Benefits Of A Document Management System
Before we look at the benefits of a document management system we should first consider why are we even asking this question? The answer to this is normally based around having a paper or document based problem or frustration. If this is the case then starting to research document management and the benefits of a document management system for any business is the key step to solving the aforementioned issue.
- Piles of paperwork or badly filed paperwork including: invoices, HR files, purchase orders and legal documents
- Rows of box files and lever arch files on shelves on in cabinets
- Uncontrollable email volumes
- Files getting lost
- Retrieval times from storage companies are unacceptable
- Worries about security of data
- Office floor space at a premium
- Hours of time wasted searching
- Retention and compliancy issues
The Document Management System Solution
The document management system solution is simple. Documents are scanned on arrival, or if you have an existing backlog the archive is also scanned to “get you up to speed”. The documents are uploaded into an electronic document management system and data is indexed to make it searchable in the system. Your documents can now be searched, shared or controlled for security purposes. Your documents are now secure, backed up and available at the click of a mouse or even on a smartphone.
The Main Benefits In Detail
Probably the most obvious and tangible benefit of an electronic document management system is the reduction in storage and the costs associated with this. Paperwork either in files, in storage boxes or filing cabinets takes up space – simple. Before you know it you’ll be sending away boxes to expensive storage companies and spending even more money. Removing filing cabinets frees up valuable floor space and when multiplied across numerous offices and departments this can mean a serious space gain. Additional gains in rooms and even floors can be accounted for once an electronic document management system has been implemented.
Fast, Flexible Retrieval
Retrieval of documents can be a major headache. Where is the document located ? Are you sure its there ? Maybe someone else has it ? Does this mean a request to get it back from a storage company or do you need to go down to the basement to search through the archive ? ALL of these things can be avoided using an electronic document management system.
Imagine looking a for one page in a file or even worse one page in a storage box or filing cabinet. Physically searching for paper documents isn’t much fun – it takes time and you might not even find what you are looking for. Now imagine being able to search for a word or even a phrase? Perhaps you’d like to search for documents of a certain age, category or documents associated with a certain person or event? All of this is possible with an electronic document management system. Documents are always where you expect them to be rather than being on someone else’s desk or even worse – lost! This brings us nicely onto our next benefit – security.
Picture this – Government minister leaves sensitive data in a paper file on a train – it gets into the wrong hands and before you know it the story is in the papers. How many times have we heard this story and laughed at how ridiculous it is? Unfortunately it happens but it can be easily avoided. Storing your documents securely in an electronic format means they can only be accessed by those people who should be accessing them. Fully password protected and encrypted where necessary your data will be save and an audit trail can be provided to show who viewed what and when. On top of this, the chances of documents getting genuinely lost is significantly reduced.
Disaster Recovery Friendly
DR or disaster recovery might be a bit of a buzz word but if the worst happened how would you handle the situation? Flood damage, fire damage, theft or vandalism could all have a serious impact on your companies ability to function properly. An electronic document system addresses all of these issues. On top of this its beneficial for insurance purposes and from an individuals perspective you know that you are secure.
If you are retaining financial records, patient records, staff records or legal records you should be aware of the need to retain you records and the retention period applicable to your industry. With some retention periods of over 100 years can you really be confident your records are going to be in accessible and in a fit state should you need to access them?