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Today’s businesses not only have to deal with an increasing flow of information, they also have to manage it via multiple channels and in multiple formats. However, businesses that cannot handle this effectively can end up wasting time and money on menial tasks. From repetitive data entry across multiple software, to non-automated tasks (such as adding attachments or merging documents) and the need for multiple people to intervene on a single document before it is sent. This means that organizations can end up squandering time that could be used more effectively to further develop their business.
Managing increasing levels of incoming and outgoing mail is an issue that is often overlooked by businesses – particularly smaller businesses. As companies grow in size, their network of business links expand, thus creating a sharp rise in the correspondence flowing in – and out – of the organization. Businesses that continue to use the same mail sorting methods as those used when the business was formed will begin to see their inboxes growing far more quickly than they can manage. Furthermore, as documents are becoming a lot more complex this will create even more challenges. Businesses now have to deal with managing data about data, for example, when an invoice is received they not only have to handle the document itself, but also all of the information about the document, such as who sent it, who received it, when it was sent and any Customer Relationship Management (CRM) records created to track interactions. All of this additional information needs to be managed.
In order to cope with this increasingly complex flow of documents, companies must integrate new technologies into their existing information management systems. Central processing systems that automate the flow of customer communications mean that important information is immediately sent to the right person, while any irrelevant information is sent to the recycle bin. This will ensure decision makers have all the data they need to make informed decisions. Additionally, such systems can stamp documents with a permanent traceable pathway. This means a document can be retrieved with the use of an advanced integrated search engine, and be electronically stamped, providing information on who it was retrieved from, the action it required and who it was then sent to. These benefits can help businesses save money and improve efficiency and profitability.
A problem is that many small businesses are still reluctant to incorporate new technology into their information management processing. Whether it is due to cost or complexity, a large number are choosing to stick to traditional methods. However, without the ability to immediately filter irrelevant information, decision makers are gorging themselves on unnecessary data. Indeed, these businesses need to realize that technology can and will help with each stage of their growth and they can no longer shy away from its importance in today’s business world. In fact, Gartner has predicted that by 2020 every company will be a ‘technology company’, emphasizing the huge influence technology does and will continue to have.
Ultimately, the over-consumption of information can cause decision making to become slow and inefficient. With many documents often needing manual intervention, a big problem for businesses is human error, which can have a big impact, not only on a company’s reputation, but also its bank balance. For many, the solution comes from centralizing and automating manual operations in a bid to reduce the risk of human error and facilitate reporting and management of these tasks. That way, businesses can have peace of mind that every document sent out, regardless of how, will be correct.
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