One of the biggest challenges for businesses today is surviving and growing in a continuously faster paced and competitive environment.
These challenges manifest themselves as higher customer service expectations, and companies are under more pressure than ever to respond to enquiries and deal with issues quickly and accurately.
To respond, businesses need information systems that place the right information, in front of the right staff member, at the right time.
This is difficult to achieve if the information is stored on paper documents, within the body of emails, or as attachments.
The case for a centralising the storage of and access to such information is strong and yet, many businesses still do not fully understand the need for updating their document management processes.
With that in mind, our business advisor Bethany Savage lays out the top benefits to having an efficient document management solution.
1. The ability to handle both digital and paper documents
Despite the trend to go digital the consumption of paper continues to increase, with paper being expected to exceed 50% of the worlds logging industry in the near future. One of the drivers for this must be the flow that often sees a document originated digitally then printed and processed and then perhaps scanned again to be attached to an email only to be printed again by the recipient and stored manually.
Today’s document management solutions can capture information from documents, created electronically, received in paper form or received within or attached to an email. Integrations can allow the documents to be viewed from business applications so the information does not become siloed in the application.
Ask anyone who deals with paper documents how much time they spend scouring filing cabinets and you’ll quickly come to the conclusion that there must be a faster way.
A document management system that can store documents and data in one place, which can easily and quickly be searched, saving hours a day, results in your employees being more productive as they can now spend more time focusing on their jobs.
You can also improve your workflows and, if needed, use document management systems to automate certain processes and reduce the number of human touchpoints in a process.
3. Access control and audit trails
Control over the access to information is becoming much more important, with regulations like GDPR demanding stronger controls over access to certain types of information.
Document management systems provide an audit trail that gives you visibility over the types of documents and information held, who has access to it, and how each document is used.
Being able to stop documents from leaving a management system, or easily redact information from documents if they need to be shared, also helps to meet regulatory requirements.
4. Version control
How many times have you shared a document with a colleague only for them to say it’s an old version?
It is not uncommon in business to have multiple versions of the same document, especially when a number of people are working on the same project. Identifying which is the latest version can be time consuming, particularly if a number of different versions of the same document need to be combined to create the latest agreed update.
Document management software provides version control, enabling team members to know what the latest version of the document is.
Being able to easily track the progress of a document and ensuring you are always working with the most recent version goes a long way to improving efficiency and productivity in business.
5. Save Storage Space
For companies that handle a lot of documents, the cost and space needed to store them can cause issues.
In particular, having many documents locked away in a filing cabinet or in the loft of your building can cause problems when you need to quickly find and access a document. This does not even address the problem of items being misfiled or being left on a colleague’s desk.
Having an electronic document management system means the documents are filed in a way that makes finding them a lot easier. They will also be searchable through the pre-saved metadata or the internal contents of the file, metadata being any data that is attached to the file (such as date created or author) and the indexes added at the point of saving into the system.
As a real life example, consider if you have a supplier calling for proof that you have received their invoice, you will be able to search and access it quickly and receive a response immediately – no more ‘I will get back to you on that’.