Efficiently tuned processes that include automation of transactions, management of associated documents and enhanced communications between people can translate to competitive advantage and higher profits. This is true in many parts of the organization ranging from finance (invoice processing), to human resources (resume routing and performance reviews), to sales (contract management) and many other functions.
So why is this efficiency so difficult to achieve? On a broad scale, the impediments to successful business operations and maximizing profits are usually the inefficient application of people, processes and content. Specifically, most organizations' documents exist everywhere, and many of these documents go through a process that includes review, editing, approval and, sometimes, the addition of information. Everyone relies on e-mail for routing documents, scrambles to "manage exceptions" and battles the always-growing pile of paper.
Most companies attempt to overcome these challenges by implementing a series of processes. But many of these processes are manual and require a series of burdensome human interventions. Many others are ad hoc and poorly tuned. Paper is copied repeatedly and moved from individual to individual or from e-mail inbox to inbox. Instead of business enablement, this environment actually results in business obstruction.