In March many organizations announced the closure of facilities world-wide due to the COVID-19 crisis. This greatly impacted businesses of all shapes and sizes, especially those that were previously hard-document dependent who are now facing issues with processing requests, paying invoices, and many others. Paper documents can cripple the efficiency of any process – especially for remote workers. The lack of face-time in offices has also created a break down in workflow processing that depended on the boundaries of a physical office. Students and staff may no longer be able walk into an office or facility due to closures, and many are likely in quarantine miles away from their offices and campuses. To adapt to this new virtual office and work life format, organizations are receiving many requests for technology improvements that enable offices, departments, and facilities to manage requests, review documents, and retrieve information in one central place.
Almost all businesses have been impacted financially by COVID-19. The pandemic has caused uncertainties and delays in every line of business, stretching organization’s bottom lines in an unprecedented way. On March 27th, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted to help combat the far-reaching impacts of COVID-19. The bill provides over $2 trillion in assistance to workers, families, and businesses in order to preserve jobs for American industries.
At Shamrock Solutions, we have been actively discussing with our customers the many ways in which CARES Act funds may be used to further bolster and protect their staff and technology investments. Below are a few project initiatives that we’re helping our customers with right now, which are directly making a positive impact to these organizations’ bottom line. These items are provided as just a few examples for which CARES Act funds are being used to transform today’s business climate.
Prior to implementing an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system, most organizations must print out and process hard copy documents in desk inboxes, divided into subfolders, with some soft copies in emails or stored on network drives. The goal of a scan/link solution is to simply consolidate and digitize all working documents so that anyone that needs access to those documents for review or processing may do so – digitally, and without processing paper documents. Additionally, a scan/link solution will allow for the capture of all stored archive documents, reducing the physical office space that they require.
An electronic forms (eForms) solution may be used in conjunction with an ECM system to extend the functionality of remote teams, and simplify requests processes in a single point interface for submission. Previously, hard copy request or processing forms may have been hand-delivered to an office versus via email as pictures or attachments. Using an eForm solution, all required information can be captured electronically in a form – even attaching additional documents with the form. The eForm then enters an ECM system workflow, where data values may be extracted and integrated with other lines of business systems. The eForm and supporting documentation may also be stored electronically in the ECM repository for processing or archiving needs.
A digital workflow solution can be utilized to process invoices and other financial documents. An invoice may be captured via email, scanning, or other electronic import, to be approved and verified by accounting clerks. Workflow routing and rules can systematically manage deadlines with alarms, send out consistent reminder emails with automation, handle approval of invoicing using eForms, and systematically merge all components of the needed documents and export them to other lines of business systems. Checks and balances may be put into place to ensure invoices are compliant with government guidelines if needed.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology (also called a software robot, or just "bot") mimics a human worker and can log into applications, enter or consume data, calculate and complete tasks, and then fully log out. Consider a use case for a virtual account analyst: a software robot takes a bank application form and logs into a credit check site, a background check site, a known terrorist database, and a criminal database, and collects the results and snippets and automatically builds a background profile on an applicant for final review. RPA can help automate your highly repetitive, manual tasks and allow your valuable team resources to focus on value-added tasks.
Intelligent Data Extraction
Instant data access, business intelligence, security, and efficiency are critical to success (particularly given COVID-19), and many companies are realizing that valuable data is trapped in their documents. These documents could be paper, email, or standard electronic office documents. The data contained in these documents must be manually read, tracked, routed, processed and reported upon. In fact, more than 80% of information is trapped in unstructured content. OCR technology is important not only for gaining efficiencies and reducing operating costs, but through classification and data extraction, it can lead to better business processes.
Maintaining supported versions throughout your organization’s technology stack is important to ensure ongoing support and functionality. Additionally, upgrading to newer software versions may enable the adoption of additional technologies that can help streamline a business process. While the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated many individual’s work life, many businesses are also noting a slower work pace. This is a great time to get current with your enterprise software – especially those technologies that aid a remote workforce. At Shamrock, we’ve been working with many organizations to upgrade their ECM, OCR, RPA, and assisting technologies using CARES Act funds.
A dispersed and decentralized workforce can cause added stress and complications for any organization, particularly on the information technology front. COVID-19 has drastically shifted priorities for many organizations, meaning that less important tasks may be pushed down the all important “to do” list. These items still need to be done, but may not always be immediately achievable in today’s climate. At Shamrock, we have expertise in many lines of business automation software – including Perceptive Content, OnBase, Brainware, Ephesoft, UiPath, K2, and many others. Our team has the expertise to assist your IT staff in knocking out the day-to-day maintenance tasks that some of these systems require. From user administration to software troubleshooting – we can cover the basics and allow your team to focus on priorities for your business.
Paper documents cripple the efficiency of any business process, but workflow and eForm tools can help organize and add structure to those processes, reducing errors in submissions and processing delays. Centralization of documents and metadata will increase collaboration between groups and reduce delays and uncertainties within a distributed workforce. COVID-19 has transformed our working life in 2020 and opened many avenues for technology improvements and innovations. If your organization has excess CARES Act funds, we invite you to talk with our team about where we can help make impactful gains for your business processes to enable success through COVID-19 and beyond. Talk with us today!