Recently, we talked with a bank that had implemented an electronic document management solution. From a technology perspective, the project was a success – the system functioned as expected. However, the project was unsuccessful in achieving its goals, i.e. increasing the speed of transactions, decreasing operating costs, and improving collaboration.
Why? Well, let’s take a look at one process that was being used to capture documents “electronically”:
- A commercial sales assistant (CSA) would email the borrower, requesting the borrower provide financial statements, tax returns, etc.
- The borrower would reply to the email and attach the requested documents
- The CSA, upon receiving the email from the borrower, would open and print the files
- Then, the CSA would scan the printed files and upload them electronically into the electronic document management solution
Maybe. Unless you consider the fact that the electronic files attached to the email could have been saved or uploaded directly into the electronic document management solution.
Now, assume each set of requested files comprises 100 pages. Then, multiply this by several hundred commercial borrowers.
No wonder the bank was not achieving its goals!
The constraint was not the technology – the technology worked fine. The constraint was the process. Digging deeper, the root cause was probably that the CSA did not know what the process should be. I doubt the CSA enjoys printing and scanning thousands of pages unnecessarily.
The point is that when we plan and execute projects, we often relegate communication, training, and employee reinforcement to the bottom of our list of priorities. We are eager to declare victory when the solution has been piloted and rolled-out without evidence of any glaring technology bugs or issues.
Often, this is a function of failing to prioritize and allocate resources well. There is always the next project to start, the newest initiative at-hand, or the latest fire to put out. In fact, to achieve goals such as increasing the speed of transactions, decreasing operating costs, and improving collaboration, we need to plan for a period of time following the roll-out to optimize the solution implemented.
We need to allocate time for employees to monitor and control the technology, processes, and people. Only then can we be sure that the necessary changes and/or reinforcements will be identified and applied to ensure we achieve our goals.