Documents define an office. Hence, office work would be practically impossible without document management. Document management is the collecting, tracking, and systematically storing of documents. Businesses of all sizes practice it, as it reduces clutter, makes the workplace more efficient, and keeps critical information readily available whenever necessary.
The Importance of Document Management
The volume of data businesses handles daily is staggering. Statistical data suggests that in 2012, there were 6.5 zettabytes (one zettabyte being 1 billion terabytes) of data created and consumed worldwide. In only eight years, by 2020, this number has increased almost tenfold to 64 zettabytes. And while businesses are not the only producers and consumers of data, they contribute a significant portion.
Therefore, it becomes evident that without a proper document management system, it’s easy for essential files to get lost in the shuffle. This can lead to inefficiencies and potential compliance issues or even more severe business-endangering problems.
A well-implemented document management system, on the other hand, has numerous benefits:
Document management in general, and more specifically, digital document management, considerably the need for physical storage, making locating and retrieving documents more accessible. If you want to store documents locally, you may need storage devices or local server workstations, but these are still much more space-efficient and organized than traditional paper storage. And if you need to bypass physical storage almost entirely, cloud services make it possible to manage documents remotely.
Digital systems offer robust security measures, protecting sensitive information from unauthorized actors. While digital document management systems have unique vulnerabilities that couldn’t exist with traditional paper, they also protect data from degradation and being lost or damaged, especially since all copies of it are identical.
Many industries have strict regulations regarding document retention. A digital document management system can help maintain compliance with these rules by protecting the documents from being lost or destroyed unintentionally.
Components of a Document Management System
A robust document management system comprises several components or steps of digital document management:
- Document capture involves converting physical documents into digital format through scanning if they don’t already exist in digital form.
- Indexing and organization make document retrieval easier and helps new individuals find them without consulting a superior.
- Secure storage in a centralized location or backup location makes retrieval quick and easy.
- Access control makes it so that only individuals with proper credentials can access certain documents.
- Disaster recovery means that in case of a system failure or data loss, the system should have a backup and recovery plan in place.
How to Implement Document Management
Implementing a document management system in your business takes a few steps, which can be summed up as such:
- Determine what your workplace needs and doesn’t need. Understand the volume and types of documents your business usually handles.
- Pick a system that does what you need. Choose a system that offers the features that are right for the type of documents your business processes without feature creep.
- Train your staff on the new system. Ensure your staff understands how to use the system effectively without being overwhelmed.
- Monitor and make improvements when necessary. Review the system’s effectiveness whenever an opportunity arises and make improvements.
The Likely Role of AI in Document Management
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been the talk of the town recently, and it hasn’t missed the business world. Document management is no exception. AI can automatically classify documents, extract information, and route it wherever needed. That can significantly reduce work time and improve accuracy.
For instance, AI can automatically categorize incoming documents based on their content, point them to the department that needs the documents, and extract information on demand. This speeds up the processing of these documents and minimizes the risk of human error.
Moreover, AI can improve security and keep classified documents away from prying eyes by detecting unusual access patterns and alerting administrators, thereby possibly helping stop data breaches.
The Environmental Impact of Document Management
Switching away from paper and to digital document management can have a significant positive impact on the environment. By considerably reducing the need for physical storage and paper, companies lessen their carbon footprint and operate more sustainably.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year. However, more of the same work is done digitally. The further a business can reduce this number. Additionally, digital-first document management takes far less physical storage space, reducing energy consumption and further promoting sustainability.
How to Choose the Right System
The right document management system depends on what services benefit your business. Here are some points of note:
- Ease of Use – The system should be user-friendly and intuitive enough to match the skill level of those who’ll be using it.
- Updates – Ideally, the document management system you pick should receive updates frequently enough to keep up with the technology and security concerns but not be disruptive.
- Scalability – As your business grows, the document management system should be able to keep up with it.
- Integration – The system should integrate as seamlessly as possible with the software your office already uses.
- Support and Training – Choose a provider that guarantees long-term support and training so your staff can easily prepare for the new system and can quickly get help when it misbehaves.
A Wealth of Documents
In the digital business environment, document management is not a luxury but a necessity. Without it, an office would be chaotic. It makes work easier and more sensible and ensures compliance with regulations. Whether you have a small business in Troy or a large corporation in Detroit or Flint, a robust document management system can significantly improve your workplace’s productivity.
If you’re ready to take the leap into better document management, Elite Imaging Systems is here to lend a hand. EIS believes in its customers and can provide a document management system that fits anyone. Contact Elite Imaging Systems to learn more about all the ways to transform your business.