Paper, paper, paper… endless, nauseating and drowning waves of paper all over the place, on top of desks, in cardboard boxes inside closets, under desks, on top of the chairs of the meeting rooms. Nevertheless, paper is the ultimate equalizer in providing pain — whether people belong to the finance department, HR, sales, production, marketing or even the board of directors, everyone experiences the same pain of spending endless hours signing paper, looking for paper, insulting one’s bad luck for not find the correct piece of paper at the time of need, let alone talking about remote work during COVID confinement where people must take home many boxes of paper so that they can do remote work. Paper is easily damaged, easily stuck to the clip of the pile it does not belong to — and reasons for the need of photocopying it once, twice, three times are every day’s reality. People are literally drowning in paper. But companies, nowadays, do not only have paper; they also have emails, digital files such as PDF, Excel, photos, videos, CAD, etc. and most of the times these files must be related with the paperwork that lies in boxes under desks or on top of chairs… yes, those torn cardboard boxes from which papers fall to the floor.
Someone said, “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge,” and this does not help at all concerning the need to embrace digital transformation. There are still in place the rules of printing invoices that must be signed by two people before payment, and if those two (or more) people are in different locations the signed invoice is digitized, sent by email, reprinted, signed by the next person, digitized again and sent again by email. The process is flawed. When technology changes, processes must also change, even those which were excellent processes in the past technology. A quick and simple example: I am the father of three kids, and I must take them to school and then move on to my office; I do not have a car, but a motorbike, hence I must make three trips to school, to take each of my kids, and after the last one if dropped off, I go on to my office. Is there a better process with the available tool? No. But when I buy a car, I could do the same process of the three trips, but that process that with the previous tool was the best one, now it is a flawed one, since I can take the three of them, at the same time, in the car.
Cloud. The glorious cloud where all the SME’s needs are satisfied. Invoices (or any other types of documents) are automatically learned where the relevant information must be read and then sent to the ERP, even a local one, saving endless hours of typing and associated errors. HR: several external entities PDF forms may be automatically filled with data from a single electronic form saving endless hours of typing and associated errors. Workflows may be drawn according to whatever rules, people notified of their tasks or merely notified that a document of their individual interest exists, and tasks can be performed from wherever at any time with any kind of mobile equipment. Document validity dates, such as contracts, permanently monitored so that nothing slips the required re-negotiation. Using the cloud means that there is no need to maintain servers, no need to have people to manage servers, no software upgrades. On the other hand, redundancy and business continuity is absolutely assured.
SMEs need to keep their costs rock bottom as their security and effectiveness must be sky high to be able to compete globally. Hence, the need to automate every single administrative task and respective alarms and notifications so that people can be used only for the core business and associated selling tasks. Huge profit with happy staff! What else?