We were going on a vacation and wanted to do a bunch of errands like suspending the delivery of our local newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, asking the US Postal Service to hold our mail for some time. etc.
I remember doing the same errands about a decade ago and what was remarkable about it this year was that ALL of these errands I was able to complete ONLINE!
Ten years ago, I remember calling our newspaper on the phone, talking to a person and going to the post office, filling out a form and handing it over to the postal employee behind the counter.
Then about five years ago, at least the newspapers set up an automated IVR system that could handle a number of requests by "Press or Say 1" kinds of commands.
This year all of these forms were online, you fill them out and you got confirmation by email in addition! I bet all of these processes are saving these organizations a ton of money too! I bet the online forms automatically update a database and sends alerts to the local newspaper carrier instructions.
The Post office may not need to take the card I filled out and enter all the information again into a system or give a stack of cards for the postal sorter in the local post office to look through while sorting the mail and holding only the mail that should not be delivered.
From the organization’s point of view it saves time, energy and resources that may need to be spent on the manual parts of these processes!
From the customers point of view, it is easier and simpler to do, not to talk about the Carbon Footprints they are NOT leaving driving around in a car doing these errands!
In many business processes, the simple question of "Are we using the internet wherever we can, to automate parts of the business process?" in itself will unearth a majority of the process improvement possibilities!