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July 1, 2011

Outdated, manual document process tying European businesses down: research

Study finds European businesses are missing out on potential €46bn profits  

By CBR Staff Writer

Inefficient methods used by European businesses to process information could be causing them to miss out on potential profit increases of €46bn, says a new research published by technology and services company Ricoh Europe.

The study also found that employees across Europe spend a significant amount of their time managing business critical document processes. They spend approximately 362 million hours of their time per year on the function, which amounts to an overall business cost of €147 billion, said the Index.

The Index examines how European organisations are managing their business critical document processes; those that occur regularly and repeatedly and have a direct impact upon businesses interactions with clients and employees.

Ricoh Europe executive vice-president Carsten Bruhn said the report highlights that if European businesses are to meet the challenge of competing with emerging markets, it is essential that they look at the efficiency of their business critical document processes.

Despite the significant time and investment processing business critical documents, European businesses acknowledge that there is still room for improvement, said the report. The Index also reveals that European businesses are often reluctant to adopt time saving initiatives, such as outsourcing, due to security concerns.

Respondents said that their top three priorities are to increase knowledge sharing (67%), improve security (67%) and drive workforce effectiveness (65%). The main barriers to making these improvements are lack of time (45%) and lack of resources (35%).

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Despite available technology advances, the Index shows that many document processes are unnecessarily labour intensive and manual, with 43% of all business critical document processes relying on hard copy data and only 22% of respondents reported that their organisation utilised a fully automated workflow.

Bruhn said, "The Index clearly illustrates how outdated, manual processes have multiple impacts on the business. For example, if critical information is processed using traditional hard-copy methods, business risk is enhanced as they are less likely to be backed-up. They are also easier to lose, making them more prone to security breaches."

"It is also inevitable that employees are spending unnecessary time processing business documents, instead of focusing on the core business transactions and customer service," added Bruhn.

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