Employees and members want self-service, tech-forward options

Traditional document management systems were designed to store documents, more particularly member documents such as signature cards, loan paperwork, account statements, teller receipts and checks. This leaves a significant gap within today’s institution: internal, non-member documents—everything from administration to accounting, purchasing and human resources functions.

However, if you are storing content in multiple systems, no matter what kind of content it is, you are missing some of the greatest values of digital management. And you can’t scoop up all the internal inefficiency that you have so far overlooked if your departments are still shuttling paper around.

Enter the truly universal repository.

Internal documents have long been overlooked in document imaging decisions, probably in large part because legacy imaging systems are not able to handle non-member documents. A 2014 credit union survey shows that only 60% of credit unions manage their accounting reports electronically. That’s not a high rate compared to member-facing documents, which are 90% electronic. And it gets worse: only about 30% of the internal documents in the human resources and all other departments combined are managed electronically.

Clearly, these internal documents continue to be stored on paper and on network drives with no indexing. In the cases where they are stored electronically, completely different systems are almost always used, adding costs for acquisition, management, maintenance and other overhead. From an IT standpoint, creating any separate system is never trivial, especially for ongoing support.

The most advanced document imaging systems give credit unions the ability to store departmental documents without compromising security of sensitive information. For example, human resources documents can be stored in the departmental section of the ECM repository, but still limit access to only the employees with authority to view them, or from only specific locations. The permissions functions are customizable and easy to manage.

Document management should no longer be viewed simply as a way to eliminate paper, although this is an important start to the process. Document management is a vital solution for all content that helps you cut costs, run your business more efficiently and provide better service to your members. Frankie Dueñas, CTO of Cabrillo Credit Union, made this claim for his institution’s advanced system, “Document imaging is as important to us as our core processor.” We think that sums it up well.

Document Imaging Fuels the Future

In this series, we have looked at five strategies you can use to move from legacy document imaging systems to advanced enterprise content management (ECM). Each can generate productivity and hard cost savings that can be redirected to member growth and service. Together, they can make a positive impact on every one of your credit union’s strategic goals. What goals are we talking about, and what does document imaging have to do with them, aside from releasing wasted resources?

In the short term, to remain competitive, credit unions must offer basic new services such as online loan origination and membership application. Current ECM technology provides a pathway to such services.

Some systems also offer the ability to make information available to members through a web portal in online banking, and even produce email notifications. This enhances self-service and reduces the need to make paper copies of electronic documents for members visiting a branch.

And the effects of advanced ECM are not limited to immediate improvements, but speak to your future goals as well. For example:

· Without advanced ECM, you aren’t prepared to take maximum advantage of all the data mining you should be able to do with your member data.

· Without advanced ECM, you will be unable to fully provide direct access to your members, when they want it, where they want it.

·  Without advanced ECM, you won’t be participating in the collaborative nature of digital information sharing.

It is time to move forward. How?

If you haven’t evaluated your imaging processes recently, it is time to do so. Credit unions have devoted countless hours into adapting their workflow to be as efficient as possible. However, the key is to be able to look at your current processes, no matter how efficient, and see the opportunities for further improvement with the help of the right technology.

The needs assessment investigation you do forms the basis for understanding what ECM features and functions are most important to you, and gives you a good idea what productivity gains you can achieve. Today’s document management systems, however, offer a complex array of technologies, features, price models and providers.

To further assist, we can provide you with our technology evaluation checklist, which you can use to compare your own current system to today’s industry best practices. The checklist, available here, includes the following sections: (1) Technical and Functional; (2) Acquisition and Implementation; and (3) Vendor Considerations. It doesn’t tell you what technology is right for you, but it reflects the latest offerings in the marketplace and delineates the factors you need to be aware of as you move towards a solution. This tool also makes a useful guide for RFP creation and vendor selection.

This is the final post in a five-part series examining how you can fuel your strategic goals through savings from updating your document imaging (enterprise content management) technology.