Is it a nicer chair?  Maybe there is information, like customer or order information, that was never converted to digital and hard to access.  Remote work is not going to stop the minute this pandemic is over.  It’s part of your organizations bag of tricks to have an efficient remote option for workers.  Yep, that is a little X’s and O’s talk. 

Millennia Group, since 1996, created and hosts FileStar, a workflow and document management solution and CollectDocs, an online checklist application.  For more information visit our website or contact us.