Cost Savings and Happier Constituents Can Result from Better Government Document Workflow

Global research shows government lags behind commercial sector
in efficiency and effectiveness of document-driven processes

TOKYO, Sept. 24, 2013 — Governments around the world are aware their document processes are inefficient, yet fixing them is not a priority, especially in this period of austerity. Government agencies, however, are missing substantial opportunities to save money, better serve constituents and retain valuable employees.

These are the findings of an IDC Government Insights Market Spotlight based on an IDC white paper sponsored by Ricoh entitled: “Government: Fixing Document Processes Improves Constituent Services While Reducing Costs, July 2013.”

“Government agencies, even within an austerity context, have great opportunities to drive out costs and reduce spending while maximizing service quality to the public,” says the IDC Government Insights Market Spotlight. “This can often be done by taking a more strategic approach to cutting costs, by leveraging existing technology and supplier partnerships, and with relatively little incremental investment.”

Several key findings arose from the IDC global survey of 1,516 document-driven process owners and information workers:

Ineffectiveness, inefficiency — Only 36 percent of government respondents characterized their constituent-facing document-driven processes as efficient and effective, compared to 52 percent for commercial sector customer-facing processes. Government was among the lowest-ranked industries for document process efficiency in the survey.

Lack of urgency — Even though they are aware of process efficiencies, only 1 in 3 government respondents placed greater importance on projects for improving document-driven processes than over IT projects. That’s 10 points lower than the commercial sector.

Substantial cost-saving potential — If they could fix all issues in their constituent-facing processes, government respondents said their overall costs would be reduced by 9 percent. These fixes would also improve services to constituents, help retain employees and help attract younger workers, the research indicated.

“Many observers believe governments should try to operate more like businesses, and businesses are clearly committed to improving document processes,” said Yoshi Sasaki, General Manager, Business Services Center, Business Solutions Group, Ricoh Company, Ltd. “Although government budget constraints are real, this research proves that investments in improving document workflow, even modest ones, can be substantially recouped through cost savings, retention, satisfaction and increased capacity.”

A simple example, document process improvements can correct errors that currently result in late or incomplete tax collections or overpayment of expensive human services benefits.

For best results, Ricoh recommends taking a broad view of document process improvement. “Although many government agencies have budgets that are restricted to their own units or departments, documents typically span most every government agencies and processes,” said Sasaki. “Consequently, we would advise government agencies to take a more strategic view and look to work across agencies for improving their processes to maximize their return.”

For more research findings and resources on how improved processes can help businesses increase revenue and manage risk, please visit: Ricoh Global MDS or refer to Ricoh’s Process Imperative – an on-going initiative to promote understanding of new document processing paradigms that help enterprises leverage the collective wisdom embodied in their organizations.

About Ricoh MDS
Ricoh is uniquely equipped to assist its customers execute a comprehensive strategy for document process improvement that helps reduce costs and potentially increase revenue through its Managed Document Services approach. Its proven methodology (Understand, Improve, Transform, Govern and Optimize) helps Ricoh pinpoint an organization’s key processes and then align them with services that will help customers achieve measurable and sustainable business outcomes. The knowledge Ricoh has gained through its thousands of implementations has also provided insight into the top business concerns that are most prevalent in today’s corporate environments including: cost control, environmental sustainability, information security and governance, business process efficiency, organizational change management, information worker (iWorker) productivity, information optimization and strategic infrastructure. This valuable insight helps accelerate the first step in the process — Understand — so customers can begin the Improve phase more quickly and start realizing the resulting benefits as soon as possible.

  • IDC Government Insights Market Spotlight, sponsored by Ricoh, “Government: Fixing Document Processes Improves Constituent Services While Reducing Costs,” August 2013.
  • IDC White Paper, “Organizational Blind Spot: The Role of Document-Drive Business Processes in Driving Top-Line Growth”, Doc# 234430R, Sept 2012”