The term document management has been co-opted by so many different technologies and industries that it’s difficult to determine exactly what it means. Some businesses offer document management in the form of physical file storage facilities, while others use the term to describe paper shredding. When we at Halsey & Griffith speak of document management, we are primarily referring to technology developed to scan and organize your paper archives and remove the physical paper from your company’s processes.
The cost of these sorts of “paperless” solutions have come down drastically in the last decade, even as the technologies themselves have become more powerful. The conveniences and efficiencies afforded by document management technology have never been more attainable for small and mid-sized businesses. And the business scenarios that can benefit from converting to a paperless environment are varied and many.
Before you add new office space, for instance, you should consider how much more cost effective it would be to reclaim the space you already have from your paper file storage. Before you hire another administrative employee, you should consider the time savings afforded by a small investment in a paperless workflow. If you are planning an office move, you would be astounded how much less it will cost to move a paperless office.
In a paper world, files are often removed from the filing cabinet and taken to an employee's desk. Any other person who needs that file will be perplexed to find it not in the filing cabinet and may spend an inordinate amount of time tracking it down. In a paperless world, the files don’t need to leave the filing cabinet to be “worked on”. Multiple people can access the same files at the same time.
In a paper world, your files are always at risk from fire, flood or hurricane damage. However unlikely disaster may seem, the consequences of complete destruction of all of your businesses paper files would be devastating. In a paperless world, you can take your documents with you when you leave the office in the form of a backup, or have them replicated to a second facility. With proper backup precautions, the chance of loss of files approaches zero.
In a paper world, your company information is only as secure as your least trustworthy employee. Short of camera systems and locks, there are few ways to prevent sensitive information from being distributed without your knowledge. In the paperless world, you can control access to your documentation, right down to who has rights to print and/or email your files. What's more, the paperless world will keep track of every time your documents were printed, emailed or exported. Your information security is still in the hands of your people, but the audit trail will help you discover behaviors that might be detrimental to your company’s future.
In a competitive world, all organizations need to look for efficiency gains at every opportunity. Now is the best time to take a closer look at the benefits of document management systems, and what a paperless environment can do for your business.