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Moving From Paper Based Processes To A Digital Workflow

Author: Ruban Rajasooriyar

Making the move from a paper based process to a digital workflow isn’t as daunting as you might think.  If your processes are already well documented then implementing document management software that will remove paper in favour of digital files, will be fairly straight forward.

What is a Document Management System?

A document management system is a digital system used to securely store documents of any type: invoices, emails, employee records, CAD drawings, delivery notes etc.

Documents are stored in a way that makes finding them simple reducing search time and avoiding wasted time looking for information stored across paper, inboxes and network folders - or worse, lost!

Authorised users can access the system from anywhere with an internet connection with no loss of functionality when working at home or out on the road.

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What is a Digital Workflow?

A digital workflow is the automation of the steps needed to complete any process or task. A digital workflow requires a certain level of technology in order to remove manual work and improve process efficiency.

A digital workflow connects separates processes together through integrated systems that talk to one another. With document management software paper based processes are replaced. For example, a new starter form enters the software and it automatically notifies IT that a laptop is needed and their Line Manger that an induction is required.

5 Tips on Moving from Paper Based Processes

You Don’t Have To Be Completely Paperless

paper ‘Paperless’ is a term which is thrown around a lot as organisations look to reduce paper, storage space and facilitate hybrid working

However, being ‘a paperless office’ can be misleading and result in organisations dismissing it as not relevant to them.  We often hear “our suppliers send paper invoices and they won’t change!” or “Some of our team are “old school” and prefer working on paper!”

When trying to move away from paper based processes, the aim is to decrease paper use rather than remove it from the business entirely.

The goal should be to reduce unnecessary printing and to digitise paper documents as soon as they arrive in the business. Once digitised in a Document Management System, automated digital workflows can be implemented making processes quicker and more accurate.

Talk With Primary Users

In order to develop effective paperless processes, it’s absolutely critical to talk to key users and stakeholders. We often find managers think the organisation follows a certain process but the day-to-day reality is very different.

Understanding the intricacies of a paper based process is vital when looking to replicate or improve it digitally.

Visually Map Out Your Processes

Creating a flow chart of your current and desired processes will help you visualise what you currently do and what you would like to achieve.document processes

A process mapping tool is a great way of visualising each step of the process and is a good collaborative exercise with all those involved.  It also keeps everyone in agreement as to what is being done and makes a great start on any process optimisation goals.

DocTech offer free process assessments and our team are experienced in helping your articulate the everyday processes you may take for granted.  Get in touch for more information.

Record Any Changes

When digitising and updating processes make sure you record any changes made.  If issues arise in testing you can determine whether they are due to the new platform or the new process.

Avoid introducing huge changes at the same time.  Tweaks are good practice and DocTech are more than happy to suggest changes to paper based processes that offer the greatest improvements.

Keep Reviewing

Once your document management system has been tested, keep reviewing your processes as you may discover new opportunities to improve workflows further.  The system provides an automated way to manage document approvals for example, so this could be an additional step you incorporate.

Continue to look for ways to eliminate unnecessary steps and streamline where possible. Processes should be reviewed again with users in a few months as they may have further suggestions for workflow enhancements.

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The Benefits of Reducing Paper Based Processes

Moving from paper based processes to a digital document management system enables you to create business processes that meet your exact requirements.


Automated digital workflows can mirror your old paper based processes - if they worked well enough, or bring about huge enhancements.  Accurate data capture from the start means the correct information moves through the business. Manual data entry is removed and errors reduced.

Email notifications for tasks can be set up and integration with third party systems means outside data can be brought into the digital workflow.

Better Security

Digital workflows with a Document Management System remove error as paper doesn’t exist and therefore can’t go missing. Information is stored securely and backed up, only available to those with authorised access.

Save Time and Money


Time is the most valuable commodity you and your team have. The lost productivity from cumbersome, labour intensive processes is draining money from your business and stopping your team working on valuable, profit-making tasks.

Digital workflows increase the speed documents can flow through the business and ultimately, processes and tasks are completed quicker.  Documents are easily found and time is no longer wasted searching for information that could be on someone’s desk or inbox.

How DocTech Will Help

If your organisation is ready to take the first step in moving away from paper based processes and take advantage of cloud storage, automated processes and digital workflows then we’d love to chat with you.  You can also read more about this in the Digital Transformation Strategy pages of our website.

The team at DocTech are approaching four decades of experience in document management solutions and understand the difficulties organisations face due to out-dated processes.  

We will work with you to understand your challenges and advise the best and most cost effective solution to meet your organisational needs.

Get in touch for an informal chat or to book a free processes assessment and start making improvements today.

Book a FREE Process Assessment

Contact us now for more information 0161 647 7040