Business News

Ineffective document processes costing Irish businesses €1.62bn per year

By Business & Finance
24 October 2013
Matthew McCann

Ricoh Ireland is today announcing the results of a survey which reveals that ineffective document management processes are costing Irish businesses €1.62bn annually.

The research also found that 85% of Irish businesses are finding it more difficult to secure and manage all documents being created across their organisations.

ComputerScope, in association with Ricoh, surveyed 200 IT professionals around the management of business documents and information flows within organisations in Ireland. One of the most alarming findings of the survey is that the average amount of time spent searching for business documents by employees is almost one hour per week, which amounts to more than five days lost per employee per year. The cost of this is estimated at €1.62bn per year.

91% of survey respondents use mobile devices to access business documents. Of these, 89% use laptops, 48% use smartphones and 37% use tablets.

With so many different ways to create and store business documents now, particularly with the rise in mobile device usage, 35% admitted their organisation doesn’t have policies in place to govern the accessing and storing of documents for all employees in their workplace. In addition, more than half (53%) don’t have a working system in place to effectively manage and retrieve their documents.

When asked about the top three concerns of managing documents effectively within their organisations, 89% highlighted security implications such as losing confidential company information as being the top concern. The other leading concerns were compliance and governance issues (60%) and inefficient processes (48%). With security and compliance ranking as the highest concerns, it is surprising that the survey found that almost two thirds (64%) of central IT departments don’t have visibility of all business documents held across their organisation.

With the European Commission taking clear strides this year to make e-invoicing the predominant form of invoicing in the coming years, including having e-invoicing in place for all public procurement by 2016, the survey found that 39% of organisations in Ireland were unaware of the recently published EC directives on e-invoicing.  On a more positive note, 67% now predominantly issue and store invoices in electronic format, as opposed to paper. This is in contrast to most European countries where paper invoices still remain most popular.

Matthew McCann, director, Ricoh Ireland, comments on the results: “In a time when Irish businesses need to be as productive and resourceful as possible, it’s worrying that so much time is being lost by employees attempting and failing to retrieve business documents. The overall cost of more than 1.6 billion euro in reduced productivity is a loss to the local economy which we can ill afford.

“The research highlights that a growing number of Irish organisations don’t have policies or systems in place to govern the access and storage of documents in the workplace. This has to be of real concern. There needs to be procedures put in place which enables every document to be properly indexed, searchable and archived in a working system. This will ensure secure availability at all times to those who need access, across multiple devices and locations.

“As the latest generation of graduates and young people join the workforce, they are used to having information instantly accessible at their fingertips through their smartphones and social media networks. In work, we need to be able to give them a similar – albeit more secure – experience. The businesses which remove all of the inefficiencies associated with poor information processes are much more likely to gain a competitive edge.

“There has been much focus in recent years in Ireland on the smart economy and rightly so. It’s therefore crucial that information workers here are provided with the freedom to operate as effectively as possible. With the right systems and procedures in place, there is a real opportunity to introduce better ways of working, improving productivity and morale, and ultimately providing a platform for enhanced revenue growth.”