It makes good business sense to take advantage of tactics for improving efficiency and productivity, especially when they apply broadly, instead of only to one department or project team.
Document management offers many efficiency gains, and because these systems are tightly integrated with the rest of your IT infrastructure, they have the potential to save time and enable you to achieve cost-savings across your company.
Here are five ideas for improving efficiency so employees can focus on value-added work:
- Searching for documents: The average employee wastes 3.5 hours every week searching for documents that they ultimately fail to find, according to research by the IDC. With digital document management, time spent searching drops to seconds. Especially if your system offers powerful, automated indexing, you don’t need to worry about losing documents or remembering how to find them again.
- Increasing the speed of business processes: Whether you’re routing an invoice for approval, processing applications or managing revisions to a price book, these projects require sequential or simultaneous collaboration. You need a mechanism to route the document for single or multi-level approval. According to the analyst firm IDC, managing these approvals manually takes the average employee 4.3 hours every week. With document management and automated workflows, that time can be reduced significantly because process owners can identify bottlenecks and take action accordingly.
- Automating workflows: Running paperwork back and forth between departments takes time and introduces the potential for errors. A digital workflow allows you to use business rules to automate the process. For example, you could create a rule that ensures any invoice over $5,000 is automatically routed to a senior employee, and any invoice for less than that goes to another employee for approval. The result is fewer errors and greater transparency, and better process efficiency.
- Reducing time spent on routine tasks: Many business processes require execution of repetitive, multi-step tasks and manual data entry without automation. Using an automated system, data can be shared between the document management system and an ERP or accounting system eliminating duplicate data entry. Filing and retrieving documents can be done in seconds. This means customer and vendor queries can be answered immediately. Pulling documents together for audits which used to take days can be accomplished in a few hours. This greatly reduces employee stress during audit preparation. As a result of the lightened administrative burden, company staff is freed up to spend more time on meaningful work
- Improving cross department collaboration: Integrating all of your document types, including emails and scanned paper documents, makes it easier for employees to work together on projects and share information. If you work at an engineering company, for example, your proposals might include a Word document, a CAD drawing and a spreadsheet. Before submitting a proposal to the customer, you could “staple” these documents together and send them to different departments for review. Your document management system makes it possible for team members to view the CAD file even if they don’t have access to a CAD application.
Those are just a handful of the ways your organization can save time by automating routine tasks via automated business processes. A document management system also makes disaster recovery far more efficient, while providing an audit trail for better financial compliance and security. And because document management performs best when integrated throughout your company and IT infrastructure, the potential benefits affect your company as a whole.
Editor's note: This post has been updated for accuracy and new content has been added.