Storing company documents digitally may seem like a huge task, and let’s face it, it can be. Any change for a business will take time, for both employees to adjust and for the benefits to take shape. At DocTech we come across all sorts of reasons as to why our clients want to make the move to digital storage. Below we outline the six top reasons why we think your organisation should too.
1 – Employee Efficiency
Efficiency is the number one reason clients engage with DocTech and invest in our solutions. This has been the case since 1984. There are many parts of employee tasks that can’t really be quantified or accelerated. Document retrieval is most definitely not one of them. Searching for documents is a drain on so many organisations. It is dead time which holds many businesses back from achieving growth without increasing staffing levels to cope.
When we start speaking to prospective clients, we ask them to try and quantify the amount of time it takes their staff to store, process and find documents. The usual answer we get is “too long”. Even when we break it down and ask about specific processes, many organisations just don’t have the technology or knowledge to provide the details. Document storage and retrieval is a completely none profit making task. Well-paid staff are carrying it out with no return whatsoever. Once our prospects realise this, we help them to calculate a ROI. An investment in the appropriate document management solution starts to make sense. With more than 35 years in the industry, we are yet to come across an organisation that has returned to their old way of storing company documents. Once they have invested in a dedicated document solution, they stick with it.
2 – Transparent Document Compliance
Alongside efficiency, the other main reason for investing in a dedicated document management solution is compliance. Bespoke User/ Group Access Permissions drive much of the compliance document processes we assist. This will be more prevalent for heavily regulated industries such as Oil & Gas, Education, Housing, Construction, Legal & Financial Services. But with the updated GDPR, more organisations than ever before are focused on data compliance. Without decent document-based systems in place, a huge headache is created. We see spreadsheets managing retention rules, fleets of vehicles, training updates and HR tasks such as holiday requests. For any process in your business which requires adherence to dates or renewals, we strongly believe the best way is to capture the details from the original documents. Rules are then put in place in the background. This provides the ability to plan and manage updates, renewals and re-certifications by running searches such as “show all documents which will meet the retention criteria in the next three months” or “show all certifications which expire this month”. This just isn’t possible to do without a dedicated way of storing company documents in a system that captures the data on entry.
3 – Physical Storage of Documents (Paper)
This one speaks for itself – real estate costs real money. It simply isn’t cost effective to be storing company documents across paper files, archive boxes or lever arch files. Taking up room on your premises or costing money to store them remotely. This in turn means documents are not easily accessible. The same applies where you have more than one site. The issues with paper files are clearly security related, as well as the risk of damage. Another issue is that paper is static, it can only be in one place at one time. This can increase duplicates and version problems. We do not advocate 100% paperless working environments as clearly there are cases for paper being easier to work with – i.e. a tender framework. However, our advice is that working documents should be made digital as soon as possible.
4 – Risk – Security and Errors
We often get questions about the security of our document management solutions – and rightly so. DocTech can provide white papers and other supporting documents to evidence the security the software guarantees. We also like to put this question back to our prospective clients. It’s interesting to see their reaction once they start to truly consider the security of their documents bearing in mind that most of them hold data in a variety of places – some of which cannot be guaranteed to be secure. High risk document storage includes desktops, email folders, USB sticks, network folders and paper files being taken with employees off site. It’s often the case that there is no visibility of user access or amends of documents on the network drive and most certainly the same applies to paper files.
For DocTech, a huge part of document security is visibility. There should be an audit trail as standard for documents to know which user has accessed and/or edited a document. In line with security, we also believe in eradicating the risk of errors. Matching documents and using data capture products provides a big win against the risk of error for our clients. For example, if a PO has been through a rigorous approval process, why not match the incoming associated invoice? If there is a match within a defined range, we can automate the document as being fit for payment. This reduces risk and speeds up the process, whilst maintaining efficiency.
5 – Quick and Easy Document Access
Have a think about the number of locations to consider when asking yourself “where will I find that document?” When there isn’t a dedicated place for document storage, users become very guarded about their own ability to find a document at a later date. This causes huge problems for organisations as they have no control over the number of versions of documents sitting within the business.
There are simple rules in place in even the most basic of our solutions such as predefined document select lists. This means that users cannot assign a document a ‘document type’, they must choose from a pre-defined select list. So, rather than having the same document type named slightly differently, such as quote/costing/estimate/pricing, users have one option to choose from, “quotation”. There are many other examples of this type of guidance which makes the storing, and importantly the retrieving of documents problem free. Whenever we build a storage pool for our clients, we learn about their business. The way in which a Housing Association wants to store and retrieve documents will be very different from the needs of a Legal Practice. We look to find the unique identifier which will tie documents together: Case Number, Tenant Number, Postcode, Job Number. This enables individual documents to be found as well as the ability to see all documents relating to a project, job, case etc.
6 – Increased Workflow
A lot of organisations get scared by this word. They automatically think of AI and crazy technology replacing them. That is simply not the case – even organisations wholly using paper have workflows. They are just manual workflows. There is a difference between digitisation and automation, and workflow provides a great illustration of the difference. Workflow is available from zero to full-blown automation. Some document workflows are still carried out manually by our clients as this suits their business – but crucially these tasks are created, assigned and tracked in a digital way. Even if manually assigned, a user can check if the task has been completed. We have other clients who will store the document manually into the software and then want the document to be automatically routed round the organisation based on the document type. Other clients have fully automated workflow management in place. There is not a one size fits all approach to workflow. It’s often the part of the process which evolves the most over time.
For a discussion about storing company documents digitally and the specific needs of your organisation, get in touch – 0161 667 3391 or email us.