Three Ways to Corral Risk With Document Services

Risk

Managed document services have a well-earned reputation for improving operational efficiency and driving down costs, but service providers that focus their sales on just these basic benefits may be missing an even greater value-add in MDS and managed print.

According to recent industry research, a large and growing number of business decision-makers say deficiencies in their document-driven business processes put their organizations at risk and jeopardize their ability to comply with regulatory requirements. Beyond just trying to squeeze a few dollars from IT and office equipment budgets, executives see proper document processes and management as a way to ward off fines, bad publicity, lost customers and data breaches.

That spells opportunity for MDS providers who can identify shortcomings in document-driven business activities and help implement both technology and process changes in order to position their MDS offerings as high-value risk management and compliance services.

Document Processes Are ‘Defective’

The dire state of document management in many organizations and the impact of inadequate document processes on risk and compliance are shown in a recent IDC survey of 1,516 document-driven business process owners and information workers. Nearly 45 percent of those polled say their document-driven business processes are defective, and a whopping 76 percent say their organization has experienced serious business risks or compliance shortcomings as a result.

Of those wounded by their poor document-handling practices, 36 percent failed to meet compliance requirements, 30 percent lost key employees, 25 percent lost major customers, 24 percent had a major IT breach, 20 percent were audited and 19 percent suffered a major public relations crisis. IDC estimates the overall cost of such document-driven process failures is at least 10 times the direct out-of-pocket costs when organizations consider staff time and executive oversight required for rework and process reviews along with costs associated with lost business opportunity and customers.

That’s led to a growing realization that proper management of print and digital documents and associated processes is more than a back-office cost and efficiency issue. As businesses grow more aware that failures in document processes jeopardize top-line revenue and introduce risk, decision-makers in the C-suite are increasingly receptive to technology partner solutions that holistically address the way print and digital documents are created, shared, archived and destroyed.

 A Risk Management Power Play

To take advantage of the client’s heightened risk and compliance awareness, managed document and print services providers should meet the document-driven business process challenges head-on. The playbook includes the following moves:

Address document-driven businesses processes upfront. Leading the MDS/MPS conversation with the risk and compliance imperative makes sense when we consider the IDC data that shows inadequate document processes and procedures are rampant across nearly every business size, geography and vertical industry. With three of every four companies reporting significant and costly risk and compliance issues attributable to their broken document processes, services providers have a ripe opportunity to demonstrate real business value beyond traditional cost savings. With the increase in receptive and educated business IT decision-makers, initial document management assessments should be crafted to address both general risk mitigation and industry-specific regulatory requirements.

Be a change agent. Key to the success of a comprehensive document process and management initiative is total organizational buy-in. Many businesses arrived at their broken document process situation through delegation of document management responsibilities and unclear jurisdiction regarding document-driven security, risk management and regulatory compliance. In fact, process decisions that affect the organization’s total risk and compliance profile are often beyond the scope of line-of-business managers. Here’s where the third-party services provider can be an agent of cultural change, attaching the document process and management overhaul to an organizational shift that puts high-priority document-driven business process decisions in the hands of executives with sufficient span of control.

Become a trusted advisor for the long haul. Establishing a lasting relationship in document management services must go beyond hardware and software solutions and shuffling of internal staff. Even the most cutting-edge technologies applied to broken processes will only serve to cement the client’s inefficiencies in place. Similarly, internal staff is more likely to perpetuate existing culture than to challenge it. The partner is better positioned to address the client’s underlying document process and management issues with deep expertise and a strong outside perspective. The trusted advisor ensures the required changes are implemented and builds long-term entanglement with the client by continuing to assess and optimize document systems and processes.

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