Over the past decade, the traditional workplace has changed dramatically. New technologies have emerged such as VoIP, cloud computing, online banking, digital workplace and many others have improved office efficiency. With all these advances, many businesses today are still stuck with paper, which is stored in the office in filing cabinets or offsite in a storage facility. It is estimated that 75% of all business information is still stored solely on paper.
This is mainly because there are often financial barriers to overcome when implementing an electronic document storage and management system. However, there are also significant benefits to be had once the physical archive has been scanned and transformed to digital format (Also see our Store to Scan unique cost model) and managed via a document management system such as Halogen or Pearl Cloud.
We have listed the 10 most common key benefits of document scanning, electronic archiving and digital document management.
- The Backup: To ensure that your business will survive any disaster, it is paramount to have a backup of your documents and business critical data. Whilst in paper form, it is impractical to have a backup or second copy of every document for a disaster recovery, hence having paper documents scanned and converted to a digital archive provides peace of mind and a long-term backup solution.
- Team Collaboration: Internal and external collaboration is much more practical when working with digital documents, for example a team member can easily track whereabout the file is in the approval process in the workflow or who has permissions to access the file.
- Increased Access Control: Managing access control through a paper-based filing system can be very challenging as documents can be extremely sensitive and confidential – therefore implementing adequate security and access control over who can retrieve your information is imperative. By moving towards digital document management makes it much easier for the IT and individual department managers. Audit control and permissions can provide easy access to the log for better security and compliance.
- 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.
- Improved Timeliness: To be able to retrieve a file from a digital document management system, which takes only few seconds, as opposed to digging through filing cabinets or boxes, saves significant time. When documents are scanned and stored in a central document repository these can be accesses by multiple users at one given time. Employees working from home or remote locations can have instant access to their documents using a cloud-based document management system such as Pearl Cloud as oppose to ringing the office having the documents sent out via scanned email or physical post. The physical storage cost is usually split into administrative actions that are needed to organise the files into a storage box or a filing cabinet, supplies including stationary, boxes, labels, then the cost of actual storage, either in the office (taking up premium office space) or offsite (which adds extra cost for logistics). Furthermore, the physical storage cost is a reoccurring cost until the physical paper documents are disposed off which for many businesses is very challenging, which involves identifying who owns the documents, what are the document storage and retention policies and who can sign off the destruction of the original documents. By moving to an electronic archiving and scanning service – businesses can eliminate these cost challenges and the never-ending storage cost.
- File Management: File management in a document management system is much easier than a physical filing system as rules are predetermined and once you have retrieved the file there is no risk of losing it as there is no refiling to be done.
- Better Search: 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 software uses 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 organise, search, store and even display online.
- Version Control: As businesses are moving towards team and collaborative working, having a version control and complete logged history of documents allow users to identity the most current version as well as having a date and time stamp provides great benefits to users who wants to reference to the most recent record.
- Improved Management: Using an advanced document management system, businesses can implement built-in or customise their workflow to automate, manage and process certain tasks enabling them to achieve higher efficiency and productivity. For example, a Customer Services department can setup a rule that a letter of compliant is scanned, it is then automatically routed to the correct person or department who can be working from the same or different office and if the letter has not been actioned within a set period of time it can then be re-routed to another person within the team without any manual intervention.
- Consistency: To be able to ensure that content is consistently and uniformly stored, named and formatted is not easy. By implementing an electronic document management system enables each department to create a set of rules and index masks to ensure that users follow these set of rules and can not deviate into filing and storing documents in their own personal way. For example, if an HR department is looking to have their documents scanned, they can define the Index fields such Employee Name, Employee NI Number, Date of Birth etc. and when filing the users must enter this required metadata to file documents in the document management system.
Pearl Scan Solutions has been providing document scanning, electronic archiving and document management software since 2003 – and have helped many organisations to transform their departments to digital working as well as have their backlogs scanned to eliminate physical storage costs and safeguard their business critical documents.