You learn it early on, already in childhood: order is half of life. Whoever thinks that is too stuffy, counters courageously with “the genius controls the chaos!” and blunders through. In business you don’t get very far with that. All the better if order can be automated.
Clear the daily chaos
There are people who have trouble with organizing their desks. Where should the letters go? How about processed transactions? Where is the bill? Whoever asks such questions several times a day should admit that he has a problem with order. What helps are rules. Rules like: always put the key in the same place; only leave notes on the wall; enter appointments into a calendar – and always sort all letters and bills into the right tray, best immediately after opening. Obviously: that’s not cool. But whoever has missed the bus for the third time in a week and checked in too late, whoever has had to repeatedly pay late fees or request an invoice twice begins to wonder whether coolness on the spot is rather overrated.
Company: Obliged to order
More dramatic consequences threaten companies that do not maintain order. They put their image at risk and are legally shaky. For in nearly every company every day unstructured information and documents encroach – via input channels such as e-mail, fax and post. They are sometimes more, sometimes less relevant or critical and at the very least heterogeneous in form: A delivery slip may be structured as an e-mail, which may contain anything from a product-specific question to an angry complaint. In addition, in the company there are constantly new documents and processes which cause the flow of information to swell. All of these operations need to be processed promptly – and a misfiled document threatens a laborious search or perhaps even legal consequences, especially if it is tax-related.
Rules are the alpha and omega
Unfortunately, the chances of occurring an error for manual feed in the right channels increases as volume of information grows. Moreover, manual sorting is expensive and time consuming. Therefore, ECM/DMS was invented. An enterprise content management system should be able to assign the contents of an email to a customer and the correct agent and initiate the editing process. It should be capable of identifying a delivery slip and ideally compare it with the order. It should organize all information in the company securely and make it searchable.
Just a minute. Why does this appear in the subjunctive mood? Because it is true: the practicality of defined rules always remains the key to successful use. Rules are the alpha and omega in daily storage. They must be defined specifically for the company and supported by appropriate processes. They must represent the actual processes in the company and be practical. They are as individual as the company itself. That is why project experience in introducing an ECM should not be an underestimated resource – and should always be considered when choosing a provider.