Technologies advance, business processes go electronic, and devices give us unprecedented mobility. And where does that leaves us? Using more paper than ever. How can we break free and really take advantage of technologies like e-statement presentment, digital delivery and medical banking that not only free us from paper but make businesses more efficient and less expensive to run?
The easier answer is that this is a generational issue. I once had an employer who used to have his secretary print his emails and fax them to him because he worked remotely. That kind of madness is certainly going away. But there remains a feeling that paper records are somehow more real that electronic ones.
We’re still using paper because we sign paper. I know you can do e‑signatures, but some states have different rules. As a society we have to not only get comfortable with digital, but get to the point where we’re willing to accept a digital record. We need to globally change our perspective on what constitutes a record, a legal record, an actual document. We have to get consumers to understand that a monthly investment company statement is just as secure – perhaps more secure – sitting in a digital mailbox than it is in the mailbox nailed to the front of your house.
This year’s Toys for Pizza Luncheon was a great example of the charitable work we do at Systemware and another opportunity for our employees to support an organization working to help young people dealing with sarcoma cancers.
Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer, took the life of young Anna Lee Basso in 2011. From that ordeal grew the 1 Million 4 Anna Foundation, which works to help find ways to defeat the disease and help those affected by it. Among its projects is Anna’s Closet, which provides small gifts and prizes to teens battling cancer at hospitals including Children’s Medical Center, where Anna was treated.
This year the 1 Million 4 Anna Foundation sponsored a visit to Dallas by Landon Cooper, who lost a friend to a sarcoma cancer. The ultra-runner earlier this year raised about $100,000 for the Sarcoma Foundation of America by leading an amazing run across the country, during which he visited children’s hospitals, doctors, cancer patients and survivors.
It seems so simple: Eliminate paper from business processes then sit back and watch productivity improve and costs decline while feeling good about what you’ve done for the planet. But AIIM tells us that “while 74 percent of survey respondents have business improvement campaigns underway that would benefit from paper-free processes through reduced operating costs and increased worker productivity, only 24 percent have a specific policy or plan to eliminate paper from their business.”
That disconnect likely helped lead AIIM to proclaim October 24th as World Paper Free Day. A World Paper Free webpage was accompanied by events and activities designed to highlight the available techniques and technologies. At Systemware, we’re invested in three technologies designed to reduce paper use while boosting efficiency across an enterprise.
The most obvious of the three is e-statement presentment. Whether it’s banks with statements, card companies with statements, or EOB statements, an electronic version means these organizations don’t have to print and mail. They don’t have to cut down the trees, make the paper and burn up the ink printing and mailing all that stuff. That’s big.
Just 16 Dallas-area companies have been listed among the Top 100 Places to Work in all five years the rankings have been published, and Systemware is proud to be among them.
This year’s lists published by The Dallas Morning News are based on surveys completed by 69,673 employees at 321 area companies. The employees were asked how true 19 statements were for their organizations. Top 100 Places to Work rankings were compiled for large, midsize and small companies.
In an article on the five-time winners, The News said, “… We have special regard for Systemware and 15 other companies that entered our first contest in 2009 and have made the Top 100 list every year since. So what possessed them to jump into untested waters with us? They believed they had something to show off and wanted to see if they were right.”
Systemware CEO Dan Basso was featured prominently in that story, and explained why we participated in those first rankings five years ago. “Each of us wishes American business would embrace our philosophy of putting the employee before the company, treating everyone with respect, having fun together, sharing in our mutual success and truly living the principle that customer relationships are vital to success.”
Frustrated with its paper-based reports management system, a premier luxury retailer turned to Systemware. Together we were able to improve the way the company captures, organizes, stores, and most importantly, accesses business critical reports: merchandising, inventory, credit, financial reports, and more. The result was a significant improvement in visibility into business performance and an enhanced ability to respond quickly to market dynamics.
When the relationship between our two companies began, the retailer was saddled with a paper-based reports management solution that was slow, expensive, and incredibly inefficient. Disparate sources resulted in discrepancies in information and an inability to make timely decisions. Manual processes delayed information sharing between departments. Inefficient access to detailed information was making it more difficult to address customer issues.
The company had struggled to find a reliable content management product that was easy to administer. We were able to give them:
Document management was a big topic of conversation around the Systemware booth at this week’s annual conference of the Association for Financial Professionals. Alan Beaney and I were there as more than 6,000 treasury and financial professionals gathered in Las Vegas for the 2013 AFP Annual Conference.
The questions we got about Systemware’s document management solution were familiar ones: Can you handle large volumes? Can you offer a high level of security even in off-site deployments? Can you capture information in different ways? Can you capture print streams and report data? The answers to all those questions is yes.
Our approach to document management not only helps corporations efficiently capture, organize, manage and deliver documents and content all within the context of the business, but it easily integrates with other applications so that organizations can manage and access all their information in one place.
It goes beyond traditional paper scanning to provide a complete foundation for collecting and retrieving all critical enterprise content. Once in the system, documents are indexed, stored and managed through their life cycle to final disposition.
Last of three parts
The recent report from the AIIM Executive Leadership Council concludes that when it comes to content and the cloud, “the forecast is decidedly cloudy.” But the AIIM Trendscape does include a number of recommendations that are useful for ECM providers and customers alike.
AIIM Trendscape: Content and the Cloud is based two meetings of the AIIM Executive Leadership Council (ELC), which included Systemware Vice President of Marketing Frankie Basso and Vice President of Development Pat Sheehan.
In Part 1 of this series, we looked at AIIM’s trendscape for cloud computing; and in Part 2 we reviewed the “trendscape context” section of the report. Now our discussion turns to its Recommendations for Action.
“The cloud is going to stay and it is going to change how we manage and deploy information,” the first recommendation reads. “The increased agility, scalability, and cost savings associated with the cloud mean that the cloud genie won’t go back in the bottle. Get used to it. The management issues associated with the cloud are not new; it is just a new media. At the same time, purchase behavior is entering an unsettled period — what people buy and how they buy it will change.”
“If you built it, they will come” works in the movies, but in real life, you have to demonstrate a demand and prove a business case. So it is with digital delivery, where industry leader Zumbox is working to make consumer demand for content delivered in new ways apparent to brands and prove to them the additional benefits of providing the service.
Zumbox’s Digital Postal Mail was launched six years ago as an alternative to U.S. Postal Service delivery of statements, bills, EOBs, policy notices and other consumer correspondence. Consumers are given access to a secure, dedicated electronic mailbox in which they can view and store their documents. Several competitors soon emerged. Last year, we introduced the Systemware Digital Delivery Gateway, which transforms, packages and delivers customer communications to consumers through digital mail providers.
Zumbox was the first provider to embrace the Gateway and invited Systemware to be represented on its Partner Advisory Board. I attended the most recent meeting of that group, held in Santa Monica, Calif., during which Zumbox officials talked about how they see the market and discussed their plans before asking for feedback.
The Gartner Symposium ITxpo is the world’s largest gathering of chief information officers and their top managers, and this year’s event in Orlando didn’t disappoint as the nearly 10,000 attendees crowded the show floor in search of new IT solutions. At the Systemware booth, many of the questions focused on the cloud, specifically security, performance and compliance of cloud-based solutions.
Systemware Content Cloud was created to serve the needs of our customers, many of whom are in compliant industries, who are interested in cloud-based architecture and the use of a hybrid or private cloud infrastructure. The ITxpo confirmed that interest in these solutions is increasing as CIOs and others become more and more comfortable with them.
As you might imagine, we were interested in the sessions on enterprise content management, collaboration, and file sharing and syncing. Gartner’s Mark Gilbert gave a presentation on “next-generation content management” that was especially noteworthy in that it explored how the ECM market is being impact by cloud, mobile and social trends. He discussed how organizations can leverage these development to drive business value. He also talked about how enterprises should evolve their ECM strategies to adapt to the changing landscape.
Second of three parts
The recent report from the AIIM Executive Leadership Council declares that, “We have entered Cloud Jabberwocky.” It says, “The byproduct of hundreds of corporate marketing hype machines spinning into action and positioning everything imaginable into ‘the cloud’ is a huge information gap in the executive suite.”
In Part 1 of this series, we looked at what AIIM calls the “trendscape” of cloud computing, those trends with which CIOs and others need to concern themselves over the next 18-24 months. In Part 2, we look at the “trendscape context” section of the report, which is based two meetings of the AIIM Executive Leadership Council (ELC). The ELC included Systemware Vice President of Marketing Frankie Basso and Vice President of Development Pat Sheehan. (Read the full report, AIIM Trendscape: Content and the Cloud).
“The collective experience of the senior executives in the ELC discussions is that senior executives are somewhat afraid of the cloud, but also extraordinarily eager to embrace it,” the report says. “And therein lies the challenge that we face moving forward.”
Central to that challenge, the report says, is “the growing set of hyperbolic expectations about the cloud and how to match those expectations with the short-term reality of actual implementation.” As we all know, there continues to be wide variety of definitions and assumptions about exactly what the cloud means. Secondly, organizations really need to think about what “critical business information” actually means in the era of social, mobile, and cloud computing.