Over the past century the traditional office has changed dramatically. New technologies such as telecommunications, computers, the Internet, and many others have improved office efficiency. Many companies today are still stuck in the paper world when it comes to regulated documents. It is estimated that 80% of all business information is stored solely on paper. This is mainly because there are often significant technical, financial and operational barriers to overcome when implementing electronic document management systems, but there are also significant benefits to be had once these systems are in place. The 10 key benefits of moving to electronic document management we have identified are as follows:
#1 – Reliable Backups: Quite often, content may not be properly backed up. We often find this out when it is too late and content is lost. It is a regulatory requirement to be able to produce original and legible copies of records and having a strong backup solution in place is important. Once your data has been digitized, you can easily create backup copies to store off-site. This also ensures that your business will survive any disaster.
#2 – Increased Security & Control: Documents can be extremely sensitive and having adequate security and control over who can retrieve your information is imperative. Achieving control through a manual paper or filing system is extremely challenging. By moving your data to the cloud, you can set permissions to each document, folder or cabinet and clearly identify who retrieved what documents & when.
#3 – Facilitated Collaboration: The ability to create and implement workflows of your information greatly improves internal and external collaboration. For example, an employee or manager may be able to identify where a file is in the approval process at any given time.
#4 – Improved Timeliness: Staff that work either in an office or from remote locations can gain instant access to the documentation that they require. Being able to search for a file or document from their computer rather than manually dig through a filing cabinet saves time. Also, since the documents are now electronic, they can be viewed by many people at once.
#5 – Lower Archiving Costs: Paper document management and archiving can be very labour intensive and thus expensive. Processing, storing and retrieving archived records can be significantly improved when moving to electronic environments.
#6 – Improved Version Control: Being able to search for a specific document or file – quickly – allows users to identify which record is the most current version. Also, seeing the time & date stamp of when that document was last updated provides great benefits to users wanting to reference the most recent record.
#7 – Increased Efficiency & File Management: The document management process also offers massive productivity improvements for your staff. Rather than digging through filing cabinets to find elusive information, simply search for the information from your computer. Once you have found the documents, you can print a copy or just read it on screen. Documents don’t become lost since there is no need to re-file.
#8 – Better Searching Capabilities: Being able to easily find information and knowledge from indexed content allows us to improve decision making and reduce the amount of time lost looking for information. Most document management softwares use Optical Character Recognition, or OCR, which is a technology that enables you to convert different types of documents, such as scanned paper documents, PDF files or images captured by a digital camera into editable and searchable data. Once your data has been converted using OCR software, it is much easier to organize, search, store and even display online.
#9 – More Consistent Content: Ensuring that content is consistently formatted, named and controlled is not easy. By implementing digital workflows or designing how you want your documents filed, typically generates content that is consistently archived the same way. For example, your invoices will all be digitally filed with the same required information (Invoice #, Date, Vendor Name, Expense Code, etc).
#10 – Improved Task Management: Digitizing your information allows for tasks to be assigned to users if you require it. Advanced workflow capabilities are also available that allow you to route documents throughout your organization while maintaining the ability to track their progress and subscribe to email notifications on their status.