Authored by Kevin Ledgister, ImageSoft’s Marketing Manager

When September 11, 2001 occurred and all flights were grounded, it caused the banking world, still dependent on flying checks around the country to settle accounts, an ulcer. Of course, there had been some prior discussions in regard to sending electronic images, but this fateful day expedited those talks into actions, changing everything. Regulations and electronic banking standards were quickly adopted as technology providers introduced innovative features that eliminated the need to move hundreds of millions of paper checks per day.

Fast forward to 2020 and we’re facing another evolutionary leap in the way that America does business. Unlike 9/11, we can’t go to our offices or workplaces unless it’s considered a community essential. For many office workers who are stuck at home, IT departments had to scramble to provide users with remote access – but that’s only one part of the picture. Prior to COVID-19, if a worker’s day involved touching, reviewing and/or routing any form of paper, that part of the operation stopped. This kind of abrupt work cease not only causes confusion and stress, but creates financial hardship if  affecting receivables, and risks public safety if within a trial court.

While paper can’t be fully eliminated from every business process, (after all, people are still writing checks), it’s no surprise that business leaders who have resisted enterprise content management (ECM) systems and electronic workflows are now quickly reconsidering. Just like the banks who, entrusted with people’s livelihoods, digitally transformed on a dime to protect their data and assets, so too will government departments, insurance agencies and entire justice ecosystems have to seek higher ground to protect their customer data and sustain public safety.

The Luxury of Time

You see, we used to have time to mull over these options. To weigh the costs and ROI, ponder the expansiveness, and schedule tentative meetings with potential implementation partners. But the luxury of time is now gone – we need remote working capabilities now. The stop-gap measures that are allowing staff to work remotely are not sustainable once we’re out of this crisis.

I recently surveyed courts across the country and they consistently cited the need to permanently change how they operate once this crisis is over. The excuses and recalcitrance of leaders who insisted that the old way was good enough were suddenly forced to embrace the very technology they resisted. I, however, hesitate to use the word “forced” in these contexts – this, my friends, is an opportunity. It’s the swift kick our society needed to see the fragility of our data and operations. That what is normal and works today can, without warning, be useless and inaccessible tomorrow. You know this – you’re living it.

I am encouraging (imploring, really) every organization to look closely at their operational infrastructure. Take an audit of what, if you couldn’t be at the office, wouldn’t work. Are people using multiple folders in Outlook to manage business processes that you have no visibility into? Have you considered web technology that can replace dependence on installed apps requiring VPN? How do you stop paper from the moment it enters your organization and support its digital travels after that? Do you have a heavy-handed approach to IT that discourages the next generation of smart, innovative workers?

To continue standing remotely, what would need to change? How currently mobile are your operations? Consult with your trusted IT personnel and find a confident, reliable implementation partner to get you up and running. Even if it’s a temporary, stand-up solution that sees you through these times of short-lived office closures, please don’t delay. When it’s safe to do so, you can collaborate on an end-to-end, truly digital solution to mobilize future goals and overhaul productivity. Today, you just need to sustain operations.

“Working in a Mobile World” – We’ve Been There

ImageSoft also had to make the sudden, necessary call for our staff to shelter in place. Knowing our customers rely on us for solution support, and that they too would need extra assistance during this time, shutting down wasn’t an option. We thank our outstanding Technical Support team for their preparedness in being able to seamlessly transition all our staff to remote status with no interruption to our customers and very little adjustment for our team. Ensuring everyone was equipped with the resources and tools needed to sustain their roles, we’re continuing with business as usual (aside from looking forward to when we can reconvene in-person comradery, lunches and the normal way of “ImageSoft Life.”).

We recently caught up with the dynamic duo responsible for keeping us remote and afloat – Tom Hansel, ImageSoft’s Director of Customer Care (affectionately referred to as “Tom’s Teams,”) and Bill Lussenheide, Senior Business Systems Administrator. Tune into “Working in a Mobile World,” on The Paperless Podcast for our conversation with Tom and Bill on the necessary IT steps taken to ensure our successful emergency plan went off without a hitch.

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