Can disruption really happen this fast?

One process that we all hate performing is expense reports. If you don’t hate them, you’re probably an accountant and nothing can be done for you. For the rest of us, it is a dreaded requirement.

In my workplace, the process for expense reports is a pretty standard one. We have to send PDF’s of receipts and make everything legible in black and white…detailed but not too large of a file. Just one document that gets it just right.

If that sounds easy, it isn’t. I used to wait for a quiet moment (which never seems to happen) to play catchup. I would scan my receipts one by one, making each a page image in Word doc, printed as a PDF. It was painfully slow. It was my low point of every week or month.

Old ways

When our scanner recently broke, I did what seemed like the best thing. I bought a $250 HP printer scanner that could scan directly to PDF. The process was faster but it wasn’t much better. I still dreaded doing my expenses. I wasn’t any better off but my wallet was lighter.

New ways

Then a colleague showed me an $0.99 iPhone app, TurboScan, that did everything I needed from my phone. The phone I used every day and had with me every time I signed the receipt…every time I left the taxi.

From PDF to email, it is seamless and cost me 1/250th of the price of the old way.

What does this mean for technology when the old way can be completely turned on its head by process and price? As a user, it is exciting, as a stock buyer, it creates a scary landscape. This is where we are.

Tags: , , ,

Categories: Continuous Improvement, Disruption, Mobility

Author:Tom Molyneux

A business process strategist with a focus on real-time event management.

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One Comment on “Can disruption really happen this fast?”

  1. November 26, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    We can totally relate to this. Our users are turning from the old ways of pen and paper-based work to using smartphones, tablets or other mobile devices to meet requirements in safety and compliance. For many, the costs of doing things the old way are just not worth it anymore. And these days, there’s an app for everything.

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