Monday, June 25, 2012

Document-Related Risks Infuse the Entire Organization

Document-Related Risks Infuse the Entire Organization
Posted on by Dominic Keogh

Ineffective document processes have harmed three of four organizations in the past five years, as was detailed in last week’s post written by Joseph Pucciarelli. That’s the tip of the iceberg, however, so we’ll dig a little deeper into our findings here and in our next few posts. The goal is to help you successfully address document-related challenges in your own organization.
Documents, often overlooked, are really the lifeblood of the enterprise, the study affirms. Over 40 percent of business activities rely on information captured in documents, our research found. These document-driven activities span customer-facing processes in sales and marketing; non-customer-facing processes in HR, manufacturing, and other back-office operations; and processes that manage risk around business continuity and information security. Forty percent may even be a conservative estimate: “I don’t think there’s a process out there that doesn’t have some sort of document or documents attached to it,” the VP for Global IT at a large cosmetics manufacturer told us.
Many of these document-driven processes – between 31 and 39 percent – continue to rely on paper. Although that may sound like a problem in the digital age, the medium is not necessarily the problem. Paper-based processes in this study emerged as some of the most effective activities. Many electronically based processes turned out to be the least effective.
Whether paper or electronic, document processes generally need improvement, the study found. Consider these findings:
  • 45 percent of respondents reported that their document-driven processes related to risk mitigation were inefficient or ineffective;
  • 39 percent reported that non-customer-facing document processes were lacking; and
  • 36 percent reported that customer-facing document processes were inefficient or ineffective.
As you can see, problems are not isolated to any one business area; they run across a wide spectrum of processes. As a result, organizations are exposing themselves to a high degree of business risk.
“It only takes one mishap to damage a reputation,” in the words of one study participant, a VP with responsibilities for marketing/product management at a global financial services firm. Where are your vulnerabilities? Where is that one mishap most likely to occur? How likely is it? How serious would the impact be?