Frustrated by the constant feeling of drowning in paperwork?
If you're annoyed by the slow response times or lack of accountability in your organization, your organization should seriously consider adopting a digital collaboration intranet solution.
As one of our clients learned, moving some of your workflows from a paper-based system to an electronic platform can fundamentally change how you do business for the better. Read on and see what a custom SharePoint intranet can do to reduce your business' paper problem.
Our client, one of the biggest nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C., had a lot of paper-based processes in place. So whenever they wanted to implement or enact anything, physical sheets of paper had to make their way from one desk to another.
For example, to submit a payment request, people had to fill out a paper form and hand it to their supervisor, who would then pass it along to the accounting department, and so on. There was a lot of trekking through the hallways, and it was hard for the original requester to determine the progress of their application at any given time. In addition, because everything was done manually, most of the relevant information remained locked inside people's heads.
First, we had to get the essential elements of the system out of the heads of our client and into our own. We started by organizing a lot of discovery and requirements gathering sessions to pinpoint the sources of our client's issues and find out what they needed from a solution. Based on these sessions, we created diagrams using Microsoft Visio that modeled their ideal workflow.
The second part of the process was building out the solution in a custom intranet portal in phases. Every time we implemented a few more requirements, we showed the results to the client to get their valuable feedback and modify our Microsoft Visio diagram. By the end, our diagram exactly matched the workflow of the custom SharePoint system we created.
The solution we created lets users keep track of the progress of their request at every step of the way. Whenever someone's input is needed, the system automatically notifies that person with the relevant information. Everything is stored inside this custom intranet solution, so there's no need to send or search for files yourself. Plus, because it's done inside SharePoint, all the proper security measures are in place. Rather than being able to see sensitive information left on someone's desk, employees can only see a particular electronic request if their input is required.
Obviously, there are a lot of benefits. It improves efficiency because you don't have to print documents out or physically move things around. The progress of the request is transparent to anyone involved, and there's no risk of losing documentation. And because it's a custom SharePoint platform, people working remotely can still access it. In addition, if your business is audited, you have a clear "paper trail" of electronic log entries showing who approved the request and when.
With a manual, paper-based business process, technically the only restrictions are the limits of the human body. When you convert this to a custom SharePoint intranet, however, you must simplify and streamline the process so that it fits the technical limitations of the platform you're using, while still ensuring the workflow runs as smoothly as it did before. It's crucial to meet with management and other key stakeholder’s to identify the essential steps in the workflow that will be brought over to your new intranet solution.