Almost every business, including businesses that are not typically considered document-intensive, deal with documents. Most businesses have a file room full of files and records that can be lost or destroyed and cost money to produce and store. Undertaking a digital transformation of these documents can reduce expenses, improve workflows, and reduce the risk of document loss.
Why Undertake a Digital Transformation of a Document Management System Now?
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a confluence of conditions ideal for digitizing documents, including:
- Empty offices: With employees out of the office, digitizing documents can occur with little disruption of normal office activities. Moreover, businesses can use downtime to adapt to new document handling processes.
- Remote workers: Digital documents can be accessed by employees with the necessary credentials/permissions, from anywhere. Digital documents and streamlined workflows will increase employee productivity while working from home and when they return to work.
- Security: A digital document management system securely stores digital documents generated by remote workers.
- Cost: Digital documents reduce costs by eliminating the supplies, equipment, and storage required for printed documents. For businesses that have low or no cash flow due to stay-at-home orders during the pandemic, reducing costs can help the business weather the shutdown and improve its financial condition post-shutdown.
What is Involved in a Digital Transformation?
Elements of a digital document management system include:
- Searchable database: When documents are digitized, metadata identifying the contents of each document can be created and indexed in a database.
- Document handling processes: Policies for creating, filing, and tracking documents are created and implemented.
- Tracking system: Document management systems maintain a log of people who have accessed the files and track versions. This eliminates the greatest risks of physical documents – misplaced and altered files.
- Secure filing system: Electronic files are stored securely to limit access to documents to permitted users and provide document backups in case of a disaster.
Benefits of a Modern Document Management System
Digital document management systems provide benefits beyond reducing a business’s reliance on a file room full of paper documents. Some of the benefits provided by a document management system include:
- Productivity: An optimized workflow increases productivity by automating tasks and eliminating redundant steps. Moreover, searching and tracking capabilities of the document management system will free up employees to work with documents rather than searching for them.
- Security: Digital documents are at risk of unauthorized access from both inside and outside an organization. Securing documents against data intrusion reduces the risk of identity theft, intellectual property misappropriation, and inadvertent disclosure of company information.
- Efficiency: Employees work more efficiently, and customers are more satisfied when files, forms, and documents cannot be misplaced or overlooked. Moreover, document management systems can provide employees with secure access to files from mobile devices or home computers, allowing them to work from home or while traveling. Document management systems can be integrated to work with third-party applications so a business can continue to use its current business software and avoid new software installations and training.
- Compliance: The ability to produce records, along with revision histories, improves compliance with employment, tax, health, and safety laws. Moreover, federal and state laws require basic levels of data security for social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, health records, and financial information. Secure document management systems ensure that personal identifying information is handled in compliance with regulations and industry standards.
- Disaster recovery: A natural disaster, server crash, or cyberattack can wipe out an organization’s business records. Digitizing documents and organizing them with a document management system can provide backups to restore lost files.
- Cost: The cost savings could be substantial for businesses that transition from paper files to digital files. Paper-intensive businesses, like law firms, spend about $1,000 per employee each year for office supplies. Transitioning to digital documents cuts the annual cost to about $200 per employee.
Digital Transformation of a Document Management System
Document management systems include hardware, software, and workflows. As a result, a system can be tailored to a business’s specific needs.
For example, a health care provider that must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) would have much greater data security needs than a manufacturer streamlining its shipping and billing records. Likewise, a law firm might process thousands of pages of discovery documents per month while a small retailer that might only have a hundred pages of accounting records per quarter.
Experts on document management systems can assess a business’s needs and identify how a document management system can improve the business’s document handling. Based on this assessment, modern multifunction devices and document management applications are provided to generate, capture, and store documents.
Contact us to discuss how digital transformation of document management systems can reduce costs and improve the efficiency and productivity of employees.