By David Cornwell, CEO, PleaseTech Ltd
Wind the clock back a few years and one of the most popular initiatives launched by CIOs was to reduce email traffic between employees. Fast forward to today, and email and email attachments continue to be the primary means of sharing and reviewing documents. According to Osterman Research, 98% of the bits that flow through the typical email system are files attached to emails, with the typical information worker spending 167 minutes per business day doing work in their email. For nearly 50% of employees, collaborating on document review is a significant business process.
Let us take a common scenario to show how effective is an email when it comes to providing the right tool for job. You are working on a number of lengthy documents which requires the inputs of a large and dispersed team of people. The only way to get those documents reviewed is by emailing them out as attachments and having them marked up by each individual.
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Further, the process becomes still more time consuming. Because only one person can review the same document at one time, invariably people end up working on different versions of a document and suggesting different changes to the same area of the document. Merging those changes and rectifying any associated formatting issues requires a lengthy manual process. From a compliance perspective, inactivity on a document needs to be recorded, it doesn’t capture any metrics.
Evidence collected amongst the Oracle community suggests it’s really a big deal. Fifty eight per cent of those involved in document review would like to be able to access a document and review it at the same time as their team, 52% would like to be able to see other people’s comments and changes as they are made, 47% would like to be able to compare review versions, 38% require a report showing all activity on a review and 35% would like a controlled process so nothing gets missed.
Companies, particularly those that are operating in heavily regulated, document intensive industries, that have moved away from email and sought outspecialist document review solutions are reporting savings of 50% and more in the time it takes employees to prepare documents, and the output (documents) being of a much higher quality.
With IT playing an increasingly important role in the retention and motivation of knowledge workers, the result of providing the right tools for the job is evident. For example, the cost of losing an employee can cost thousands of dollars, often up to 1.5-2x annual salary. Furthermore, it is estimated that it may take up to two years for a new employee to reach the productivity levels of a predecessor.
Evidence points to the fact that, whilst Oracle users would generally prefer an Oracle solution when seeking out a solution to a specific business problem, they are becoming more open to offerings from third parties and Oracle partners. In fact, it has been suggested that almost twice as many people within the Oracle community are likely to seek out a third party solution than their SharePoint counterparts, raising the question of whether this group have a greater understanding of the limitations of their IT framework.
The increasing trend towards BYOD and whilst this brings its own challenges, it also highlights the need for the right technology for workers on the move, which is where specialist software offers distinct advantages.
Better software systems are gateway to save time and cost and to improve productivity and employee retention. Overwhelmingly evidence points to time, money and the willingness of decision makers to initiate change. But it’s the chicken and the egg, companies need to make time to save time, only then will they reap the benefits.