5 benefits of automation and why you should learn to start loving the machines


I love a good sci-fi movie and have always enjoyed the dystopian ones in which the machines take over the world.

Movies such as The Terminator and The Matrix show what could happen if artificial intelligence (AI) becomes too smart and decides humans should no longer be part of the equation.

That kind of thinking has also filtered into real life, with many people fearing that the machines will ‘take their jobs’ and render them homeless.

As usual, the truth is a lot more mundane and benign than Hollywood would have you believe.

While it is true that machines are replacing some jobs, they are often the type of job humans would rather not do. Dangerous and physically-demanding tasks can be usefully transferred to robots and humans can be “reskilled” into new areas of work.

In an office environment, you might say there is nothing to worry about. It isn’t a cavernous coal mine or an underwater drilling operation, it’s computer work! What have you got to be afraid of?

However, boredom can also be a killer. Every month, knowledge workers spend countless hours performing manual data entry, routing and archiving. These tasks are not just unfulfilling for workers,  they are also costly for businesses.

This is where automation comes in. Thanks to advances in technology, software can now assist knowledge workers such as accountants with many of the menial tasks they are assigned.

A simple of example of automation in action would be in invoice approval.

With DocuWare’s solution, workers can capture paper or digital invoices, index their data with zero manual entry and route them through a defined, digital queue based on cost centres, amounts, PO numbers and other variables. Following this, the data can be sent back to applications such as SAP, Sage, Microsoft Dynamics or Quickbooks, which all seamlessly integrate with DocuWare.

 

Benefits of automation

I’ve spoken before about the importance of digital transformation, and no journey towards digitisation can be complete without process automation. In order to stay competitive in the modern business world, companies must capture, index, route and archive more information than ever before.

Here at Docuworx, we are proud to be an official platinum partner of DocuWare, which we believe provides the world’s best workflow and automation solutions. Here are some key benefits that automating processes can deliver:

  1. Drive efficiency

The common expression ‘I’m only human’ says it all. No matter how great your workforce is, they are going to make mistakes. However, automation limits the potential for errors in business processes, driving efficiency. With DocuWare, you can build configurable, ad-hoc workflows for smarter work environments and add document management capabilities quickly.

  1. Reduce risk

With the many high-profile hacks and breaches happening worldwide, compliance is at the forefront of many CIOs minds. Using DocuWare, you can implement rules, logic and standards to secure and enhance control over business-critical information.

  1. Improve profits

Every company in the world wants to get maximum return on investment and improve profits. DocuWare allows you to go ‘beyond bottom-line efficiency’, leveraging data analytics to contribute to top-line growth, revenue and profitability.

  1. Enhance use of workforce

Automation also frees up your workforce so that they pursue more ‘high value’ tasks. Rather than wasting time with repetitive, menial tasks, your employees can dedicate more time to seeking out value-accretive initiatives for the company.

  1. Gain deeper insights

Companies are dealing with more data than ever, but at the same time they often don’t know how to get the most out of it. DocuWare’s automation solution centralizes valuablee document and process knowledge into one system, integrating directly with your ERP for a complete picture of your business and deeper insights.

 

Augmentation rather than replacement

Going back to my earlier point, movies about killer robots are fun, but we need to stop seeing machines as threats in the workplace and instead focus on the myriad benefits that automation can bring about.

We are rapidly moving into a future in which we will be augmented rather than replaced by AI. One thing that is absolutely certain is that we cannot ‘switch off’ technology. And if that’s the case, we are much better off befriending it.

At present, countless work hours are spent tediously entering and managing data. This is not only causing your staff major headaches but also slowing your business down. To learn more about how Docuworx can help you speed up your vital business processes, contact us today.

Latest DocuWare version features all-new Australia region setting


One of the great things about DocuWare is that it is always improving. When you purchase a licence and professional services from us, you are guaranteed to always have access to the latest and greatest version of the software that’s critical to your business operations.

As a platinum reseller of DocuWare in Australia, we are also constantly working with DocuWare’s headquarters in Germany on ways to improve the product for its Australian user base.

This month, we are excited to announce that DocuWare has added regional setting support for Australia and we are currently in the process of rolling it out to our local clients.

The setting is available in DocuWare version 7.2 and will include the Australian dollar and Australian date format.

DocuWare’s addition of the Australian setting shows its commitment to its Australian userbase and is further recognition of the fast growth we are seeing here at Docuworx.

In April, core members of the Docuworx team attended DocuWorld Europe 2019 in Spain, the flagship event for DocuWare partners worldwide. At the event, we joined over 450 participants in workshops, lectures, and networking activities, and promoted the rising need for workflow solutions in Australia.

It was an extremely productive trip for Docuworx, which was one of the first Australian companies to attend a DocuWorld event, and we are happy to report that we will be attending the next event in Berlin in 2020.

An increasing number of Australian companies of all sizes are starting to see the major benefits that can be reaped from workflow automation and are commencing their digital transformation journeys.

We have already commenced the rollout of version 7.2 to our current clients and expect to complete it during the current quarter.

Always up to date, always improving

On a related note, the latest update of DocuWare’s mobile app was also announced this month and it allows users to upload documents directly to DocuWare from their smartphones and use the power of Intelligent Indexing.

Users can upload photos or documents from other apps to a DocuWare tray, which are now displayed in the mobile app, and then store them in a virtual file cabinet.

Trays can be set up to use Intelligent Indexing and suggestions for a self-learning service for indexing to make filing easier and faster than ever.

Intelligent Indexing is a powerful tool that transforms data from being unstructured to invaluable. It is able to instantly identify the most valuable information on a document and convert it into content that is highly structured and usable. Thanks to machine learning and the cloud, Intelligent Indexing is able to improve its speed, accuracy and reliability as its userbase grows.

The mobile DocuWare app can be used with DocuWare 6.10 or higher and is available for Android and iPhone.

Any questions? Get in touch

DocuWare’s core solution undergoes two major updates each year to ensure that its users have the most efficient and cutting-edge technology available to help run their businesses.

At DocuWorx, we work with all of our clients on providing the latest DocuWare updates.

If you have any questions about the updates or are interested in a free consultation on how Docuworx can help you, contact us today.

How one Australian conglomerate is embracing digital transformation


Digital transformation is more than just a catchphrase, it is a global movement that is improving businesses and customer experiences worldwide.

Although embarking on a digital transformation can be daunting and requires investment, many companies worlwide are starting that journey because they know it will pay off in the future.

We’ve already looked at how Blockbuster missed their big opportunity to digitally transform their business, and we all know how that ended for them.

The inverse of this is, of course, Netflix, which is now a $122 billion-dollar company. As noted by customer experience expert Blake Morgan, when done strategically, digital transformation can improve stock prices and revenue in the long run. Consider the chart below:

Source: Forbes

However, these are all American-headquartered companies. How about in Australia? Well, one Australian conglomerate which has recently begun to embrace digital transformation is Wesfarmers (ASX:WES).

In June, Wesfarmers held its Strategy Briefing Day, outlining the key initiatives it had undertaken in FY19 and its plans for the years ahead.

‘Data & digital’ was one of the key areas of focus for the group, which said it will continue to invest in its e-commerce and efficiency capabilities as well as improving back-end systems and processes to support future growth.

More specifically, Wesfarmers last year invested in the creation of an Advanced Analytics Center which uses purchasing and other customer data to calculate and calibrate the value of customer offers and loyalty programmes.

“The advanced analytics centre will assist in utilising data science and best-practice analytics to enhance our decision making, develop new business opportunities and help solve problems across the group in a range of areas including customer insights, pricing, ranging, salesforce effectiveness and supply chain management,” Wesfarmers Managing Director Rob Scott said.

Over the past five years, Wesfarmers’ Bunnings hardware store chain has been the main target of growth expenditure, according to the FY19 Strategy Briefing Day.

 

Source: Wesfarmers Strategy Briefing Day

This is in part due to Bunning’s disastrous entry (and exit) from the UK market but also involves the Wesfarmer’s ongoing investments in digital transformation.

When you think about hardware stores, digital technology is probably the last thing that comes to mind.

However, in FY20 Bunnings announced that would be outlaying $30 million on upgrading its online sales platform to enable click-and-collect.

Following an initial pilot in Tasmania (Bunnings is not rushing this after the UK debacle), click-and-collect will be rolled out in Victoria and then the rest of Australia.

As part of the Bunnings digital transformation initiative, Wesfarmers says it is investing in “specialised skill sets” to accelerate its data and analytics capabilities.

Broadly speaking, these capabilities will span four use cases:

  • Safety -identifying contributing factors to safety incidents,
  • Localisation- in-store product ranges are tailored to meet local conditions
  • Inventory optimisation- to improve in-stock position and increase productivity
  • Personalisation- for personalised marketing and customer interactions

Source: Wesfarmers Strategy Briefing Day

Wesfarmers is also accelerating its digital transformation efforts across other parts of the group.

Blackwoods, which is the largest provider of industrial and safety supplies in Australia and also part of the group, is currently in the process of replacing its 30-year-old Focus COBOL-based system with a new Microsoft Dynamics ERP.

However, according to the latest reports, this initiative has been facing some roadblocks, as the team battles to migrate a generation’s worth of legacy code.

“The performance of the Industrial and Safety business was disappointing, reflecting the impact on Blackwoods’ earnings from ongoing investment in customer service and the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system,” Scott said in Wesfarmers FY19 results briefing in August.

The struggle to implement the new ERP system highlights how digital transformations may not always go smoothly.

However, if the brains behind the world’s – and Australia’s- biggest companies think it is worth it, you should definitely be looking at how to digitise aspects of your business.

As for Wesfarmers share price, after a rough end to 2018, this year has seen it steadily climb, rising approximately 23% year to date. While that isn’t as dramatic as some of the gains seen in the American companies mentioned earlier, it is certainly still an impressive increase.

Source: Google Finance

At Docuworx, we facilitate the digital transformations of business and organisations across Asia-Pacific, specialising in document management and workflow automation. To learn more about how we can help your business, contact us today.

What are workflows? How can automation improve them?


It is often said that many of the jobs that people do today didn’t exist 10 or 20 years ago. With technology moving at such a quick pace, it can be hard to keep up with all the developments and new terminologies. Indeed, one of the first questions we often face when dealing with new clients is “What is a workflow?”

Put simply, a workflow is a collection of business processes that are executed to achieve a specific goal.

What distinguishes a workflow from a process, is that workflows generally have more moving parts, and are the sum of multiple related processes.

Workflows can be simple or complex. An example of the former would be approving an invoice, while the latter might include the multiple steps required to connect several departments and manage inventory.

Without the use of a workflow solution, the traditional processes that comprise a workflow tend to be menial, repetitive and time-consuming tasks.

In the past, employees might have to physically deliver documents, sort through files and contact various people throughout the organisation to execute a single workflow.

However, with a workflow automation solution, software is able to automatically route tasks according to a defined set of rules, which greatly streamlines things.

For example, let’s say an employee wants to record an expense they have incurred. They can do this by simply taking a photo of the receipt with a smartphone and uploading it into the company’s document management system. The system can then recognise the value of the expense and send it to the appropriate person for approval. Once approved, the expense can be re-routed to accounting so that reimbursement can be arranged.

In essence, there are four types of workflow: manual routing, which are very simple workflows sent through the system manually by a user, ad hoc, which are slightly more advanced than manual routing, rules-based, which allow for pre-determined and standardized processes to be executed without user interaction, and advanced, which are highly structured but flexible workflows that transition between automated and ad hoc as required.

There are a number of workflow solutions on the market, so choosing can be difficult. After scouring the market, we identified Docuware as the best solution and have since become an authorised platinum partner of Docuware in Australia.

With Docuworx, your business can save considerable time and effort via the use of Docuware automation and workflow solution, assisting you with:

  • Visual Workflow Paths Provide consistency and visibility into your day-to-day tasks
  • Task Routing accelerates the decision making and approval process automatically
  • Workflow Designer enables drag-and-drop customizability

Before embarking on your digital transformation journey, it is important that you strike the right balance between simply digitising processes and rejigging your entire business. Workflow automation should be seen as the enhancement rather than replacement of your business, and, for this reason, should not be feared.

We begin each engagement with our customers by visiting their business and analyzing and documenting their business processes. We call this the “discovery phase” and it is a crucial step in understanding a business so that we can help tailor-make the right solution.

Contact us today and register for our next luncheon presentation to find out more about how workflow automation can improve your business.

What is digital transformation? Why do it?


Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to improve existing business processes or create new ones.

Going digital has a myriad of benefits, allowing companies to increase speed and efficiency while reducing costs.

Companies just getting started have the advantage of being “born digital” but older or already established entities must embark on digital transformations or risk getting left behind.

Why do it? A useful analogy is the VHS/DVD rental industry.

Back in 2000, CEO of Netflix Reed Hastings offered to sell Blockbuster CEO John Antioco his business for US$50m.

At the time, Netflix ran a DVD mailing service which Antioco considered to be “very small and niche”.

Netflix spent the next few years creating an online digital library of streaming content.

The rest is history. Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010 and today, Netflix is worth over US$130bn.