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BPO Bulletin

Outdated, Inefficient Workflows Still Hindering Business Productivity

by Ken Neal
August 5, 2015

A major pain point for many companies is improving manual, paper-intensive and often antiquated document workflows so business transactions can be completed more efficiently. In order to alleviate this and other challenges, some companies are obtaining significant business benefits by implementing automation technology and strategies.

In a recent IDC Technology Spotlight, sponsored by Canon Business Process Services, one key finding focused on the specific source within document workflows that prompted automation. One third of the respondents (33%) mentioned that they manually extract content from paper-based workflows to integrate content from the document within the workflow, while 22% stated that they manually extract content from digital documents1.

According to the IDC Technology Spotlight when organizations deploy services and solutions that digitally convert and integrate content within a workflow, users obtained significant benefits. Time and cost savings were the two most measured benefits while productivity was third, followed by error reductions and increases in revenue and return on investment.

A Canon client case study illustrates the benefits of automation within accounts payable processing. A bank was failing Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) audit findings and experiencing low overall accounts payable (AP) processing performance. The bank received, via mail, about 8,000 non-purchase order paper invoices monthly. This was increasing the cost and cycle time of the invoice process. Integrating non-PO invoices with the procure-to-pay system that processes the bank’s PO invoices electronically could improve operational efficiency, increase on-time payment, reduce costs and improve its SOX compliance.

We implemented a solution that includes centralized receipt of the non-PO paper invoices, automated workflow for processing the invoices and improved procedures for managing exceptions. Results include an eighty percent reduction in the number of SOX audit findings during the past year. Additionally, the bank realized a twenty percent reduction in overall AP processing costs annually and a significant reduction in invoice payment cycle time.

The Canon-sponsored IDC Technology Spotlight also highlights the annual returns that financial services, insurance, manufacturing and healthcare companies are obtaining by automating document workflows. These returns include cost and time savings, productivity improvement and error reduction.

For insights contained in other Canon Business Process Services white papers, survey reports and case histories focused on process automation visit the Insights page of our website.

1. IDC Technology Spotlight, sponsored by Canon Business Process Services, Document Workflow Study: Implementing Solutions and Realizing Benefits. Adapted from Business Workflow Automation and Optimization Study Drivers, by Ron Glaz, and three reports: Pain Points that Drive Manufacturing, Healthcare and Financial, IDC #252543, #252417 and #251828

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