How automated workflow can work for you, now and in the years to come

BrandPost By Xerox
Jan 15, 2021
IT Leadership

woman smiling in front of laptop
Credit: Getty Images

Today’s businesses are caught between the rock of maintaining collaboration and productivity, and the hard place of moving from a static to a hybrid office. In the midst of an ongoing global pandemic, these organisations need to formulate a strategy for the future, where the “new” normal is likely to be the “established” normal.

It was these quandaries that inspired Xerox to initiate the Make NOW Work programme. The scheme empowers organisations everywhere to challenge old norms and work differently, to not only survive but thrive – harnessing data, automating workflows, personalising at scale, and creating flexible workforces.

To understand the state of play, Xerox interviewed business stakeholders in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, and France. Their perspectives are published in Xerox’s “Future of Work in a Pandemic Era” whitepaper. While different industries are returning to work at different paces, nearly half of those polled are in the process of doing so. Some 56% of respondents are expanding their technology budgets and more than a third (34%) are planning to accelerate digital transformation.

One of the most common digital transformation goals, and one of the three pillars of Xerox’s Make NOW Work programme, is automated workflow, which can be applied to some of the most time-honoured professions. Since the reign of Queen Victoria, the UK’s Land Registry has accrued oceans of data as it recorded more than a century and a half of property transfers across England and Wales. Today, the organisation oversees some 25 million titles. And it receives anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 more hardcopy applications, drawings, photographs, and ID documents each day.

Unshakeable accuracy

When turning its attention to digital transformation, HM Land Registry was determined to become a world leader in speed and simplicity. Xerox’s Production Workflow Management platform allowed the registry to digitise new applications and extract data from text and images. The solution had to deliver unshakeable accuracy, given the legal and financial importance of the information held. But the registry is working with Xerox on a pilot programme that will integrate AI and machine-learning into the workflow, to allow accuracy to improve over time, under human supervision. The efficiencies of automated workflow allow business continuity between remote workforces and isolated property-owners.

As in all digital transformation, trust is at a premium, but never more so than when it involves our health. In an age where the operational efficiency of healthcare units is critical, a Xerox scanning solution helped Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust to improve resource usage and make more space available for patients and staff. 

Having already digitised patient notes at the point of care, the trust needed to do the same with older patient histories that were still held as paper records. Four onsite libraries and an offsite archive needed to be converted, to eliminate the need for physical storage space and to slicken access to data. The trust also hoped to deliver a year-on-year reduction in the cost of records management.


The project allowed the organisation to reclaim some 547 square metres of floor space. This area is growing steadily, and the trust is now planning a new 23-bed ward to take advantage of it. Additionally, it has slashed manhours requirements by 50% and projects a GBP 500,000 budget reduction in record-keeping over five years. These results were pivotal in earning Xerox the “Best Innovation Project of the Year” accolade at the Health Tech Digital Awards 2020.

Xerox also worked with Imperial College NHS Trust on implementing our Hybrid Mail Service, a platform aimed at making printing and mailing affordable and easy. With hybrid mail, you compose, manage, and print corporate correspondence with a significantly lower drain on budgets and staff –welcome boons in an economic downturn in which there is increasing pressure to do more with less.

Instead of manual processing, including collection and franking, the trust electronically transmits jobs to one of Xerox’s four Service Delivery Centres across the UK. And the system includes the option to validate delivery against a Royal Mail database to ensure timely arrival at the proper destination.

In manual workflow, speed and accuracy too often need to be traded off against one another. One of the reasons automation is so attractive is that it eliminates that trade-off. Italian aerospace company Leonardo S.p.A. was looking for ways to improve both speed and accuracy when shipping spare parts. Often, the company’s customers would need the parts to resolve the issue of a grounded aircraft; and each part requires certifications, log cards, test reports, invoices, and a slew of other documents before it can leave the warehouse. Document management became a bottleneck in the firm’s efforts to serve its customers.

The paperless office

Xerox empowered the manufacturer to digitise documents in an instant by scanning them, attaching metadata, and storing them in a searchable document-management system. The process of document creation, which used to take up to 15 days, now takes around one minute. And search time has been reduced by an estimated 80%.

Automated workflow and paperless offices go hand in hand and will be of escalating importance in the new global digital economy. Xerox recently helped a global claims-management company to implement a paperless ecosystem, not only eliminating its internal usage, but barring its entry from outside sources in the form of mail. Many of the usual business drivers were there – physical-file access that took several business days; cumbersome document retrieval and shipping processes; and spiralling document-management costs.

This organisation realised what many are discovering in the new normal. Customer satisfaction can never be up to par in such an oozing workflow. Xerox delivered a solution that digitised paper documents and stored them in an easily searchable format. To solve the external arrival of paper, the claims management company now redirects its post through a PO box and on to the Xerox Digital Hub. Here, some 1,000 documents are digitised, indexed and uploaded to the firm’s content management system each day. Say “goodbye” to paper and “hello” to the digital mailroom.

Automated workflow is one excellent way to Make NOW Work for you. Productivity will surge, costs will plummet, employees will be freed up to do other, more innovative things. And customers will notice. If you wonder what the difference is between those who will survive the days ahead of us and those who will thrive, you have just read about it here.