Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Online processes are more than a web-based form

Some time last century the dream of lean, efficient, profitable businesses everywhere was to become paperless. In bulk, paper documents are expensive to process and store, and present a risk to a business through loss, whether that is misfiling or a natural disaster. So it seems smart to eradicate documents altogether and move to an online way of doing business, where you can put a web-based form online and automate your key processes.

Financial services organizations probably had the most to gain from the online world. Unfortunately this dream is elusive. For example, the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and the Patriot Act require organizations to implement effective anti-money laundering (AML) client identification programs. Since this requires physical documents to be presented as identification and contractual papers to be signed while comparing information against a range of business systems, this one process makes the efficient processing of applications using online technologies complex.

Since there are many other examples of why a ‘paperless’ organization with fully automated, straight-through processing, may remain a dream, a more pragmatic approach is required that enables documents to become part of efficient, integrated business processes.

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UPDATE: I need to note that this post is based on a piece I have had floating around on my desktop for a while. In the meantime I meant to reference a great item by James Taylor, The paperless office and decisioning, which puts some of this discussion into the context of Enterprise Decision Management.

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