What Is the Real Value of Your Document?

Nick Chivers September 18, 2018
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Working with prospective and existing clients the subject of document value often comes up and provokes discussions around what makes a document valuable; if it is valuable, then what is its value; and how do the processes that create the document reflect its value.

A sales proposal has a hundred- or million-dollar bottom line. An employment offer includes a remuneration package for a salesperson or a CEO. What are the real values of these documents?

We started with the notion that the value of a document is not always a dollar amount that the document might express. This is not hard to justify.

The sales proposal has value beyond its bottom line; it can create or improve our relationship with the customer. The employment offer is about more than dollars; we want the person in our business. How we say that might attract them as much as the money.

We added a second notion, that the value of a document is not the same as the cost of creating it. This, also, is not hard to justify.

Both documents could take minutes or hours to create depending on the systems, processes, and people involved. Five minutes or five hours could create the same document, which tends to support the notion that the value is not about the cost.

We think the real value of a document lies in what it adds to the relationship between its creator and its recipient.

Our discussion moved on to how the processes that create the document reflect its value. Yes, these processes are a focus of ActiveDocs’ own business.

We have worked with clients whose highly qualified employment experts had to spend hours poring over mind-bendingly complicated trans-global employment transfers, redacting the content to exactly conform with internal and external rules about business entities, employment agreements, legislation, remuneration, and a host of other determinants.

They did this with two certainties in mind: the outcome had to be 100% correct, and there was 0% chance of getting it right first time. Each document took hours to build, review, and approve.

The documents were certainly high value. The process gave our client exactly what they wanted. It was a high-cost, high-value investment. The real problem was the lost opportunities for using that expensive expertise in higher value tasks.

Through a different lens, while creating a whitepaper about electronic signing, we observed there is a point where some document creation processes cannot provide outcomes reflecting the value of documents to the organisation.

We are not saying such processes do not work. They just lack robustness, reliability, repeatability, consistency, and efficiency. They do not reflect the value of the documents they create. The organisation values the documents, not the processes, and handicaps itself with risk and lack of confidence.

When document creation processes do not match the value of the documents they generate, or tip the balance of resources against value, then it is time to consider better processes.

About the Author

Nick Chivers

Senior Solution Consultant

Nick is an IT industry veteran with an eye for detail and a passion for doing things better. He’s been with us for 12 years and along with thought leadership has helped bring ActiveDocs products and services to many of our global customer base.

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