Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Could This Be The Year?

By Brian Kopack


For the love of everything Harry Caray, this might be the year the Cubs finally win the World Series.  Cubs’ fans have been waiting for this moment for a long time – since 1908.  A little internet research tells me there are probably 350 people walking planet Earth who were alive to see the last Cubs’ championship. Note: None of them actually saw it because TV hadn’t been invented yet.  Everyone else has literally waited their entire life for the Cubs to finally win.

That’s crazy.

Cubs’ fans are nothing if not patient.  Patient and focused.

Patience used to be a virtue.  Not anymore.

Most of us are bad at waiting.  Most of us expect everything immediately.  Most of us have had technology recalibrate our expectations personally and professionally. Right here.  Right now-even for things we really don’t need.  We don’t appreciate delays.

We demand change for ourselves, but we resist change of ourselves.

That explains one of the great mysteries in business. Why is the idea of content management so easy to embrace, but the decision to start the process of automation is so difficult?  The concept is easy to grasp and the benefits for inarguable.  Actually committing to embracing the challenge and doing the work to make that happen takes forever.  Not exactly 108 years, but it probably feels that way.

We demand change for ourselves.  We resist change of ourselves.

Not all businesses are guilty.  Some are proactive in their approach to integrating technology into managing their information and processes.  Others are more patient--Cubs fan-like patient.  Their approach is more “Wait until next year,” except next year never comes. Businesses engage in a perpetual slow-dance of research, analysis, negotiation and deferral.

That’s a risky strategy for businesses that need to stay relevant.

Businesses that haven’t adopted a comprehensive content management strategy in most cases are very purposeful and very intentional.  They are motivated to improve.  They understand how being in control of their information allows them to serve both their employees and customers better and be more responsive in the marketplace.  They see the bigger picture of using the power of technology to transform the way they do business - to access, process and integrate information more efficiently – to get the right information to the right people at the right time to make decisions.

So, what’s missing?  What’s keeping them in the perpetual state of stuckness?

Focus – or lack thereof.

Change is never easy.  Change away from the status quo is uncomfortable.  Change to the brave new world is scary.  Uncertainty breeds hesitation – tests our focus.  In business, when it comes to adopting new technologies or automating ancient processes, it takes a special kind of focus.

IOS focus.

It’s all we do.  And, because it’s all we do, we have a special understanding of the single, most overlooked aspect of the change process.  Change is about of relationships.  Creating them and maintaining them.

To dream change, to create change, to implement change - that all takes people working together.  It’s why great software or great ideas need the special touch to get the project from concept to reality.  It’s how the, “It’s the idea that matters” manifests itself in the work we do. Creatively designed content management ideas flexibly designed and expertly implemented.

With a great team and a great plan, anything is possible.

That’s IOS.
Monday, October 10, 2016

Using a contract management solution to keep the drinks flowing

By Danielle Simer, Hyland Software, Inc.

“Hi. It’s been a long day. I’d love a beer.”

“Sorry.”

“How about a vodka on the rocks?”

“Nope.”

“Glass of red wine?”

“Apologies.”

Manage your contracts instead of letting them manage you.

Ah, contract management. The right solution manages them for you, instead of the other way around. Because let’s be honest – you’re busy. We’re all busy. Who has time to look through stacks of invoices to figure out what’s due when, with who, and for how much?

No one has that time. That’s why I wrote this blog post. Because I want to help you reach your full potential. And the best way to do that is by taking control of your contract management process.

For example, late last week, a major airline had to deal with a customer issue because either it – or one of its vendors – didn’t effectively manage a contract renewal. So the airline’s airport clubs could not serve drinks.

If you value certain types of customers enough to offer them free drinks, you can bet those customers have grown accustomed to the service. Especially if they’re paying a $500 annual fee for the privilege. It’s in your best interest to make sure you don’t have to tell them “no.”

Especially when your competitors are saying “yes.”

An optimized back office generates ROI

Investing on the front-end to gain market share is great. But just as important, you need to proactively manage the back-end processes that keep things moving. Otherwise, you won’t generate any return on investment.

If you’re using a limited contract management solution, you can still miss contract deadlines. It happens. Making matters even murkier, your organization might still be relying on paper.

How many times, in how many different situations, have you heard someone say, “The paperwork wasn’t completed.”?

And how many times have you thought, “We’re approaching the third decade of the 21st Century and you’re still managing important contracts with paper?”

A contract management system in action

A great example of how to use contract management software to effectively manage contracts, renewals and vendor relationships is the University of Northern Colorado (UNC).

The college streamlined its entire contract lifecycle, from request to contract execution and beyond. The solution – which leverages the case management, process automation and enterprise content management capabilities of a true enterprise information platform – provides the university with the transparency and control it previously lacked.

Now, UNC proactively manages critical contract expirations. Automatic notifications and calendar views of key contract dates prompt staff to take action and make timely decisions on contractual relationships.

“I can now finish a contract from start to finish in as little as 10 minutes – and we’ve been able to eliminate the vast majority of paper from our contracting process,” said Cristal Swain, assistant legal counsel and chief procurement officer at UNC.

You can be proactive and empower your organization and do things like negotiate new terms or early-payment discounts while decreasing risks and saving money on storage and shipping. Or you can continue to rely on outdated solutions.

The choice is yours. Be forewarned: One might cause you to drink.

But only if you renewed the contract.