What is every corporation’s fondest wish for their team members? It has to be for each of them to be as productive and efficient as possible to create an atmosphere of success. This is challenging, but I believe this is something corporate America must consciously strive for each day.
To help make this dream a reality we are finding that the well-defined workflow and automation within a company contributes greatly to the outcome and measurement of efficiency and productivity. There are four contributors to workflow and automation that are technology based and have proven to advance each of these goals.
1. Enterprise Mobility
We see the team members using smartphones, tablets, and applications at an increased rate, and BYOD (bring your own device) has now become standard, to facilitate access to information from anywhere, at anytime. The degree of mobility that we have reached has hit a plateau of adoption, but also created a need for companies to develop a mobility strategy as well as a document and information management strategy.
2. Internet of Things
The internet of things has allowed workers to not only be connected but also look beyond their corporate software to find applications that have increased their ability to perform their duties. Although at first glance this appears to be a positive impact on performance, it can also present a threat to security, requiring that companies adopt an information security strategy. For example, team members choosing to use an electronic document software application that falls outside the company’s network could put the organization at risk.
3. Cloud Computing
Cloud Computing permits more information to be stored and retrieved by team members from anywhere at anytime. The initial impact has increased the ability for team members to obtain vital information as well as collaborate on projects. These two factors alone have greatly improved the workflow process and helps bring projects to closure much faster. The concern here is that with increased access to information that data must be secured and protected from intrusion and hacking. Documents kept in free public storage drives could put your organization at risk. It’s a company’s responsibility to ensure information is secure.
4. Big Data
Big Data which is related to the vast amount of information that we are able to obtain and how we are able to use this data. With Big Data, companies are better equipped to perform their work in a streamlined manner. Today we are exposed to detailed information that allow us to analyze, capture, search, share, store, and transfer that information at a click of a mouse. Along with this enhancement to our workflow also comes great responsibility and need for security. For example, companies may monitor and manage all printer fleets by analyzing actual usage details from page counts, page coverage and color/black and white ink usage to ensure they are paying the most efficient amount for their printing.
These four contributors are making a profound impact on workflow efficiency and productivity, but as mentioned, with all these contributors comes risk and responsibility.
The advent of the digital age created a complete change for the office equipment industry. Up until the digital era it was not uncommon to find an office work area that included multiple analog devices that worked independent of the network. As the roll out of digital products became available companies began to acquire separate copiers, facsimiles, scanners, and printers. This transition of new digital products began to open up the opportunity for the network to become the hub for all devices.
Products could now be connected to the network and all devices became integrated and were no longer just single function. At the same time this transition was taking place, manufacturers began to produce devices that were termed all-in-one or Multi-Functional Devices (MFD). These MFDs allow the office user to have one machine that would copy, print, scan, and fax. This increased efficiency, reduced costs, and most importantly took less space.
Since the network was considered the hub, it was easy to see how with these devices now connected, other efficiencies became possible. These MFDs now became more than just an output device but also became the on ramp for the network. The end user in addition to copying and printing could now began to scan hardcopy files and transmit them through the network. This ability also increased the need for digital information management and a system to file, sort, and locate these digital documents.
With the total integration of products, the ability to move documents around the network, and software to manage the digital documents, we have seen business processes and workflow become very efficient. Today’s office is experiencing less of a need to rely on hard copy output but more on digital output. There has also been a shift to move documents to the Cloud which provides increased security and the ability to collaborate on projects. All of this would not be possible if it were not for digital. Evaluate the use of the MFDs in your office. Are these MFDs being used as ramps to productivity and efficiency in the digital age or still only output devices.
Hunter McCarty – COO
Business owners — and homeowners alike — are advised to purchase insurance against the possibility of loss or damage of physical property as the result of fire, flooding, a tornado, a hurricane, or other act of Mother Nature and even liability insurance to provide protection from potential legal threats. However, most do not insure the most business crucial part of their business — their data.
In addition to insuring physical property and liability risks, it pays to take the necessary steps required to ensure the safety of — and ready access to — financial information, customer information and other data necessary to running your business through effective data back up systems.
Today, data back up systems are simple, automatic and cost-effective for small and medium size businesses (SEE BLOG POST “LOST DOLLARS.”). Whereas, the cost of not having a back up system in place can be astounding or even devastating:
- 94% of companies suffering from catastrophic data loss do not survive. 43% never reopen and 51% close within 2 years. (University of Texas)
- 70% of small companies (fewer than 100 employees) that experience major data loss go out of business within a year. (DTI/Price Waterhouse Coopers)
- 30% of all businesses that have a major fire go out of business within a year and 70% fail within 5 years. (Home Office Computing Magazine)
The stats are scary, but really unnecessary given the accessibility of back up systems to businesses of all sizes. Don’t be in the 94% of businesses that would not survive—investments in reliable data back up systems are some of the most critical and frequently used “insurance policies” you could acquire as a business owner.
Brantley Pearce – Director of IT Services
Brantley leads a team of IT professionals whose primary goal is to help organizations use their IT resources in a way that helps them proactively maintain their network and allows them to be more productive. He joined RJ Young in 2005 but has been in the IT industry for almost a decade. Brantley is originally from Houston, Texas and works out of our Nashville, TN office. In his spare time he volunteers for multiple organizations. Brantley is married and has two daughters.
Disasters can take many forms when it comes to unforeseen actions that can be devastating to any business. You never think it will happen to you and that it is always the other guy or company. In March of 1998 the RJ Young Company experienced a disaster first hand that created a real “March madness”. The building that housed the corporate offices sustained damage from a fire that started in a print shop that was renting the back portion of the facility.
The damage was mostly smoke and water as the alarm system in the corporate office alerted the fire department and they were quick to act to minimize the damage. After evaluating the damage it was determined that the building would need to be gutted and rebuilt which would take about a year to complete. Employees were relocated to other facilities so as to maintain a seamless approach to our customers.
The fortunate thing was that the computer system and critical data files were saved and the information needed to continue business as usual was secure. We were lucky in that preparations had been made, through the technology available at the time, to maintain digital files and backups. This prevented any major interruptions in services and support of the customers.
As you look at all of the possibilities that have occurred from hurricanes, fires, tornadoes, and floods in just the past few years, there is a case to be made for minimizing the loss of key information and downtime through proactive information management. No matter the size of the business, without proper information management, you can be out of business with one incident. Do not let a real “March madness” happen to your business.
Hunter McCarty – COO
Click here to view Hunter’s bio.
Guest Blog by Jonathan Gerald, RJ Young Software Sales Specialist
Technology is an amazing thing. However, difficulties often arise when trying to verbalize how particular technologies may be applied to benefit various organizations. Welcome to the world of the elusive and intriguing “Cloud.”
So, what is Cloud technology anyway? According to Wikipedia, “Cloud computing is the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the Internet).” At the core, the same principles of client/server and peer-to-peer networks are used; however, it is how these principles are applied that makes the software and services more “Cloudlike.”
For example, an organization may want to offer printing services to employees who travel between locations. Traditionally, this meant managing various print drivers to ensure that the employees have the ability to print to all relevant devices within the organizational footprint. With Cloud technology, an employee may print to the Cloud using a single print driver. Once printed to the Cloud, the employee may walk to a printer or multi-function device of his or her choosing and release the print job at the device. The Cloud print capability is not printer or model specific and even works from mobile and tablet devices, enabling users to print conveniently and organizations to make better purchasing decisions. Cloud printing technology may also be applied to guest printing or pay-per-print opportunities as well, providing detailed reports for departmental or client usage.
The biggest impact of utilizing Cloud technology in today’s workplace is centered on the ease of capturing and exchanging information for the purpose of becoming more efficient. Simplifying the end user experience, as in the Cloud printing example, certainly has its value; however, enabling an employee to become more productive speaks directly to the bottom line. Workflow automation software utilized in a Cloud environment can have a big impact on streamlining business processes. Applying the Cloud concepts, such as cross platform access from PC’s and mobile devices, to common business operations, such as purchase request, timesheet, and expense report approvals, may greatly reduce processing times. In addition, workflow software may be customized to offer a high degree of flexibility, empowering organizations to improve line of business processes specific to their industry or vertical market. Key integrations may also be implemented to update various disparate systems which will in turn eliminate data entry duplication.
We live in a connected world. Contact us today and discover how Cloud technology can connect your organization to Make Your Work Flow.
If you look around at your office today, you may notice things are changing. Walls are coming down, space is being filled with people instead of paper and most people are working on multiple devices, from various locations at all times of the day.
LinkedIn recently released a study that focused on the trends in the workforce, which they called the “Office Endangered Species,” list. They surveyed more than 7,000 professionals across 18 countries in search of what’s evolving and what’s becoming extinct in the workplace. They found that the traditional office structure is slowly dying and the use of technology is on the rise. Their responses predict the following will be extinct in just five years. Here are the results.
Top 10 Endangered Office Tools/Trends:
1. Tape recorders 79%
2. Fax machines 71%
3. The Rolodex 58 %
4. Standard working hours 57%
5. Desk phones 35%
6. Desktop computers 34%
7. Formal business attire like suits, ties, pantyhose, etc. 27%
8. The corner office for managers/executives 21%
9. Cubicles 19%
10. USB thumb drives 17%
Trends on the Rise:
• Tablets 55 %
• Cloud storage 54%
• Flexible working hours 52%
• Smartphones 52%
• A clone or assistant to help during the workday 25%
• A place in the office that provides natural sunlight 25%
• A quiet place in your office where you’re allowed to take a nap 22%
I wasn’t surprised to see most of the items listed, but it certainly drove home a point, technology is changing the workforce, again. Professionals today aren’t interested in the corner office, but investing in new technology that makes them more efficient and provides freedom to work anytime, anywhere.
If you look around at your office today, do you see the future or are you stuck in the past? Are you making the necessary changes to keep up with your employee’s wants and business demands?
Hear how a hospital, law firm and a government agency have made changes and are using technology to get real results for their organizations. RJYoung.com/Results