There have been quite a few conversations in our meetings with customers and industry partners about what we call “Solutions,” “Document Management” or “Workflows.” So I thought we would throw a very general guide up into the blogosphere.
Most people have heard these terms bandied about by technology gurus, industry trend analysts and the like, but have not really had anybody break-down what they actually mean – and more importantly, answer the question: “What can they do for your business?”
Well, we hope to answer that question as simply as possible. Firstly, when we talk about “Solutions,” we are talking about some set of software and possibly hardware (devices like MFP’s, tablets, kiosks, or computers) that provide a solution to a specific problem or help to complete a specific task or set of tasks.
“Document Management” is a system (typically driven by software) that helps to store, process, or move documents through your business processes. Using software to aid in the scanning, or capturing process can help to organize your files from the second they are introduced to your business, while allowing software to index, organize and perform processing (such as OCR) makes those documents significantly easier to retrieve, search, mine for data or send to a final destination. Document Management Systems will almost always include a client (software) that makes retrieval, version control, auditing and all of that possible.
“Workflow” is a term that has been around for a long time in the business world and is about as general as they come. When we look at Document Management, or are just finding places to increase efficiency, we use the term “Workflow” in reference to a specific set of tasks, or activities that follow one another in order to complete a job or larger task.
Thinking about our daily activities as workflows, allows us to analyze the myriad tasks we complete each day in more detail than we could ever hope to discern by simply looking at our jobs in a general sense. When we break down our activities into smaller related tasks, which flow into each other – that is when we begin to see where we can save ourselves time, headaches, and often, money.
I know we are speaking in generalities here, but hopefully, next time someone starts slinging these terms around, you will know this: when you got that software to help manage all of your documents so that you could decrease the amount of time you spent performing inefficient tasks like rifling through customer files, you actually implemented a document management solution to help streamline your workflow efficiency.