Use Cases and Approaches

We are addressing the question of ‘what is the best approach to going paperless for HR Document Management.’ In Part 1, we determined that we have to be clear on the goals of the project and the anticipated benefits. Achieving a meaningful business impact requires more than a simple paper to digital conversion. In Part 2, we defined the measures by which we will score each of the alternative approaches.  In this Part 3, we will define the approaches under consideration and the use cases that need to be considered when evaluating a solution.
Human Resource Document Use Cases
There are many scenarios when the documents in the HR file cabinets are needed.  When considering solutions to move from paper files to digital files, it is important to be aware of the breadth of requirements and understand how each potential solution addresses the needs.

Broadly speaking, there are two use categories that need to be considered:

  1. accessing the documents for a single employee,
  2. and accessing similar documents for many employees.

In the paper-based world, we think about all of the documents for an employee being in a folder, and all of our tasks require opening individual folders.  As we consider digital scenarios, we need to think more broadly and consider all of the tasks that require looking in multiple folders, and how we can optimize our activities.
The following table lists many of the typical use cases for individual files and across multiple files:

Individual versus multiple employee file use Ccases
Individual Employee Files Multiple Employee Files
Creating a new file Creating several new files in bulk
Adding to a file Adding to multiple files
Retrieving one or more documents from a file

Retrieving a specific document from all or a subset of employee files

Removing a document from an employee file Removing documents from multiple files on demand or/and upon an event such as expiration
Sharing an employee file with one or more internal individuals Sharing multiple files with one or more internal individuals
Sharing an employee file with one or more external individuals such as auditors or lawyers Sharing multiple employee files with one or more external individuals such as auditors, regulators, or lawyers
Soliciting a signed document from a single employee – e.g. an acknowledgement Performing a campaign across all or a subset or employees to solicit a signed document
Complying with document retention retention guidelines and timely deleting obsolete documents Automatically applying corporate retention policies by document type, across all eligible employee files
Monitoring all files to ensure all the necessary documents exist, are current, and obsolete documents have been removed and destroyed according to policy


Alternative Technology Approaches to Paper Files
There are four broad approaches to managing HR documents in digital form:

  • Search and Retrieve
  • HRIS document attachment  (“Passive Attachment”)
  • Enterprise Content Management Systems (ECM)
  • HR Document Management Application

Each method can achieve the goal of “going paperless”, but the resulting impacts on security, accessibility, efficiency, and usability are quite different.  Further, the benefits for the organization and the ability to significantly change the efficiency and effectiveness of the HR department are quite different.

The next four posts in this series will each focus on a single technology approach.  The purpose is to highlight the pros and cons of each approach for meeting the requirements of the example use cases.