How to say goodbye to ‘not in good order’ reports

Exploring how small businesses are using technology to fight the feared 'not in good order' reports and increase enterprise efficiency.

Despite the clout of colossal corporations it is small businesses in every sector that lead the way in adopting new technologies. In fact a recent report by Spiceworks has found that 68 per cent of businesses with less than 19 employees have adopted cloud computing for the benefits it brings, a much higher rate of adoption that their monolithic counterparts.

Despite differences in size, there is one scourge proving costly to small and large businesses alike; documents returned as ‘Not-in-good-order’ (NIGO). Essentially this means that a document has to be returned to its sender due to missing information needed for it to fulfill its purpose. Having documents returned NIGO can create even more delays. It’s amazing that paper documents are still holding back business in the age of cloud computing and digital processes. Luckily, technology can be the solution to this problem. One day businesses will be 100 per cent digital and waving goodbye to NIGO reports. The companies sticking to sheets of paper will get left behind.

I have previously discussed how small businesses can manage rapid growth within their organisation. However, the driving factor behind this growth in the first place is how quickly and effectively business can be completed. For agile businesses who are bringing in sales, customers and staff all at the same, an overload of paper can follow. NDAs, sales contracts and any number of documents can slow down the growth of a business if they need to be printed, faxed and scanned repeatedly. What is even worse is when these documents go through multiple people and even across borders in a hugely complicated manner, only to be not-in-good-order.

Small businesses cannot afford to wait for rewritten contracts to be sent through in the post. They require sales to go through right away – speed of business is an entirely justified expectation. Businesses need to embrace digital technology to ensure documents are processed on time and by the right people. This technology exists in the form of Digital Transaction Management and can be the solution to the not-in-good-order problem.

Stare and compare

Spending time reviewing NIGO documents in what is known as ‘stare and compare’ work can be heavily time consuming. A contract sent through in paper form needs to be examined and then sent on to the appropriate person. If it isn’t in order, the contract is returned to be reprocessed. This means examining the document all over again in minute detail to seek the correct signature or particular rewritten clause. It gives you a headache just thinking about it.

Digital business technology is again the solution. Electronic signature technology allows documents to be stored and processed on the cloud, with clear markers for where documents need to be signed, and by whom. Avoid a NIGO form being sent back by making sure it is correct in the first place. Small businesses do not have time to spend manually comparing one document to another. For businesses growing through exciting periods of growth, an influx of appropriately signed documents and contracts is heaven for administrative departments.

Let’s get digital

Getting paperwork in order is a basic requirement of business. So don’t let it hold you back. Physical paperwork requires storage, manual review and is not the most secure way of handling confidential data. Investing in a document management solution can provide great return on investment for small businesses.

Further reading on technology in business

Jesper Frederiksen

Jesper Frederiksen

Jesper Frederiksen managing director of EMEA at DocuSign.

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