The Industrial Revolution in Disguise: How the Information Age Has Made MCS an Operational Imperative

Take a look at this list and see what comes to mind: Assembly line; Light bulb; Morse code; Telephone; PC; You’ve got mail!; Word processing; Walkman; Wireless internet; Google it!; iPod; Siri; iPad; GPS; Apple Pay; Amazon’s Echo; Electric cars; Driverless cars.

We can easily see how each of these innovations have made or are making their mark in history.  While some may not be universally adopted today, we know they mark a new trend in how a process has been improved.  Now it is up to us to use it.

As the pace of technological innovations has increased in this information age, we have become immune to many improvements and opted not to use them. From refusing to pay bills electronically to holding onto a land line rather than relying on cellular only, we all know someone who is hanging on to the old way of doing things.

While some innovations make such a drastic difference in productivity —  everyone wanted to jump on the assembly line immediately — others do not hold the same imperative and take longer to be available or affordable. It took a while before everyone could have telephone service. Email was exciting but demanded another service for the internet. Word processing on a keyboard replaced typing on the keys of a typewriter. Cell phones morphed into an all-in-one pocket device – from search tool, GPS, wallet for e-payments, game console, communication device, camera, flashlight, calculator, personal assistant etc.

Adoption of cool new things have their costs but also significant benefits, such as saving time and allowing us to do more faster, so we see an explosion of interest and demand when something new comes to market.

Managed Content Services (MCS) in the Heart of the Information Revolution

We can think of the current state of our business operations in the midst of this information revolution.  Already as WiFi, laptops, electronic receptionists and tablets govern our conference rooms, we have trappings of technology – but everyone has not invested in the services we need to improve our business processing.

Past innovations made us work smarter – automating manual activities (assembly lines, email), giving us electronic communications for virtual audio and visual meetings (cell phones, Skype), and information at our fingertips (internet, Google, Dropbox).

MCS is the business solution to enable us to use our tools and our human resources to achieve the necessary workflow automation, electronic notifications and access to what we need at our fingertips.  Along with this solution, however, businesses need to change the way they operate, including adopting the processes, staffing or retraining the right people in the right positions and planning for the change and the effects of working with more information.

Industrial Revolution to Information Revolution

Navigating through the MCS offerings can be daunting, but identifying specific needs for the right requirements will help in ultimately finding the right solution.  We know a trusted advisor with greater knowledge and the potential to educate our decision-makers is critical, but as business owners, the first hurdle to jump will be identifying the future state that they want to achieve.

  • Is it to transform their scanning operation to advanced capture – for easy search and retrieval?
  • Is it to add automated workflows to bring their document management system to the next level of content management?
  • Is it to inject greater accountability, security and flexibility in your processes?
  • Is it to embrace the data and use it correctly to optimize the company for its greatest efficiency?
  • Or is it dealing with the compliance issues that keep you up at night?

The problem list can be endless as is the solutions list, from simple digitization to advanced workflow with built-in accountability, business analytics, security and mobile capabilities that give users not only fingertip access but the ability to get what they need 24/7 in their workspace of the future.

We can summarize those major changes with a few categories:
Processing. Our personal environment has reaped the benefits of innovation making our lives more productive.  In business, the equipment is there to help us function more effectively, but we need the software solution to transform our processing.
People. Do you have a data scientist? With our ability to capture more information in our processes, we have volumes of data that can help us optimize and learn more about our operational efficiency. Just like telephones needed operators, the advent of MCS requires people with new skills – administrators of the MCS solutions, data scientists to digest the big data, staff ready to ditch paper processes and relearn their jobs in a new solution.
Planning. Strategic planning always plays a role in the innovative process.  Refusing to jump on the innovation curve will only get you so far. A  self-assessment of your current state will drive the requirements for your future state that prepares you to navigate the ever-changing offers that exist for MCS.

Turning Business as Usual on its Head

Activating your business transformation means rethinking the process.

“Organizations are increasingly looking at large-scale transformation … technology, culture and process change that are all interconnected.” — ZDNet

But, knowing how to seize the opportunity can be a veritable minefield with many choices, many price points and many capabilities.  Once you acknowledge that you are ready to ditch the old ways for a better way, and understand your staff will be asked to do their jobs in a new way and give up processes in which they were comfortable, you can approach that second hurdle: finding the fit.

Who, What, Where, When, Why and  How [or Why, What, How, When and Who]

Why? Everyone has the same goal: to find a better way to operate our businesses with processes that leverage new technology and give tangible savings, soft benefits, a measurable ROI and productivity gains.

What? The MCS space has many providers with many services  pitching proprietary solutions and reselling the developers’ solutions such as advanced capture, automated workflow, file sharing, SharePoint migration, records management, analytics, mobile capabilities and cloud.

How? These sellers need to provide consulting services to clearly understand your needs, your budget and your long-term goals:

  • If you plan to grow and need scalability.
  • If you plan to expand to other departments once you have introduced MCS into your organization.
  • If you are looking to replace a legacy system that cannot handle your growth.
  • If you want the flexibility that mobility provides.
  • If you have a five-year plan to get the integration done.

When? The match of needs to capabilities plus the sophistication of the reseller will enable you to successfully select and install an MCS solution.

Who? The consultants must be able to take you from the initial education stage, listen to your challenges, and continue to modify their recommendation until you mutually find the match.  Your relationship and level of trust will drive your decision. While you select a solution based on your needs, you will gravitate to the consultant that listens and understands.

There IS a Better Way

“… Real returns come from seizing the opportunity to remake business processes to take advantage of new digital ways of achieving better, faster and more effective results” – Diginomica

The last hurdle to consider is adoption. Transformative innovations are not always accepted and easily adopted.  According to an AIIM White Paper, “Enterprise Content Management – What I Have ~ What I Need,” “ECM initiatives require employee participation from all corners of the enterprise.” Each new generation in the Information Age accepts technological change more readily, but overall adoption in your organization will be the key to measurable success and finding the better way to operate your business.


Joanne E. Novak
Konica Minolta Business Solutions

This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of The Imaging Channel.