What can Jack Bauer teach us about business productivity?

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business productivity with Jack BauerIf you are a die-hard 24 fan (we are), then you have already seen the premier of “24: Live Another Day” and have been talking about it non-stop (we have). If not, now is the time to watch the previous eight seasons and get caught up. The truth is, we all have something to learn about business productivity from Jack.

No one is more productive than Jack Bauer. And the reason is simple. He is always connected to the information he needs, where and when he needs it. Whether he’s triangulating terrorist cells, downloading CIA briefs or viewing bomb schematics, Jack has instant access to the technology, documents and data he needs to make informed decisions.  Wouldn’t it be great if all businesses operated as efficiently?

When information is automated between departments, technologies and platforms, the result is a streamlined system that alleviates the need for manual data entry, error correction and human intervention. Information is current and available to all – across departments, physical locations and teams – simultaneously. Think of it as the CIA, FBI, CTU (Counter Terrorism for those non-24 fans) and Homeland Security all having access to the same critical information, simultaneously, across the globe. Think of the efficiency. The time savings. The things that could be accomplished.

Now think of your business. Can you have that business agility across your enterprise? Can you have Bauer’s arsenal of data at your fingertips?

You can. Speed, flexibility, on-demand service and availability are the goals of Business Process Automation (BPA) and are the keys to real business agility. When you implement automation across your business you not only improve communication and transparency, you can also achieve significant cost savings, improve customer support, and streamline sales and fulfillment cycles.

Many businesses – from manufacturing to healthcare, insurance to automotive – have trouble managing the sheer volume of documents and data across departments, in a cost-efficient, clear, concise and easy to locate manner.

“Enterprises that can harness and prioritize multiple collaboration platforms to increase productivity, enhance collaboration and connect with external stakeholders will reap valuable benefits from their relatively modest investments.”
PricewaterhouseCoopers

Take manufacturing for example. From order placement through manufacturing, shipping, accounts payable and receivable processes, each piece of documentation, including any changes to the order, are manually logged in and filed, creating an enormous paper trail. Companies can spend over $15,000 on paper alone per year.  

Many businesses also have issues streamlining data flow between departments. Having to manually enter data into an AP or customer order system more than once, wait for approvals, and photo copy forms for file cabinets is not Jack Bauer-like. At all. Without a system in place, you’re likely mired in workflow inefficiencies and need to reduce paperwork, respond to customer and vendor inquiries in a timelier manner, and process orders and invoices quickly, with accuracy.

To address these cross-departmental issues, businesses are implementing document management software into their existing BPA workflow. This gives companies the ability to scan, store and retrieve documents at any time, across departments and can create dramatic improvements to workflow.  These improved efficiencies across departments can help businesses not only with data accuracy, but can also help with improved customer service and financial oversight. Every facet of business hinges on productive document-based workflows.

Take manufacturing in a Jack Bauer world. Any issues, changes or status of an order – from initial order placement, through shipment of the final product – can be made in one single place, thus saving time and decreasing the incidence of human error.  Document management software with accounts payable automation can create even more efficiencies. For example, a document can be electronically routed to the A/P department and then to the general manager for approval. The GM receives an alert, reviews the documents, makes any notes and approves the invoice. The approved invoice is automatically routed back to accounts payable for payment.  Think of the time saved. Now, an invoice can be processed in as little as 4 minutes and can be reviewed and approved, or declined from anywhere in the world.

Now that sounds more like Jack Bauer efficiency. That’s real business agility.

So what exactly is the Document Management Software ROI in real dollars?

Clear and concise communication between all aspects of business can mean an annual savings of over $25,000 per year. The 5 year cost savings = $140,000. Read the Case Study here.

When stakeholders across an enterprise have access to the same information, research, documents and financials at their fingertips, cross-departmental inefficiencies become a thing of the past. By focusing on processes that involve numerous approvals and documents across your business, you can start a checklist of how to increase timeliness and accuracy, and get started on a solution. The clock is ticking….

Ready to learn more? Download our free whitepaper, Document Management Software ROI: The Case for Electronic Document Management.