Aid in remote work. How to shift from a paper document workflow to an electronic one when facing the risk of the coronavirus
If the pandemic is here to stay, companies will have to define their processes all over again. A tool that can help them do so is an electronic document workflow. Adam Kubat, ArchiDoc SA, OASIS Group, explains how to start using it during crisis caused by the coronavirus
Faced with the sudden threat of the coronavirus, Polish companies switched to the emergency mode of work quite efficiently. Undoubtedly, this required considerable changes within the organization from a large part of companies. For the last couple of days, their priority has been to provide their employees with contact opportunities and access to necessary documents.
However, no one knows how long the current situation is here to stay. If longer than 2-4 weeks, companies will have to determine their processes all over again. So far, in many companies, documents (e.g. purchase orders, invoices, records) have been passed “from desk to desk”. It will not be possible for a certain period of time as there will be no employees at such desks.
An electronic document workflow system (EOD) can prove to be helpful. How to get your company to start using the EOD in the current situation?
- Determine which functions are necessary for your company at the moment. Emphasis should be put on those – you have limited resources and who knows whether they will not be even more limited tomorrow. Use them to implement “must-have” functions – unfortunately, the remaining ones must wait.
- Choose a system that will allow you to develop processes in the future. Some processes will have to be modified or extended over time – it is normal. When the pandemic fades away, you will avoid selecting a workflow system all over again.
- The EOD system must be able to integrate with the systems that are currently implemented in your company, including with the electronic mail system. Integration that enables data exchange between applications is one of the main functions of solutions from the electronic document workflow area.
- For the implementation purposes, use RAD (Rapid Application Development) methodology. It will shorten time needed to implement applications and then to modify them.
- In these circumstances, defining business processes in the system without the necessity of coding is almost priceless. The management of the company will expect the implementation to take a few days only – it is not always possible, but even despite that choose the shortest way to reach the goal.
- Assess your possibilities. If you stick to the 5 pieces of advice presented above, the implementation should require minimum resources and go quite smoothly. However, if your organization suffers from a severe organizational crisis caused by the absence of employees and/or additional tasks, you have two options:
- either you can wait for a better moment – poorly executed implementation may cause larger disruptions and require even more work;
- or you can focus and assign high priority to the implementation of EOD in order to avoid makeshift solutions (including those within the organization and processes) as they usually hold on tight and may stay with you longer than you expect. The electronic document workflow system may bring you many benefits and unburden your company. Perceive the focus on the implementation of such a system as an investment in the times of shortage (of time, people and resources).
Finally, remember that the workflow system is supposed to make your company’s work easier. It is not a gadget that bosses brag about during meetings of the management board, but a tool allowing you to continue operational activities of particular departments. Thanks to this, you will avoid additional turbulences in the current situation.
Adam Kubat, Head of IT Systems, ArchiDoc S.A., OASIS Group