Is Your Document Management System Agile or Fragile?

document management

A leading magazine for accounting and organizational executives illustrates the barriers companies face when introducing new document processing procedures into their workflow.

Copy and Scan, But Show and Tell me First

The Economist recently surveyed thousands of workers about their experiences with document and information management systems.

The publication found that 80 percent of all workers who began using document management software and/or an in-house document services unit at their company resisted the new document management system so much that implementation of the new policies took years to catch on, essentially wiping out any supposed savings the company was to recoup by bringing their document work in-house.

The same statistic held whether or not the company simply installed document workflow software to replace an outside document management provider, in-sourced their document scanning and copying function or implemented a hybrid system that was dependent on both models.

Resistance by the Numbers

Percentage of American workers who said they resisted changes to their employers’ document management processes because they had little or no say in the process itself – 30 %. Percentage of American workers who said they resisted changes to their employer’s document management processes because the new system didn’t map out the way they thought it would, or the way it should be done – 28%.

The 411 on BPM

The survey sought to find out just how flexible employees are when it comes to accepting new business functions in an era of economic belt-tightening for public companies. Though the study didn’t account for general employee morale at these firms, nor the current corporate culture, it further proves that wholesale change in non-core functions within a company still needs to be managed with care, especially when it comes to how companies manage business-critical documents.

The report also puts a spin on a popular lean process program to illustrate how a company can improve its Document Agility. What once was generally known as Six Sigma process methodology among large public manufacturing companies is now re-coined Business Process Management (or BPM for short). In the context of document management, say the study’s authors, BPM can be improved simply by bringing more people into the loop before a wholesale change is made. The majority of workers who responded unfavorably to changes in the way their employers changed document management claim their resistance to accepting the new systems stem from a lack of knowledge about the process before it was ever brought into their collective buildings.

Is Your Document Management System Agile or Fragile?

Officials at Fijitsu, one of the leading manufacturers of document scanning equipment, contend that BPM is becoming the norm rather than the exception for American businesses that are more cost-conscious than ever. One of the chief characteristics of an Agile BPM system, claims Fijitsu and the study authors, is that Agile BPM must allow employees to change their internal document handling procedures on the fly so as to synch their procedures with market influences and customer need. The trouble with such a scenario is of course, most businesses don’t consider copying and scanning documents to be a core, revenue-generating process.

For companies that need to better manage their budget in an uncertain economy, outsourcing their copying, scanning and graphics work is more affordable than constantly monitoring and changing the way documents are handled internally.

Toner is Low. So is Employee Motivation.

Whereas once upon a time, companies either bought copying and scanning equipment to use inside their operations while adding more duplication equipment as necessary, now these companies find themselves locked into expensive equipment contracts or worse — using a document vendor that charges a premium for services that were otherwise free.


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