Incredibly, many organizations continue to rely on paper documents.
However, using paper can be problematic and inefficient for several reasons:
- Confidential or personal information can potentially be lost which could lead to legal compliance failures, large fines, and significant reputational damage.
- Contracts and forms can get lost or delayed in the post which could result in losing the prospective customer and the revenue associated with the contract.
- Paper-based processes require the ‘double-handling’ of information because the data initially recorded on physical forms must be rekeyed into back office computer systems. This can also result in rekeying errors.
- Paper is slow because information needs to be physically moved from person to person, or across geographically-dispersed offices, to complete the task.
- In the instance of a natural disaster (e.g. fire or flood) paper-based records are a significant risk and a single point of failure, compromising your ability to continue as a business.
GreenSquare Group, a housing association based in the UK, was dealing with some of these problems. The issues surrounding paper-based processes were having a real impact on our business and customers.
Passionate about great places to live, GreenSquare Group develops a range of new homes – for rent, shared ownership, and sale – and provides housing management, care and support, and commercial property services.
With a turnover of over £80m and housing property assets worth £650million, GreenSquare operates in the south of England with our head office in Chippenham, Wiltshire. As part of our digital transformation initiative, the technology team at GreenSquare was proactively exploring solutions and has implemented Office 365 and Nintex Forms and Workflows.
A Business in Transformation
GreenSquare provides a range of housing products and owns and manages around 12,000 properties. Rental income is the Group’s principal source of revenue, and we build around 250 new homes per year through construction subsidiary GreenSquare Homes.
GreenSquare has a richly diverse employee base in terms of people’s occupations and roles. From back office staff (such as HR and IT) to housing staff, trade operatives, plumbers, carpenters, and customer service representatives.
Around 65 percent of our workforce is mobile, dealing with new and existing customers in the field.
The nature of GreenSquare’s business means we have many complex business processes that cut across the entire organization. Until recently, these were almost exclusively paper-based. A typical business process might involve surveying a property:
- A surveyor visits a property;
- they take a clipboard with a form and make notes;
- this paper form then needs to be returned to the head office and handed over to admin staff;
- admin staff enter details into the system;
- repairs are completed either by internal trades or sub-contractors; and
- the repair is inspected and checked for quality using paper based forms.
GreenSquare is in the process of digitally transforming and had begun moving from our traditional on-premises environment to cloud-based Office 365 and Nintex for Office 365.
Led by myself, Head of ICT, and Sarah Offord, GreenSquare’s Business Systems Support Analyst (and Nintex expert), our team had begun investigating SharePoint’s digital forms to automate and simplify some of these processes. However, the standard functionality didn’t provide the flexibility we needed.
Following research and trialing various workflow solutions, we opted for Nintex.
Nintex’s software and customer support team were much easier to work with than competitors, and they really valued the strong and inclusive online user community surrounding Nintex.
Implementing Nintex to Help GreenSquare’s Customers and Colleagues
GreenSquare initially brought Nintex in to resolve a specific process – an annual ‘declaration of interest’ process, whereby staff members must declare any potential conflicts of interest they may have (such as having a family member living in a GreenSquare home).
Essential for compliance, the paper-based process was frequently delayed and forms were sometimes not completed correctly first time.
However, by asking employees to complete the declaration form digitally on a workflow built in Nintex, completion rates were close to 100 percent. Employees are sent reminder emails through until they have completed the digital form, which was designed to ensure all essential fields were completed and all mandatory information was collected.
As GreenSquare became more familiar with Nintex – and with the help of service partner TSG and Nintex’s customer success team – our team is now looking towards developing increasingly sophisticated workflows:
- Automating the signing of a tenancy agreement document
We are currently designing a highly-sophisticated workflow to support this, which fits with the organization’s digital transformation agenda. The workflow can send the form via email – or even to the customer’s phone via an app. Nintex uses a DocuSign API to include the customer’s signature into the document. If the tenant responds immediately, the whole process can be completed in minutes.
- Expenses claims
Our mobile staff regularly rack up hundreds of miles driving between properties and the head office to file paper documents, all before commuting home.
GreenSquare is prototyping an expense claim form in Nintex which drastically simplifies this process. Employees can simply fill in their expense form on the road, attach receipts, and save themselves a trip back to the office, all in the knowledge that their records will be stored without risk of loss.
- Onboarding new staff
A classic Nintex use case, the team at GreenSquare is also deploying Nintex to improve another process which so many organizations struggle with – provisioning accounts for new staff and providing them with access to company systems.
A Vision for Workflow Success
Our vision for Nintex is tightly integrated with our wider ambitions for digital transformation.
While the team has implemented Nintex best practice by appointing an in-house Nintex expert, the goal is to roll-out Nintex more widely to many users.
We aim to empower other colleagues to design their own workflows using Nintex’s user-friendly interface, and finally put paper-based forms behind them.
For more information visit www.greensquaregroup.com.