Digital document workflow is the first step that allows creating a work system of the future that is not tied to a physical office. Nevertheless, it is a process that is new to many, so numerous questions always arise, of which the most important is always the one – how to prepare for implementation?
The sudden modernization brought about by the coronavirus pandemic has affected internal business processes first. Companies have been forced to evaluate outdated workflows and algorithms because only businesses open to new approaches will survive the transformation of work standards.
In this article, you will learn all about preparing for the implementation of digital document workflow first-hand. Gabriela Ciołek, Archman team implementation specialist, will tell you about the key stages of digital document workflow implementation.
What is digital document workflow?
Digital workflow is a workflow and document management system based on business process automation. This approach enables the transformation of paper-based information flow into the digital flow, which performs better because it helps to control costs, increases efficiency, and guarantees more extensive access to data. The main advantage of digital workflow is the elimination of the human factor, which means that the probability of making mistakes is close to zero.
How does the implementation of digital document workflow look like?
Preparation for the implementation of the digital workflow usually begins with a preliminary analysis of business processes in a given company. The next step is to examine the activities that need to be upgraded or automated. The easiest way to determine which processes should be automated is to think about what is burdensome or repetitive for the employees.
The result of the pre-implementation analysis is a document created based on the work with the customer. It contains all information about what applications will be implemented, the expected implementation duration, and the conditions of integration with other systems. After the analysis is approved by the customer, the installation of the system can begin. The system implementation includes the creation of applications, integration with external systems, software testing, and training for employees. The final stage of the implementation of the digital document workflow is the final acceptance of the system by the customer.
What can you do to make your implementation go quickly and smoothly?
First, have a good plan. An analysis of your existing processes is the key to success. Besides, you need to be prepared for numerous implementation meetings. Such meetings usually require extensive knowledge of internal business processes, company workflows, proxy knowledge and the course of situations that you want to improve by implementing a digital workflow management system.
In addition to this, you need to optimize the server to meet the platform requirements. Before the implementation of the system, information about the minimum hardware requirements is provided so that the adjustment can take place even before the analysis meetings, which favors the fact that the client has more time to prepare for the implementation.
The undeniable advantage of NAVIGATOR is the fact that it is a browser-based platform, which results in the fact that it does not require additional installations or special hardware.
The next step from the customer’s side is to appoint a specific person to manage the project because the implementation of the workflow is a complex process that requires extensive knowledge in the field of document management.
How long does it take to implement digital document workflow?
Preparing a pre-implementation analysis takes about a month, counting from the last analysis meeting. A ready report is submitted to the client for authorization. At this stage, it is extremely important that the customer carefully analyzes it and provides feedback, which will be taken into account in the implementation plan. After clarifying the final shape of the system implementation, we sign the analysis acceptance protocol, and at this point, the process of implementing the digital document workflow based on the accepted concept begins. The implementation time depends on the number of applications, which the customer decides to use, on the level of development of document templates (how many fields are provided in the digital forms, how complicated the workflow is), as well as on how many integrations with the external IT systems are planned. Most time is usually spent on integration with external systems.
Implementation of NAVIGATOR in basic version, e.g. support of invoice workflow process without integration will take up to 2 months. Whereas preparation of more complex solution responding to individual customer needs can take up to 12 months. In such a situation we divide the project into stages, successively delivering ready-to-use applications, starting with the most important procedures, which we determine at the pre-implementation analysis stage.
What are the effects of implementing a digital document workflow?
Digital document workflow allows you to control each step of the document workflow, which significantly reduces the time spent on traditional document processing in the company. The system allows to determine the sequence of actions and to appoint employees responsible for accepting different stages of the workflow.
Working with a document in NAVIGATOR only requires filling in necessary fields and a few clicks. After the document is approved at a given step, it is then passed on to the next person appointed in the workflow procedure. The advantage of digital document circulation is also the fact that the file will not get lost in a pile of papers on the desk – thanks to a system of notifications the user is informed each time that documents requiring approval are waiting for him. In NAVIGATOR we are also able to create dedicated notifications, sent, for example, once a week and grouping all activities after the due date.
The need to manually enter data and transcribe data from a paper invoice into the system disappears thanks to AI, which uses OCR, Data Capture, and is able to complete the data for us. In addition, we use master documents, which are assigned to the contractor. If the company knows that the contractor sends almost identical invoices every month and only the amount changes, we can save such a master document for the contractor, and later, when we receive another document, the data will be completed based on the specified master document.
Moreover, digitalization ensures the security of information that is stored electronically, instead of in a physical drawer.
Another problem that occurs with traditional workflows is the lack of verification of what state the document is currently in. In this case, the workflow also helps. After entering a specific module, you can find a document that interests you and find out at what stage of circulation it is currently and who is responsible for a given action.
Equally important is the ability to find the needed information efficiently. The search in NAVIGATOR works similarly to Google, taking into consideration the context of the searched phrase. Apart from that, we have a panel of filters at our disposal, which considerably simplifies finding the needed data.
Integration with external systems is another advantage of digital document workflow. If the company uses an accounting system, for example, Sage Symfonia or Optima, there is a possibility of automatic data exchange between them. Thanks to that, we maintain order in documentation of both systems and we limit our time, because data entering takes place only in NAVIGATOR, and document creation in the accounting system is automatic.
Implementing a digital workflow is a strategy that is fundamental to creating the office routine of the future. Recent international developments have resulted in advances in the digitization of processes and adaptation to rapidly changing situations. Workflow automation has undoubted advantages that result in increased productivity of work, elimination of the human factor, and full control over the flow of information in the company. Preparation for the implementation of digital document workflow requires the involvement of both the supplier and the customer. Only as a result of such cooperation is it possible to deliver a solution that fully meets the needs of the company in the shortest possible time.