Last week, I drove home to New York from Boston. If you have ever made that trip, you know that there are several toll booths along the way. Booth after booth, I saw a line of people backed up paying in cash. It made me so glad I had an E-ZPass and could drive straight through at 65 mph without slowing down!
When I got back, I went to the grocery store to pick up some items for a cookout. I only needed a handful of things and wanted to get in and out fast, but when I got to the checkout, the line was jammed. I glanced to the end of the registers and saw the self-checkout lanes were empty. So, I walked down, scanned my five items, swiped my credit card and was out the door.
This week I am back in London, where I go a lot. Several months ago, I stood waiting in a 45 minute customs line at Newark and saw travelers checking themselves in at a kiosk. Come to find out it was Global Entry, a service where you go through an application process and, if approved, you can greatly expedite the re-entry process. I have since gotten it for both the U.S. and the U.K. and it saves so much time!
Why and I telling you these three stories?
I was in the financial printing industry for over 20 years. We serviced investment management regulatory documents, as well as capital markets and corporate compliance. What always amazed me was that clients would pay us enormous amounts of money to make edits to documents, run blackline proofs, typeset, prepare regulatory filings and file the documents, then prepare the documents for print and electronic distribution. All this while they waited and waited and waited. Occasionally they would complain about how long it took, or mistakes that we made, or the cost of the work, but for the most part, clients tolerated it.
I guess there was a time in the data, content and document technology lifecycle where “outsourcing” pieces of the workflow was necessary. But, I would always sit back and think – how much longer before technology takes over and clients don’t need the financial printer any more?
That day is here.
Right now in the marketplace, there are solutions that integrate all of the investment fund documentation pieces, including back end publishing, into the document continuum. No longer is the financial printer needed to do any of the following:
- Make edits to the document
- Run blackline proofs
- Prepare the regulatory filing
- File the document
- Prepare web- and print-ready PDFs
- Prepare an HTML file for web posting
- Prepare an HTML5 file for smart phone or tablet posting
The time and cost saved by using an automated solution is staggering. But, the financial printer is not going to tell you about it, because they don’t want you to automate your process. If you do, they will lose your business.
This is my confession, because for years I was part of that club. No more.
Stop needlessly waiting and paying for it. Welcome to the world of E-ZPass, self-checkout and Global Entry.
Welcome to the world of fund document automation.