Now, where did I save that file? This is one of the more common questions we ask ourselves at work in this digital age. However, losing a document or spending time looking for it is about more than just convenience. Proper document management can save your business money and help it avoid trouble. This article shares five benefits of document management.
First, What is Document Management?
Document management is not a new idea. Anyone who’s every dug through a filing cabinet drawer or typed a label for a manila file folder knows that systematic storage or documents is an age-old process. Today, though, while we pay homage to paper folders with digital folder icons, document management is 100% electronic. Even if a document starts out on paper, it inevitably ends up scanned and stored somewhere in digital form.
Document management systems provide centralized, safe and easily-accessed storage of electronic documents. Modern document management invariably involves browser-based access. They enable you to search for documents, define document types and build document templates. This allows you to structure your company’s documents and assign properties to them, e.g. viewing privileges.
5 Benefits of Document Management
We have worked with many companies on the implementation of document management solutions. Through the years, we have noted five basic benefits of the technology:
1) Improving productivity
When your workers waste time looking for files or getting confused about document versions, it drags down their productivity. You pay them for doing nothing, in essence. Worse, if documents get lost altogether, this sets up a cycle of recreating the document, which is even more wasteful of time.
2) Reducing the hidden costs of missing or hard-to-find docs
Missing or hard-to-find documents affect more than productivity. They can impede the sales process, for instance. If salespeople cannot locate contracts, or use out-of-date contract templates, this can have a negative impact on sales. Customer support can also suffer if workers cannot locate service contracts, repair reports and so forth.
3) Inoculating your business against the effects of employee turnover
People come and go. This business reality can have a dramatic effect on document management. Without an organized, document management process and system in effect, documents can easily get lost when workers move on. Frustratingly, the documents may be hiding in plain sight. They’ve just been given names that only the former employee knows. In the worst-case scenario, a former employee has stored your company’s documents on his or her personal cloud drives or USB sticks. This translates into document loss but also legal and security risk exposure, along with potential loss of intellectual property.
4) Reducing legal liability
If you’re in a lawsuit, you will get asked to produce documents during the discovery phase of the litigation. If you can’t find them, it looks bad, as if you’re trying to hide something. And, you may lose out on the ability to prove some important legal point, e.g. that you had a signed contract with someone. Judges can even sanction you for failure to produce requested documents. At the very least, trying to find documents for a lawsuit can turn into a time-consuming process when there’s no organized system for document management.
5) Narrowing cyber risk exposure
Businesses generate a lot of documents. Even a relatively small company might find itself in possession of hundreds of thousands of documents after a few years. What’s in those documents? Generally, no one knows. This is not a secure state of affairs. Hackers can use robotic software to scan the files you no longer remember. They can discover employees’ social security numbers and a lot more, if document access isn’t restricted. Document management systems can automatically discover documents and establish access controls to protect your business from cyber risk and data loss.
If you’re interested in learning how document management can help your people work more productively, contact us today!