Document archiving: security and safety standards 2022
Organizations — regardless of industry — process vast amounts of documents in both digital and paper form. In fact, the average US office worker alone uses 10,000 sheets of paper, annually. Apply this statistic to an organization of 100 or even 500 employees, and you quickly begin to appreciate the volume of documents moving through organizations.
These organizations usually perform best when they can use automated processes to handle documents with speed and efficiency and without the hassle of cumbersome manual workflows or difficult-to-locate information.
The chances are your organization's no different. You probably recognize the inefficiencies of managing all this paper, and that tedious manual processes are impacting productivity. You likely also acknowledge that there must be a better way. If you haven't considered document management for your business yet — or you're looking to get more out of document management solutions for your company — start by learning more about this technology today.
Document management software (DMS) is a digital solution that helps organizations process, capture, store, manage and track documents. By tightly managing your critical business information, you can develop processes that start, execute and complete in a stable, predictable, measurable way. It is almost impossible to design and implement reliable business processes and digital workflow without fully-featured document management software.
Some components of document management software include:
Many companies are transitioning from older on-premises systems to cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS). This transformation will only continue. The “lightness” of the cloud is driving this trend. In comparison to on-premises systems which require implementation, upgrades and regular maintenance, cloud software deploys quickly and requires minimal internal IT support.
This “lightness” provides many other benefits including the ability to scale up easily as your business grows and better operational flexibility. The results? Improved efficiency, productivity, and agility — all of which help you set a new pace for business.
Cloud software is typically available as a monthly or annual subscription. But it has no upfront license costs and support and maintenance are built in.
On-premises software requires a large upfront investment in software licenses, plus the cost of the application, IT support and hardware.
Accounting for the annual support and maintenance fee and a typical three-year cycle for new hardware, the overall cost of cloud is less than an equivalent on-premises deployment. Subscriptions to services are operational, not capital expenditures, and are only acquired as the company needs them enabling predictable budget planning.
Before you start shopping for a document management solution, learn about some other common terms you might come across.
Good document management offers many benefits, including bottom-line savings, better customer satisfaction, increased employee morale and easier compliance with federal, state and industry regulations. Check out seven major benefits of document management systems below, or browse DocuWare case studies for specifics about how various organizations have used document management to make a positive impact.
Implementing a DMS is the most important step in creating a paperless office and removing the cost, insecurity and inefficiency of paper.
Some of the reasons for these savings include:
Access to documents on demand does more than cut your labor costs. It can improve employee morale, reduce errors and miscommunication and substantially increase customer satisfaction.
With the right document management system, employees can quickly find what they're looking for, whether they're working on a research project, caring for a patient or on the phone with a customer about an order.
Easy access to documents — and everything that comes along with it — helps you adhere to regulatory compliance requirements. Here are just some opportunities for better compliance that crop up when you invest in document management:
Document management systems fully support a collaborative environment, whether employees are working in the office, remotely or on the move. With a third of office workers saying they would likely quit their jobs if remote work is 100% discontinued after the pandemic, systems that ensure collaboration without requiring people to be in the same space are critical.
Here are just a few ways document management software supports collaboration:
The best document management software options include automation. Whether it's automated scanning and indexing or the ability to route documents using workflows according to preset rules, these solutions speed up common processes and take tedious manual tasks off of your staff’s shoulders. With DocuWare, for example, you can automate common business processes including invoice approval, employee onboarding and records retention.
If you opt for cloud-based document management, the peace of mind you gain can be enormous. Top document management providers use redundant data storage to ensure a quick and complete disaster recovery process. Even if your business is hit by a hurricane, fire or other natural disasters, your documents will be safe and accessible immediately.
When you invest in secure document archiving, you make data more available to everyone who should have access to it while reducing the chances that someone who shouldn't see your documents will.
HR has some crucial decisions to make such as whom to hire, how to improve the onboarding process and how to best manage employees.
Document management software assists HR managers with these critical areas by automating the OCR and electronic capture of employee records, HR files and business documents into a central repository. From there, HR managers can create simple workflows to manage these critical areas. Consider these examples:
Achieve efficiency in finance and accounting areas such as accounts payable, accounts receivable and financial audits.
Realize a new pace in accounts payable by:
Speed up collections by linking related documents to the order process so that you can create and process invoices faster, and track and manage payments. You can, for example, combine approving payments with release workflows.
You can store a full and secure record of all business transactions which helps during an audit process. These include emails, contracts, and other confidential information. Access this historical information when you need it, without delays.
According to a CSO Insights survey, “88% of sales professionals are unable to find or bring up critical sales material on their smartphone,” leading to longer sales cycles and lost deals.
A DMS solves this problem by:
Ultimately, your employees become empowered, productivity improves and sales and marketing functions better.
Simply buying a document management system and using it in your business doesn't get you all these benefits automatically, though. Make sure you work with your vendor to plan a strong implementation that includes training and communication for your staff. The more buy-in you get from your employees, the more likely they are to use the software and help drive some of these benefits.
Here are three more best practices to consider:
Plan ahead, deciding how you want your document management system used. Create standard operating procedures and training materials employees at all levels can turn to when they have a question. The more consistent your teams are in using the software, the greater the benefits.
Not every organization can go 100% paperless, but the best results are achieved when you convert as many documents to digital as possible and capture them as close to the "entry point" as you can.
For example, certain types of mail should be opened and immediately scanned and routed to the proper people as digital documents. Workflows should allow staff to forward attachments directly into the document management system, rather than require that they print document emails.
A document management solution provides opportunities to do much more than you could ever do with paper processes. Don't seek to create workflows that mimic what you did with paper. Instead, gather subject matter experts in your organization and design better processes that take full advantage of digital capabilities.
Below are the three major steps for starting with document management software. For a successful implementation, follow the 7 essential document management best practices.
Digital document management is best suited for document-centric workflows like those in business areas already identified: finance, sales and marketing, and HR. These are workflows that typically enable employees to transition from time-consuming manual workflows to productive automated ones.
To help you identify these areas, start with the common ones that typically yield substantial productivity gains, for example, invoice processing, employee onboarding and contract management.
Integration is a core value proposition of any DMS. Once you’ve defined your workflows, find the integration points. Below are examples of integration points within those three common workflows:
Integration with an accounting or ERP system ensures that information is consistent in both systems and eliminates duplicate data entry. This might be an integration with QuickBooks for a smaller business or with Microsoft Dynamics for a larger organization.
Human resources teams often use a human capital management (HCM) system like Workday or SAP Success Factors to manage employee information and use office automation to ensure that supporting documents are captured, routed, signed, completed, approved and stored with appropriate privacy settings.
Document management integrates with the tools that legal and procurement teams live by: Microsoft Office and Microsoft Outlook. The success of contract management teams depends significantly on a structured workflow which supports strong security and version control.
Document management software captures, manages, retrieves and stores documents in electronic format. It is defined as the digital representation and secure storage of documents so that businesses can achieve new levels of speed, accuracy and transparency while creating a predictable, reliable, repeatable information infrastructure.
These solutions should be able to integrate with other systems, including email, ERP, accounting or customer relationship management systems. These integrations help you develop and automate workflows that involve documents and allow employees to access documents as needed to perform their work.
If document management software specializes in capturing, storing and automating document flow within business processes, enterprise content management (ECM) describes software that extends beyond that: including web content management, social content management and other enterprise capabilities fall in this bucket.
Typically, ECM is deployed within large enterprises, as licenses and configuration are complicated, costly and time-consuming to deploy. Thus, ECM is not a good fit for small and mid-size businesses that need basic document management.
Document management software is a must-have solution for most businesses. Paper, though not completely obsolete, is expensive and difficult to maintain. It can require costly file storage space. Moreover, an employee has to file the paper, and another staff member has to spend time retrieving it when they need the information. Paper is also tied to manual processes that contribute to higher costs, decreased efficiency and more errors. Document management software, on the other hand, provides you with options for digital storage and retrieval, automated workflow, data security and compliance measures.
A document management plan is a written record of how you manage your documents — both paper and electronic. It might include:
Almost any business can benefit from some type of document management system. When it comes to document management software, there are options to support businesses across all types of industries. DocuWare has solutions for finance and accounting businesses, sales and marketing teams, healthcare organizations, manufacturing and many others.
Ready to see how the benefits of a document management solution might play out in your organization? Contact DocuWare today for more information or a free demo.