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written by Mariah Riney

‘Swivel Chairing’ is a term we use in the industry to talk about the extra time it takes to look from one screen, or software window, to another in order to complete a workflow. Often companies will implement a new solution to fix a certain problem. Still, it either doesn’t integrate with existing systems, or the company hasn’t taken the time (and effort) to move over all of the current information to the new system and retire the old.  

This leads to increased times to find information, help customers, and complete tasks. It also means a longer time onboarding new employees and a constant need to remember where to find information that may be stored in different locations. This can be remedied in several  ways.  

Problem Solving Communication 

As stated in our Human Resources and Digital Transformation blog post, communication with your entire team is imperative to find a solution that addresses everyone’s problem. Many times, our teams may think we know what the big picture is, but since we are not tasked with everyone in the company’s day to day activities, we may forget key players and end up implementing a solution that only does the job halfway. Ultimately this leads to adding more and more ‘bandaid’ solutions that create convoluted workflows and wreak havoc your productivity. 

Take the time to survey anyone that may be currently interacting with your system that needs an overhaul. Outline what they want, what is presently working, and what really isn’t. Using this information from everyone as a wish list while looking for a new solution will help your company find something that can help everyone, instead of ignoring a percentage of your workers.  

Updating Legacy Systems 

Many times, decreasing workflow times can simply be done by updating your legacy systems. As defined by Gartner, a legacy application is “an information system that may be based on outdated technologies, but is critical to day-to-day operations.” If it is just one or two systems that are causing the hiccup in your workflow, you may find it’s more cost effective to replace that one with a comparable solution that integrates better into the rest of your enterprise. Often, the upkeep of a legacy system costs your company as well, through infrastructure maintenance, training staff, and workforce to provide updates.  

Using the wish list outlined above, consider switching out your legacy system, opting for a newer solution, perhaps one that can be purchased on a subscription basis offering more flexibility. This many times can save you money in the long run and guarantee you have the newest version whenever you need it. 

Conversely, if your company has multiple legacy platforms, outdated integration, or data just stored in too many areas to feasibly consolidate without doing a major overall, consider a connector solution that helps you consolidate access to your content and data in one location.  

Across Enterprise Searchability 

The biggest time suck in swivel chairing is not being able to find information when you need it. The second is making sure that the version of the information you have is up to date. Both of these can be solved via a solution that offers searchability across your enterprise. Outline the software/infrastructure and find out which needs to be connected. Products like Intellective’s Unity either already have connectors for common software or can easily create them custom for your company.  

By making true enterprise search an option for your employees you can allow them to find information faster, and with less training. For example, an insurance claims processor may not find information in just IBM Filenet, and may need to dip into information stored in Sharepoint. In most cases, the best scenario was that they just had to switch tabs to see the information. Worst case scenario they had to swivel chair to the other content management system, find information, and then swivel back to manually enter that information into another system …. all with a customer waiting.  

By making information searchable across your entire enterprise, you drastically cut down on searching for information, which then takes us to our next way to decrease the time swivel chairing.  

One Stop Case Management/Editing 

After employing a solution that connects your content systems, it’s essential to make sure that your teams can actually manage and edit documents from within one interface. Finding information does cut down on time but being able to interact and update data from one window allows them to finish the job without ever having to move from one solution to another, saving even more time and reducing errors.  

Products like Unity allow your employees to find, interact with, and change information all from one place. These can be focused on one platform like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics and integrate with many other solutions you may be employing. Additionally, many steps of data governance and compliance that come included with the underlying solutions can be leveraged allowing you to set who has access to data, see who has changed it in the past, and ensure that the information you are interacting with currently, is the most up to date.  

Holistic Reporting 

Lastly, the key to reducing swivel chairing across your company is to take all that information you gathered into one place and creating a holistic 360 view from it. This is a great tool for management to see how the data is being used and see many distinct aspects of your data. Check out the diverse ways you can interact with data via the Unity for Salesforce analytics dashboard.  


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