RESEARCH

Here are the results of a research project undertaken by Brian Worthington, the founder of VIABA Limited, to discover the problems industry has with process and operational documentation. Key staff in various industries were invited to share their experiences in terms of keeping it all accurate, up-to-date and actively used in the face of careers cycling faster and increasing levels of internal and external change affecting it.

The results led to the formation of VIABA Limited and the development of a solution to solve the problems identified.

SUMMARY

Process and operational documentation generally comprises numerous documents stored for example in repositories or shared drives. Whether it’s business processes, work instructions, standard operating procedures, GDPR-related documents, ISO-related documents, human resources documents, finance and SOX-related documents, franchise-orientated documents, project-related material, design/development/manufacturing artefacts, validation documents in a regulated environment, virtual team collaborative work products, education/training material, policies, standards and guidelines or service descriptions, that’s what most organisations have had for more than 25 years.

It’s not exactly digital age technology. It is easy to store documents, but it can be difficult to govern and there are inherent problems with usability.

FINDINGS

Here is a summary of the findings that were gathered from directors and senior consultants in various industries including manufacturing, retail, banking, business services, non-profit, pharmaceutical, energy, aviation and utilities:

– “It is simply not possible to keep Word/PDF/Visio files up do date and consistent amongst each other.”

– “You can safely assume most companies have a digital library that is a ‘Little Shop of Horrors’. They all fall out of sync, grow stale, and become a ‘defect in the process’. Hiring ‘librarians’ (from bygone days) can be a department. It is stuck, and content keeps growing. Anyway, if people don’t follow the process how will anybody know?”

– “Establishing control, training and standard ways is a difficult challenge. There are creeping workarounds, a lack of clarity and no single way. Growth and attrition make it harder. There is an unwillingness to spend on knowledge/process management. Minimum standards are attained, which are only just good enough.”

– “There is a massive compliance vs agility issue. Different approaches are followed with no one way of working. The impact on people is complexity, confusion, slow progress, increased pressure, frustration, emotional resignation and high stress.”

 – “There is a fragmented mass of diagrams and text documents. It’s a real problem.”

– “Staff knowledge is being lost. Bad habits and inefficiencies are creeping in. Redundant processes can be perpetuated. Connectivity between different processes can be lost. Quality is deteriorating. The baseline is lost. Continuous improvement opportunities are not spotted. Managers are losing visibility. There is both idling and overworking. Cost is not accurately tied to processes. Time/money is spent articulating and documenting the “AS IS” before future states can be defined. The incremental change impact is not fully understood.”

– “There is a finance/SOX need due to lack of linkages between documents. Also people now cycle their careers faster, which doesn’t help.”

CONCLUSION

Staying put is not an option, rip and replace is not an option and the volume of documentation is increasing, as is the severity of this problem.

A single, online location from where to point and click intuitively would be much better, but the only way to have that has been to migrate to a new online tool that allows maintenance and control of a framework of online pages.

There are countless tools like that available to choose from. Even if you think you’ve picked the right one there will be disruption to your day-to-day operations when you implement use of it. Then you’ll need a team to manage all the content using the tool you’ve chosen, with yet another layer of skills to manage and an inevitable bottleneck for content maintenance.

SOLUTION

VIABA Limited have devised a solution to this problem which means there is no need to select any of those online tools. It is applicable to businesses of ANY SIZE in ANY INDUSTRY.

The solution allows ANY employee to be delegated direct responsibility for managing a framework of linked online pages for staff to seamlessly and intuitively navigate and understand.

There’s no need for an IT project. There’s no need for any help from technical specialists. There’s no need for a new online authoring tool or a new documentation storage solution. There’s no need for any new operational skills.

The VIABA solution to this problem is enabled by an innovative and extremely simple to use software mechanism called EUPUT, the End User Page Upload Toolkit. In a few clicks EUPUT converts pages of content created with any everyday authoring tool (such as MS PowerPoint®, Google Slides®, Google Docs®, etc.) into online HTML pages that can easily link to each other and to elsewhere, with functionality for you to control user access, routing and viewing permissions.

REALISATION OF BENEFITS

Documentation is easier to find. It is easier to follow. It is easier to maintain. There are no links or copies in inboxes or hard drives. There are no distribution lists to manage. There is no inadvertent use of obsolete document versions. Business, IT and Regulatory changes are absorbed more easily.

Users refer to the documentation more frequently. Their suggestions for improvement are incorporated rapidly. They know and trust the content. There is no need to rely on local knowledge. New and redeployed users are fully productive more quickly. Automatic tracking of page visits demonstrates the level of compliance to any authority.

Implementation of the solution involves no disruption to business operations. It is 100% business-led using an incremental approach, and operational benefits are delivered at every incremental step. 

The result is increased operational quality, compliance, agility and productive time.

 

EMAIL: bw@viaba.co.uk          PHONE: +44 7910 122508

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