The Importance of Having a User-Friendly Workflow
By Peter Fretty
Many people can relate to the scene from the movie “Office Space” when several employees take a baseball bat to an office printer.
Although the film made for a good laugh, challenges with office hardware and software do have a serious effect on the business. Ineffective tools and technology lead to frustration and, in many instances, result in employees disengaging. And worker disengagement is the last thing companies need, as digital transformation ups the competition ante. Organizations are depending heavily on employees to help them capitalize on the latest opportunities within the new digital economy.
What differentiates digital transformation from previous business trends is the focus on enabling engagement and enhancing the user experience. The new economy is fueled by organizations that have recognized the power of customizing to the customer.
Yet the customer experience is about more than how the organization interacts and empowers customers. It’s equally tied to how well internal customers, or users (i.e., employees, suppliers, and partners), are able to interact with technology to do their jobs. Here, a positive experience is critical for productivity and efficiency, and it starts with smooth, integrated interactions with software and hardware.
When employees can quickly and seamlessly connect with the content, work gets done faster and smarter. The best user experiences also enable seamless collaboration with coworkers and strategic partners, including the ability to effortlessly share documents needed to make timely decisions.
On the opposite side of the experience spectrum, failing to offer the workplace with an intuitive, consistent and desirable user environment may mean missing business goals. As Brian Berns writes in Forbes: “People are working harder, but they’re not working smarter. Due to job complexity, poorly designed applications and a general lack of training, many employees are just not accomplishing enough to leverage the innovation and drive growth that successful businesses require.”
Collaboration and interaction also play into productivity and innovation goals. However, according to the Forrester Consulting’s “Digital, Disparate and Disengaged” study, collaboration efforts, including technology investments, are missing the mark: only 26% of information workers say that their companies provide them with the tools needed to collaborate effectively. Keeping all participants engaged is a common problem, and remote workers are even more susceptible to feeling disconnected.
Furthermore, the study found that seamlessness is crucial to information workers who desire workspaces where teams can create, edit and share content and ideas (70%), and have the ability to save, store and organize content in the cloud for easy access, sharing and review (67%).
Refining the user experience
Add up these factors and the result is: It’s time for organizations to refine the user experience to enable the innovative, collaborative environment.
So, what does an excellent user experience look like? How does it come together? Considering that workers deal with data and devices all day long, it’s imperative to take an integrated approach to software and hardware. And as businesses continue to morph into data-centric organizations, the path to an excellent user experience starts with content management and a dedication to improving the document workflow.
Here are the top considerations when shaping the user experience:
Understand the issues. It is difficult to address any problem without first understanding challenges and frustrations. The best way to provide users with the experience they desire is to unearth issues through a workflow analysis. A well-structured examination will uncover areas of opportunity and serve as the foundation for investments. Ask: Are users struggling to gain access to documents when they need them? What are the challenges around scanning and storage processes?
Address ease of use. Few qualities affect the user experience as much as ease of use. Even the most powerful tools are meaningless if the interface is too complex or requires too many steps for employees to accomplish necessary tasks. The best way to ensure that your team appreciates the user experience is to have a cross section of members participate in the selection process. This allows them to provide valuable insight and identify any red flags well before making an investment.
Deliver seamless integration. In the regular course of business, an organization’s workforce typically leverages a bevy of tools or business systems. When one solution can bridge painful gaps between these various technologies, it helps streamline processes in employees’ day-to-day activities, empowering them to realign efforts toward bottom-line business goals like innovation. The key to success here is to find solutions that focus on integration. With work documents, this means technology that enables file sharing across an array of platforms. Systems should work together seamlessly, and if business technology isn’t agile and easy to integrate, organizations should seriously consider steps to make interactivity a reality.
The bottom line is: As businesses across all industries focus on enhancing their digital presence, it’s the user experience that is rapidly becoming the key differentiator. When addressed, it empowers users to work effectively, opening the door to innovation.
Case in point
Documentation is a key component within any healthcare environment. And naturally, providers need access to these documents on a regular basis to ensure consistent, quality care. Unfortunately, when organizations lack the processes and the right technology, document storage and retrieval can become cumbersome.
Consider a rehab facility that was suffering from inconsistency in storing and retrieving vital patient data. While well-intentioned volunteers were doing their best to help manage the constant influx of patient documents by scanning and filing, they each had their own way of doing it. Understandably, the results were inconsistent and inaccurate, with a large margin for human error.
After an analysis, the facility deployed multifunction printers embedded with a document workflow solution. The integrated technology is easy-to-use and standardizes the organization’s workflow with digital imaging, distribution, retrieval and archiving functionality. Now, when users enter the patient ID, they choose the document type from an intuitive pop-up menu. The solution enables automatic formatting of the document name and a folder tree with destination options.
The document workflow technology has saved time, as well as reduced costs and the potential for errors — all critical factors in patient care.
How KYOCERA can help
As a total document solution provider, KYOCERA offers a portfolio of services and solutions to streamline output management. Well beyond providing hardware solutions, KYOCERA empowers organizations with ongoing management, optimization, and lower document costs — all designed to reduce IT department workload and minimize environmental impact.
Kyocera’s solutions turn otherwise complex data and document workflows into simple, efficient processes. Leveraging decades of document workflow expertise, KYOCERA can play an instrumental role in analyzing organizations processes and mapping the way to a productive future.