Document management or “going paperless” can be a confusing concept to understand. “Document imaging” or just capturing documents to be stored electronically is only part of the big picture. You’ll also need to be able to retrieve them quickly, send them out individually or in a batch, process them through workflow or maybe even create forms that can be filled out electronically to eliminate all the paper from the start. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you think about each of these ideas, multiplied by the many departments that use paper and then add in all of the different ways documents come in and go out of the organization.
Start with the basics. Think about the biggest challenge you have with documents in your organization and address that first. If you decide to go with a scalable solution like doc-link, you can start with that entry-level solution and address each of the other issues once you’re ready.
Too much paper. Maybe your biggest challenge is simple: there is too much paper in your organization and storing it in file cabinets or at an off-site storage facility is expensive and inefficient. By purchasing a simple electronic filing solution, you can scan your documents in or capture them at the point they’re created. That will eliminate the need for physical document storage space and make it much easier for you to find documents when you need them. There are many solutions out there that can solve this issue, but might not handle other things well, so scalability is key – even if you’re only addressing storage for now.
Sending out documents is time consuming. You might find that it’s best to start in a particular department too. For example, sending out AR invoices might be a long, involved process of separating paper documents, determining who wants them emailed or faxed and taking the time to send each one in the preferred format. We can address that using an output automation tool that will recognize the recipient’s preference and either create an email and attach the electronic file or send it to a printer with any associated documents collated behind it. You could expand that to other departments next by automating the distribution of internal reports, for example.
Losing visibility during the approval process. For some organizations, workflow bottlenecks might be the biggest issue. If a document is sitting at someone else’s desk awaiting approval, nobody else can easily check on its status or figure out if it got lost or buried. If that workflow is electronic instead, you can see the status of every document as well as how long it’s been at a certain stage in the approval process. You could even have email notifications sent out if a document doesn’t get approved after a certain amount of time. Reporting and auditing capabilities allow you to see the entire history for each document from who viewed it, emailed it, approved or denied it and the date and time each activity occurred. You can schedule reports to show how many outstanding documents there are and which ones have passed their time limitations.
There are many more areas you can add automation to your processes, but it’s all about what is a priority to your organization. The important thing here is knowing that the solution you choose can be added to as other needs surface. It would be a shame to invest in a solution that meets your immediate needs but ends up having to be replaced as those needs change. Ask us for more information on how you can start your document management journey and make the first step towards improved efficiency.