Transactional Content Management – a catalyst for business process improvement

Despite the massive amounts of investments made in information technology there is still a need for businesses and organizations to continually ask the following questions on four main strategic business drivers:

  1. Reduce Costs: How can we complete “X” process in less time and with less cost and less labor?
  2. Increase Revenue: What can be done to improve the customer experience while shortening the sales cycle and improving our gross margins?
  3. Risk & Compliance: What must be in place in order to prevent unauthorized access and/or actions to our systems and data? What ability do we have to audit and report on the activities within the system?
  4. Competitive Advantage: What can be done to give our customers a “WOW” experience? What can be done to reduce the time from sales order-to-cash to improve self-funding our growth?

The strategic business drivers listed above when reduced down to their basic elements often translate into some type of process that is driven by documents and data. There are many systems that help affect this change like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM); however, they can often times fall short because they are great at processing data, they just aren’t equipped to deal with documents like an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system.

What is Enterprise Content Management or ECM? The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) International definition states, “Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is the strategies, methods and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. ECM covers the management of information within the entire scope of an enterprise whether that information is in the form of a paper document, an electronic file, a database print stream, or even an email.” Transactional Content Management (TCM) is taking the ECM definition a step further. According to Gartner’s definition, “Transactional Content Management is a system of record for managing process-related documents.”

The diagram below is a good example of how TCM can be applied to the streamlining and automating of Accounts Payable (AP):

Diagram 1: Automated Invoice Extraction and Delivery (source: ImageSource, Inc.)

Here are some real-world examples of how Transactional Content Management is positively affecting better end-to-end business process outcomes:

  • Agriculture – Food Producer | Accounts Payable: the system deployed at National Frozen Foods Corporation has allowed them to shrink the time to process accounts payable invoices and eliminate the costs associated with emailing, faxing, printing and managing through a paper intensive manual process just to pay vendors and suppliers. Because of their regional and distributed operating environment, having electronic workflow and integration with their ERP system were key factors in making the investment pay for itself.
  • Higher-Education | Enrollment & Admission: the system deployed at San Jose State University has resulted in making student files electronic and rules-based workflow from the point of application to registration. This also includes a massive reduction in labor and costs associated with transcript processing which now has automated data extraction to TS-130 files, automated uploads to PeopleSoft and automated credit calculation.
  • Government | County & State Court System: the system deployed at Stanislaus County Superior Courts has resulted in making their court rooms “paperless”. Case files are no longer consisting of large paper files that needed to be duplicated and distributed. Paper forms that were filled by attorneys and court staff with pen-and-paper have been replaced with tablet PCs and electronic forms. Case delays are a much less frequent occurrence because case file documents can be added and accessible from the system within the courtroom. The time efficiency and costs have been nothing short of extraordinary.

How do you know if you need Transactional Content Management? The symptoms include too much paper, manual processing using fax and email as workflow, a large volume of manual and/or duplicate data entry, the process is prone to bottleneck and frequently does, employee time spent on status update calls and emails is growing, upset customers and/or suppliers for things not getting done on a timely basis, process controls are non-existent, employees create work-a-rounds for deficient systems and lack of visibility into the process that results in reactionary activities versus being proactive and preventing a crisis from even occurring.

John Smetana
VP of Sales, Strategic & Emerging Markets
ImageSource, Inc.