How do you transition to a paperless business?
The first step is to accept that the move from a paper-centric work environment to a fully digital one makes a lot of sense.
Essentially, paper files/records are now the outstanding data set that resides outside of a company’s electronic environment.
There are a lot of compelling arguments for Scanning paper Files.
- Disaster Recovery
- Office Floor Space Saving
- OH & S Risk reduction
- Staff Efficiency
- Corporatizing the Information within the Files.
Each business will have its own motivations and drivers, the short-term, medium and long-term goals need consideration.
Seek the help of an expert
A qualified and trustworthy document management expert can provide a wealth of advice, as well as peace of mind, by addressing these issues early in the planning stages.
When a document management system is deployed without content there’s a real resistance to change, there’s no perceived benefit, staff are reluctant to embrace it. So, if you reverse the model and you scan your vital documents first, you embed that within the Document management system and then deploy it, the difference in acceptance levels are considerable.
Follow these four steps to Paperless Office success, and you’ll be well on your way to breaking free:
Step 1: Outsource Back-file Document Scanning.
Most companies after some investigation find that the resources required to start their own back file scanning processes are very costly in more ways then one, and that most times the lack of accuracy and the amount of time your staff will devote to the project is more costly to your business by pulling them away from their normal everyday tasks. Deciding to implement a “paperless office” is very beneficial, and the day-forward aspect of scanning in all the new documents increases your productivity.
Step 2: Move Scanning To Front-end Business Processes.
For example, as soon as an invoice comes into the organization, scan it into the Document management system; then, manually route it via email to the appropriate people. You’ve just taken your next step! The goal is to actually process the information electronically from images, rather than transferring physical paper throughout the organization. So, that correspondence, transaction or documents are no longer delivered to a person’s desk and then transcribing information from it. The organisation should now scan the physical documents in a mail room environment or by a bureau service such as Microsystems, and then processing the transaction electronically in a completely efficient workflow-centric way. Maintain momentum by celebrating little paperless victories like “5% less printing,” or goals relating to the volume of documents scanned.
Step 3: Create Efficient Workflows.
You’re up and running – it’s time to deploy the document management system with that content embedded, train the staff on how to use the system, how to locate their records within the application, and then how they can continue to add to the system. So, you train people once, they get better and better, and it’s only the high-end questions and functionality that then are Stage 2, Stage 3, Stage 4 training regimes that you’re implementing rather than simple search queries. Your staff quickly become comfortable using only digital documents, and the benefits will be self-aware.
Step 4: Automate Workflow Company-wide.
Get ready for your business to take off and perform at a world-class level. Document Management Applications are now available which have true workflow functionality embedded and rules based securitisation and retention of the information, so you can permit or lockout certain users, allocate certain levels of document security even within a particular file. That strength in being able to fine tune accessibility for specific documents and users is just so powerful.
Additionally you have the ability to integrate with Microsoft Office so Excel, Outlook, PDF files, Scanned Images creating a single secure repository for all of the history of the organisation. Once you get rid of the paper-based filing system, you’ve removed the opportunity for disaster. The opportunity of loss is now gone because you have basically secured it electronically via Tape or into the Cloud.
With the new document management applications, the information you’ve got within them are also available by PDA devices so your mobile phone or an iPad/Tablet. A tremendous benefit is having the ability to have remote staff that can still access all of the information and documents that they need at their fingertips, that’s definitely a big plus for modern business.
The truth today is your staff is openly seeking technical change, filing and retrieving paper records is tedious and prone to misfiling and that’s just frustrating and frankly the most boring job in any workplace. People are seeking change. They are looking for easy access of information. If you can make them more productive, they will be happier.