Where the Money Lives Series, Part 3: Phase ‘Next’ Professional Services
In the previous ‘Where the Money Lives Article – Phase 1 Professional Services’, we focused on the basic premise that the start of any Document Management engagement needs to be fast, tight in scope and predictable for the client. Money is made through clear and well defined packaged services, whereby the client understands what they are getting, and the delivery team is well equipped to implement the base solution without technical obstacles.
Once you’ve successfully delivered the first phase, and documents are being managed within the organization, there are many other advancements you can offer your clients. By way of example, has anyone seen Microsoft Office 365’s current “Periodic Table” of features and functions? (for those with Office 365 accounts, just click on the 3x3 boxes in the top left corner to see all the options available to you. Here is the actual graphic Microsoft provides:
Yes! A huge amount of functionality that can support every company’s digital transformation. And this doesn’t even get into the ‘deeper’ Document Management features such as workflow, business intelligence, electronic forms, extranet portals and records management. BUT…all of this great stuff requires an experienced skill set to design, configure and deploy the functionality into the business. And that’s where you, the purveyor of Document Management solutions, come in. The base you’ve successfully established in Phase 1 of your implementation can now be built upon, as your clients will be ready.
There are so many “Phase Next” projects to consider, but to make my point, I’ll list a few of the most common bell ringers here…just know there are many others as well.
- Business Process Improvement: It’s amazing how inefficiency shows itself once you’ve organized the documents! Once companies have their documents under control, they usually start looking for process efficiencies (or said differently, they usually start spotting incredible inefficiencies). This is a fantastic opportunity for a Business Analyst to work with the client to identify workflow and electronic form automation opportunities. So many routine, low value-add tasks can be automated, allowing people to focus on the exceptions and knowledge-based work real people are required to address. You’ll find that the budgets for this type of work are often more liberal, simply because the savings are far easier to measure. You can’t do this work before you get the documents organized, but once you have, the opportunities are plentiful.
- Business Intelligence / Reporting: Industry Analysts tell us at least 70% of a company’s information is contained in documents/unstructured content. Once you’ve attached meta-data (Tags) to a company’s documents, you have the ability to show them what’s going on with them. The ability to query information is something most companies are investing heavily in these days (though the focus is often only on data systems). Now you can show your clients what’s going on with the other 70% of their business information! What a fantastic opportunity for your clients and for your professional services team!
- System Integration: Bringing data systems and document systems together provides the full story on any business topic. Traditionally seeing the whole picture has meant going to 5-10 different places to gather all the information about a topic. That meant a lot of licenses, product knowledge and effort for each individual committed enough to bother gathering everything together. Creating portals and other ways to pull related documents and data together is a huge value for your clients – they’ll not only thank you for it, they’ll pay you for it!
- Electronic Forms: Paper is for ‘I Love You’ notes to your partner and books on the beach. Business operations are slowed by paper and we all know it. Once you establish your Document Management base, it’s likely your clients will start pushing you to convert their paper forms into electronic forms. You will profit from their desire to wring paper out of their business. (Yes, I agree, we won’t see a paperless office for a long time, but paper forms are low hanging fruit that everyone will be keen to get rid of…you’ll see).
All of this stuff is so exciting isn’t it? Phase Next work is often where the whole Document Management solution ROI is quantified. While there will be a ‘pull’ to bring this work into Phase 1, I urge extreme caution in doing so. Establishing basic organization of the documents, as well as respecting the change of work habits that needs to occur in Phase 1 is critical to successfully moving a company forward. This is a journey, not an event. Document Management systems will change the way a company works. Your job as a Solution Provider is to guide your clients forward in a logical and attainable manner. Throwing too much into any phase, let alone the first phase, will result in a system that no one uses. Respect the steps required to effect change. Get organized first, then look for Phase Next opportunities. Done properly, you’ll field phone calls from your clients asking for more automation, integration and insight into their information. And that’s where the money lives!