Thursday, September 15, 2011

“The future is actually here it just doesn’t arrive all at once”

By John Trimble
Novelist William Gibson is credited with the line “The future is actually here it just doesn’t arrive all at once” It’s both catchy and inarguable. I doubt that he was thinking of the state of process automation and document management when he said it but he might as well have been.

That thought was further driven home this week for me as I just got back from a National Hyland OnBase Users Conference in Las Vegas. (Hide your envy, it rained for two entire days, I don’t gamble, so Las Vegas to me is like Des Moines with better restaurants) But what struck me were the companies who had won the Hyland Software “Creative Awards’ for improving their processes with document imaging and workflow. Company after company spoke in almost revival meeting fervor and pride about how they have sped up, modernized and workflowed their information, allowing in some cases the public to see information on the web that previously required a trip to the County office or greatly increased customer satisfaction or even improved law enforcement. The Las Vegas Police Dept. now handles Homeland security cases at five times their prior rate because they have automated with fewer people.

On and on…the Kool Aid definitely knocked back and rightfully so. Unpaid, gleeful testimony.

So for these and many more companies and institutions the future has arrived. Why then is there still such a lag and a divide between the haves and have nots in document imaging? How can some still afford to or even want to accept being old-world-manual and slow when they know what is available, what their peers are doing, what their competitors are doing?

Technology is funny; if you could peer into every home on your block you would see everything from 12 inch black and white television sets to 65 inch high definition plasma and we would agree that is just personal taste. But if you walked into a company and applied for a job and realized as they started copying your application by hand that they did not own a copier you would quickly run for the parking lot. Business requirements transcend and trump personal choice. Or so you would think.
Apparently even in business change, technology and culture travel time can be on a seven second delay or it sometimes arrives by a team of oxen. Gee, Haw and all that. But it does come. Eventually.

Just not all at once.

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