Documents are an integral part of the modern business world, yet their strategic potential remains untapped. In Between the Lines, John M. Kelly offers an in-depth look at the critical role documents play in enterprises worldwide, from kick-starting productivity and generating revenue to influencing virtually every other C-level business issue.
With how tos, tips and success stories that include Target, Marriott, Ducati and other leaders, Between the Lines makes the compelling argument that one of the most overlooked business tools of the 21st century—the document—is also one of the most important. Kindle | ePub | PDF
|Chapter 1: A Short History of the World’s Most Successful Communications Vehicle|
The dividing line between history and prehistory is determined by one thing: writing. Where do you find writing? In documents—whether cave stones, papyrus or clusters of electronic signals. In Chapter 1, Kelly lists America’s top 10 most important documents and explains that documents do more than record history; they make history.
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The dividing line between history and prehistory is determined by one thing: writing. Where do you find writing? In documents—whether cave stones, papyrus or clusters of electronic signals.
In a very real sense, the earliest documents were Bronze Age business records. They replaced fallible human memory with a new means of preserving accounting information, locking it in a physical container. And they performed brilliantly.
But documents quickly assumed other important roles. As writing evolved from symbols and numbers into systems that emulated spoken language, documents became our representatives and agents—capturing the human voice, communicating information, establishing rules and regulations, providing education and pointing the way toward the future. In fact, the word “document” comes from the Latin root word docere, which means “to teach.”
|Chapter 7: Revenue: The Next Generation|
Are your marketing communications as effective as they could be? If not, then you are not alone. Kelly explores the relationship between documents and ROI in chapter 7, and gives several examples of companies like Target and Best Western who are getting it right. Then he explains how three key revenue drivers can help you make the most of your documents’ potential.
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To create a customer.
That’s the explicit purpose of every business, according to management guru Peter Drucker. How do you do it? By convincing prospects that your product or service will help them achieve their goals.
In an ideal world, you could send your best sales representative around the globe to spread the word. But in the real world, that tactic falls somewhere between impractical and impossible, not to mention immeasurably expensive.
So instead, you create what David Levy, a leading information management scientist, calls “talking things”—documents that deliver your messages and speak on your behalf.
Unfortunately, these documents don’t always communicate correctly. Or harmoniously. Or in a voice that prospects find engaging.
|Chapter 10: The Significant Gains of Document Cost Reduction|
This chapter focuses on cutting document costs, not corners. Kelly offers several jumping-off points that help you examine your current document processes, including:
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We’re all working together; that’s the secret. - Sam Walton
When economic think tanks like the Milken Institute calculate business costs, the formula usually includes factors such as wages, taxes, utilities and real estate. But every experienced organizational leader knows there are many costs that are far more challenging to capture or even categorize: The cost of adhering to outdated routines while competitors zoom forward on the wings of advanced technology. The cost of redundant or overlapping job functions. The cost of a disgruntled employee sharing opinions on Facebook.
And the cost of poorly managed documents.
If you’re like most companies, your document generation is likely to be fragmented. Print production is scattered among internal and external resources; desktop devices are as common as weeds and just as hard to control.
Time and again, we meet with prospects who are surprised to discover just how much this fragmented document production is costing them. It’s easy to see why.
|Chapter 13: The Future of Documents—and How to Leverage It|
As new technologies surface, documents are destined to become more dynamic and malleable, their content liberated to the point of virtual self-government. Countless emerging technologies—e-paper, cloud computing, and many others—are already proving the case. But what we are seeing today is merely a glimpse of what we are likely to experience tomorrow. If documents are information “containers,” then tomorrow’s containers will appear in an astounding variety of shapes and sizes—some changing right before our eyes, such as erasable paper developed by Xerox, or paper-thin video displays that curl and bend like paper.
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As recently as the 1980s, paychecks arrived in envelopes, document technology meant electric typewriters, interoffice mail was pervasive enough to require a staff and sales presentations sprang from Mylar sheets on overhead projectors. The impact of digitized documents was just a dream, barely hinted at by the arrival of Wang word processors, IBM PCs and the Commodore 64.
Since those “early” days, documents have changed so dramatically and so intrinsically that it’s hard not to look forward to what lies ahead. The document advancements of the last few decades occurred while the digital revolution was in its infancy. Now that document technology has reached young adulthood, the potential for innovation is even greater.
As new technologies surface, documents are destined to become more dynamic and malleable, their content liberated to the point of virtual self-government. Countless emerging technologies—e-paper, cloud computing, and many others—are already proving the case. But what we are seeing today is merely a glimpse of what we are likely to experience tomorrow.
John M. Kelly Executive VP,
Major Account Development for Xerox Services