The average person in a standard U.S. office fills out or prints a sheet of paper five times per hour. Producing this much paper requires time, money, and storage space. For big corporations, that isn’t an issue. However, small businesses often fall behind in all these aspects. While a small business doesn’t necessarily imply a small office, that’s usually the case. Additionally, small businesses rarely have the funds and time to waste on creating forms en masse that would become outdated after only three months. That’s where document management comes in. Document management is part of the digital transformation businesses nationwide are currently undergoing. To help you become a part of it, this article will explain everything you need to know about this file-organizing system.
Aspects of Document Management
Regardless of the industry you’re in, your office has had to deal with a certain amount of paperwork over the years. Most of your company’s data has a paper trail — from business transactions, legal documents, and statistics to job applications, employee information, and contracts.
Someone has to organize, manage, and discard these documents safely and securely. Instead of appointing someone to spend hours manually going through vast piles of paper, a document management system allows you to do all that digitally. And for less time, which directly and positively affects your business revenue.
But a document management system is more than just what its name suggests. It encapsulates several elements that keep your business operations going smoothly and steadily.
Document Capturing and Storage
Document management begins with document capture. If you already have a physical copy of a document, capturing refers to scanning the file with scanners or multifunctional printers. Some document management systems include optical character recognition software (OCR) or text extraction features that enable capturing images of files in electronic formats. That provides easier storing and searching of the document since you can include some text in the document metadata or search by keywords and full text of the paper.
New documents can be created in the document management system itself. Their format depends on the document management system software. You might also need to import files from other sources and applications.
Captured files can be stored on different cloud-based platforms or places like Dropbox Business, Microsoft SharePoint, and Google Drive. Keeping them on the cloud provides access to all employees wherever they are and whenever they need them. However, you can implement various security measures to protect the files from misuse and unauthorized access. You can restrict access to files based on the employee’s privileges, which are usually freely customizable.
Integration of Other Applications
Some document management systems allow integration with other applications. As mentioned, you can import documents from different sources, and integration is what enables this. The integration allows employees to retrieve files, make necessary changes, and then save the file back into the repository without exiting the application.
Document management systems provide data validation that checks the documents for any mistakes. It ensures there are no missing signatures, misspellings, and document failures. Additionally, it suggests viable solutions and ways to correct the errors in real-time.
Document Searching and Retrieval
While searching for physical documents is a simple concept, searching and retrieving electronic files is slightly more complex. However, complexity doesn’t automatically mean it takes more time and effort. It’s likely much easier to find a contract you signed a few years ago by crawling a database than rummaging through your paper records.
Document managing systems employ indexing to track files within them, making this process much faster and smoother. You can search by creators, titles, keywords, dates, metadata, and other unique identifiers. Indexing also allows classification through metadata or indexes extracted from document text.
Collaboration and Versioning
One of the most valuable features of document managing systems is document versioning and the ability to work on the same document with other collaborators. Each change in the document is recorded. You’ll know exactly when, how, and who changed which part of the document. You can also restrict other users from altering the document while one person works on it.
Version control allows you to retrieve and see previous versions of the documents. If someone made changes that weren’t approved by the CEO, you can easily find the unedited version and work on It again.
Distribution of documents that allows collaboration and versioning is often done through a link that leads to the file rather than through the original file. That way, you can easily limit who can alter the document or ensure that all changes are tracked.
Discarding of Documents
Before electronic formats, document discarding implied shredding and recycling. Seeing the files disappear before your eyes let you know nobody could access your company’s sensitive data. On the other hand, getting rid of electronic files always instills a dose of doubt.
Unlike common file storage options, with professional document management, you don’t have to worry about your deleted data security. The data is safe from the moment you create the files until you decide you don’t need them anymore. You can delete the files or archive them if you just need to get them out of sight for the time being.
How Document Management Benefits Businesses
Although you might’ve already noticed some of the benefits of document management, there are plenty more.
- The main reason for using document management systems is to increase efficiency and office productivity. With less time spent on creating, storing, managing, and searching for files, your employees will be able to focus on their actual work. Instead of a dozen employees, document management needs only one person to handle it. In addition, you don’t have to distribute files by hand. Just send everyone a link leading to the document.
- Your costs immediately decrease by spending less paper and energy printing hundreds of documents. What’s more, since your employees are more productive, you’ll earn more.
- With one person monitoring where the document is coming from, how and by whom it’s being used, and where it’s going, your information is more secure. Moreover, it’s foolproof against natural disasters, fires, and similar incidents.
Find Your Solution for Office Paperwork
Document management isn’t a new concept for your office. Since day one, you’ve been creating, storing, and managing your files. Still, using modern document management systems with an IT infrastructure to back them up makes these processes more efficient, inexpensive, and accurate. If your office is in Fox Cities, Green Bay, and Menomonee Falls, contact Wisconsin Document Imaging to upgrade your document managing practices and streamline your office tasks.