Friday, September 13, 2013

Onwards & Upwards

By Brian Kopack

A hot air balloon landed behind my house last week.  No kidding.  I have pictures.  And no, I am pretty sure it isn’t the latest in surveillance operations.  At least, I hope not.

I pull into my driveway after work and my backyard is full of people, neighborhood pets and a hot air balloon.  It seems a participant in a local festival had some trouble with his balloon and had to make an unscheduled landing… and my backyard was as good as place as any.

What happened to make the pilot to land in my backyard?

Sometimes I don’t know why I think what I think.  In the middle of the chaos, I go right to the cause, the breakdown in process.  Not, I am glad everything worked out and no one was hurt.  Or, how cool is it to have a hot air balloon in my yard.

I come by it naturally.

I get it - nobody is perfect.  Accidents happen.  Add other relevant cliché’s here.

In a prior life I worked in public accounting - a great experience.  I worked with a lot of people in a lot of different companies in a lot of different industries with a lot of different issues.  It is perfect training.  I learned business, good and bad, and I learned a little about working with people and a lot about processes.

I learned quickly that people make mistakes – not falling-out-of-the-sky-in-a-balloon mistakes, but mistakes.  In business, since perfection is an unreasonable expectation, the best you can do is limit the opportunities employees have to make mistakes on the front end and create a sufficient safety net to mitigate risk on the back end.

In the old days, the safety net was manual checks and balances.  Checklists and sign-offs and interoffice mail.  The more complex the process, the more checklists, sign-offs and interoffice mail employees had to manage.  Careers were forged managing the flow of paperwork.  I have been in organizations were the employee becomes the process.

Me: “Explain your procedure for managing bad debt collections.”

Business: “It starts with Sam Smith report.”

Then, thankfully, we all entered 21st century.

Smart people employed the power of technology to automate routine tasks.

Smarter people used technology to automate processes because they knew the technology was capable of something truly amazing besides being predictable and easily auditable – not forgetting assigned tasks (limiting exposure to risk).  Automating business processes allowed companies to get business done faster and more accurately.  And most importantly, automation allowed businesses to better utilize the talents of their employees – to put employees in the position to focus on value-added work instead of routine tasks.

Simply, smart businesses use technology to work smarter and be more creative to work even more smartly and be even more productive.

Today, process is everything.  Automating those processes is more a necessity than a luxury.  Since the financial world melted down a few years back, companies had to scale back their workforces but still keep producing.    As the outlook improves, those same resources are stretched even further to keep up with increased demand.  In lieu of hiring, businesses are turning to automating the workflow of their most labor-intensive processes.  They are rethinking the old world order and breaking long-established bad habits in the name of progress.  They understand removing variables with technology limits risk.  What starts as cost-saving initiative turns into a value-creation vehicle.

I know this is true because we are part of the revolution.  Every day the IOS Professional Services Group is shaping the future of business by helping our customers create value through process workflow automation.  Our experts have a perspective you are unlikely to find anywhere else.

Not sure automated workflow is right for you or where it fits in your business?  Have an idea but don’t know where to start?  Started but it isn’t going as swimmingly as you planned?

Just call us.  I bet your only regret is that you didn’t do it sooner.
Friday, September 6, 2013


By Brian Kopack

Maybe you’re right.

Maybe you’ve been right all along.

Your AP staff is in the AP Hall of Fame and your HR Dept is a paperwork dynamo.  They both handle exceptions surgically and are expert at routing documents around the organization.  Both are meticulous filers.  They spend extra time making sure everything is perfect to save time during research and verification.

They barely have to close down the departments to respond to audits.

With your Library of Congress-esque filing system, you almost never lose a single document.  You created the file structure and sub-filing structure and the sub-sub-filing structure and all of your staff go through extensive training to know and learn and live the process.

That file room you have – the one as long as a city block, it probably is just as easy for you to manage yourself.  Your small army of dedicated staff is always available to respond to the demands of your growing organization. They have leveraged the power of the logistics industry and can ship files or boxes of files around the globe overnight, so your 24 hour response time goal on file requests is almost never really in jeopardy.  Costly, but always timely.

Your processes are legendary.  Checklists on checklists.  Meticulously crafted procedures guide your staff through any scenario.  Everyone knows exactly who gets what when.  Granted, it is a challenge to map the status of what’s going on at any minute, but all great things take time, right?

On second thought, I wasn’t right thinking you were right.

With the recent observance of Labor Day, one of the things we reflect on is progress – the advancements we enjoy as a result of hard work.  In business today, progress is much more about brains than brawn. Progress is about efficiency and effective allocation of resources.  Progress is about using information’s power to drive change and innovation.

What does progress look like?  Different things to different businesses, but you know it when you see it.

Hint: It looks like Electronic Content Management.

What can it help you do?

  • Capture information automatically– eliminating manual data entry.  
  • Provide a safe and secure repository for Maintaining mission critical information.
  • Allow information to be Accessed and shared across an organization.
  • Route information automatically through an essential process workflow.

Progress can be incremental, so if the time isn’t right for complete adoption – just start somewhere.  Scan and store, intelligent records management or automated workflow.

Deciding to start is easy.  Deciding on a partner to guide you through the process is even easier.

We've summed up 6 customer stories in 6 sentences.  How's that for efficient?  Take a look.