Using Systems of Process as a Pathway to IT Modernization

When it comes to Content Management, I find myself talking consistently about “digital transformation”—in customer discussions, in analyst interactions, in thought leadership and best practice sessions—even on social channels. But at this point, what does the term really mean? Historically, digital transformation has loosely translated to “it’s time to digitize your paper files”—at least for the last 15 years or so. But as we look to the next decade and beyond, we must evolve our thinking to meet the demands of our modern era. It’s not just about digitizing documents anymore—it’s about infusing life into the information we collect.

Even for those organizations that have evolved from physical paper files to electronic files, the data within digital files are essentially “dead data.” With no strategy, there’s no way to effectively standardize practices or establish proactive processes to boost efficiency, reduce costs, and improve results. To truly go digital, organizations must make their data intelligent—so that it is working for them, from acquisition throughout the entire document lifecycle.

Reclaiming Control of the Lifecycle

Intelligently capturing data means allowing it to enter the system from multiple points for automatic and immediate capture (via scan, email, fax, electronic forms, SMS, or mobile capture). Harnessing electronic forms to digitally capture data as close to the point of origin as possible is crucial; it ensures data integrity, and just as importantly, it allows for interaction with the originator during any point in the document lifecycle. Intelligent capture is key to ensuring data quality and making the entire lifecycle as intelligent as possible.

After capture, intuitive workflow creates standardized processes that are fueled by routing rules, which leads to uniform review practices, seamless integration with current systems, secure and compliant storage, and finally, end-of-life actions determined by circumstance and need. By building both universal and industry-specific checkboxes into the document lifecycle, regulations, data privacy practices, and compliance are all considered and adhered to from the point of capture, through storage and end distribution—ensuring complete, consistent audit-readiness.

Adjusting to the Landscape

There are three systems that are intrinsically linked to Content Services per Gartner’s model: Systems of Engagement, Systems of Process, and Systems of Record.1

Systems of Engagement drive user adoption with compelling user interfaces and opportunities for collaborative work—literally engaging employees. Systems of Record are a necessary commodity that fulfills the needs of record retention in a steadfast, resilient manner. Historically, the discussion by industry pundits has been around Systems of Engagement vs. Systems of Record—which has more inherent value? Really, it’s neither one. Each component must work together effectively to help businesses achieve success. But again, without an intuitive connection point and purpose, even digital data is dead data.

That’s why Systems of Process are the lifeblood of this model; they supersede Systems of Engagement and Systems of Record by allowing for a modern, intelligent approach to managing data through comprehensive automated solutions. Forward-thinking organizations must examine the oft-overlooked potential to transform processes—and achieve more—by automating the document lifecycle.

  1. Gartner: Critical Capabilities for Content Collaboration Platforms, Michael Woodbridge, Monica Basso, Karen A. Hobert, July 9, 2018
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