Posts Tagged ‘digital document management’
With the current plummeting economic rates, minimizing on input and maximizing on output is a major concern for many businesses in today’s contemporary world. One way achieve this is to mechanize most of a business’s operations. The computer has successfully succeeded in executing this task efficiently. With the use of computers arises the need of software. Software such as open source project management software has lived up to this challenge of effectively minimizing on input while maximizing on output.
Project management software is a software solution that allows a business to track the development of a project from its conception up until maturity. Contrary to the popular misconception, project management software solutions are not only required by IT teams or the technology industry, but are useful to all kinds of industries both profit-making and non-profit making. One popular type of project management software is the document indexing software, also known as document management system (DMS).
A document management system is a set of computer system that is used to track and store electronic documents. These set of computer programs are useful in storing, securing, searching, and tracking electronic files such as spreadsheets, PDFs, images and emails. Other third party systems also come with the added functionality of scanning, capturing and indexing paper documents. Before embarking on a shopping spree for document management software, talking to a qualified document management provider is in line to help sort through the available options and find the right software solution that adequately serves your business.
An efficient document management software, starts by eliminating among one of the biggest barriers to greater productivity: storage and retrieval of data. To achieve this, data contained in documents is digitized, indexed, processed and stored awaiting retrieval at a later date. Over the last few years, document imaging which involves conversion of paper-based documents into digital images, has evolved from basic data storage and retrieval into management of images, text and data files in a workflow enhanced environment. This form of document management has effectively minimized operating costs and optimized the value of information by making it easily accessible to employee in good condition as opposed to paper-work documentation of data.
Given the large amount of data handled by organizations, a good document management system should come with a good indexing capability to optimize data retrieval. An indexing capability keeps track of unique electronic documents by providing classification through unique document identifiers and metadata or at times word indexes extracted from the electronic documents’ contents. Effective indexing caters for easier, faster and accurate retrieval of stored documents.
Among other capabilities possessed by document management systems includes versioning, security and integration. Integration is achieved when document management is synced with other applications such that users can easily retrieve existing documents directly from the document management system repository and perform operations such as editing or deleting and eventually save the changed document back to the DMS repository as a new version. Also an efficient DMS should provide document security deter alteration and unintended use.
With efficient management of documents and data being an essential determinant of a business’s success, clearly a good document management system is an essential open source project management software solution to integrate into an organization operations.
Document Imaging software can help business owners and managers in easily locating, scanned files, PDF papers, records and other electronic documents. The software to manage documents can be a web-based application or computer software. Today, businesses must not only manage electronic documents but also know how to deal with problems that are associated with managing these documents like version control and finding the right documents. The need for a good Electronic Data Management Software (EDMS) is clear and any product you get must be able to solve your problem. However, not everyone can afford to buy an expensive EDMS. There are many managers and personal users who are looking for a free solution to their problem. These people can get good open source document management software that can help in solving their problem.
There are several tangible and intangible benefits of getting an electronic document management system. Here are some tangible benefits of getting this system:
When you have EDMS software, you don’t have to maintain a hard copy of the documents. Almost all the paper documents can be saved as electronic documents which can be saved in an archive or within the business. This will help in reducing the storage requirements of your business.
Reduce retrieval time
Getting paper documents from an archive or a storage facility can be more time consuming when compared to electronic retrieval of documents. EDMS not only reduces the retrieval time but also help in conducting advanced searches. Conducting these searches can be especially useful when you are trying to make some major changes or searching for information or data that is subject to litigation.
If you maintain paper documents, you have to take print outs of documents which will increase your expenses on paper and toner. Paperless office is not possible but it is anticipated that using EDMS can help in reducing the need for paper copies of documents. Even if you use an EDMS that does not have electronic signature capability, you must only get the master paper printed which will reduce expenses.
When documents are electronically stored, employees have to spend less time searching for the documents. Improved document approval and review cycle will reduce processing time and improve the efficiency of business.
Improved disaster recovery
Most EMDS contains important business document and has a disaster recovery system that allows the user to restore the documents when there is a disaster or disruption.
EDMS not only offer several tangible benefits but can also offer some potential intangible benefits. Some of the intangible benefits offered include:
a) The documents that are stored electronically are more secure than paper documents. These electronic documents are stored in a secure location which ensures that only the right people get access to these documents.
b) When the documents are electronically stored, there is improved compliance to legislation and regulation.
c) There is central management and control of all electronic documents.
d) There are reduced chances of documents getting lost or stolen.
e) EDMS can help in enhancing competitive situation as it improves internal documentation processes.
f) Customer service improves as employees have faster access to important customer information.
Paperless office, as the name suggests, is just that, an office where no paper is used to store and communicate information and data. However, many offices are yet to achieve a complete 100% paperless environment. In fact, even after the arrival of computers and document management applications, the uses of papers has only increased and not decreased. There are various reasons behind it. The first is that most people still trust the paper more than the digital documents. Many have grown up with the paper documents and it is difficult for them to switch to computers that also requires going through some learning curve. However, the advantages of going paperless are too many to ignore.
Put simply, a paperless office environment is achieved in three ways. The first is to digitize existing paper documents by using document imaging and conversion options. The second step is to switch to using digital documents. It requires asking customers, clients, suppliers, resellers and employees to send, use and receive information and data only in digital format. The third option is to start using only the digital documents. It involves minimizing conversion of digital documents into paper documents. These three options are the basic and most effective methods to make an office achieve its goal of going paperless.
When it comes to the idea of a paperless office, many people only think of the advantage of an office that is clutter free. While that is a big advantage, there are other important benefits as well. A big advantage is that the business process speeds up and becomes more efficient and cost-effective. Documents can be stored and retrieved as and when needed. For example, a customer may enter the office and the deal may require fetching a document. Now, if the document has been kept in paper format then some time would be spent in searching the required document and fetching it from the storeroom. However, if the document was kept in digital format then it can be retrieved and viewed immediately with a few simple clicks. It is obvious, which option would be preferred and admired most by the customer.
Many business owners think that going paperless is expensive and risky. They think the job would involve hiring additional employees, hardware and software. They also believe that important documents must be kept on paper because documents stored in servers may get deleted. However, all these concerns are unfounded. It is especially clear from the success of companies that have gone paperless and in the process saved lots of money.
The fact is, in a paperless office, there is less need of employees and hardware. Documents can be stored, retrieved, edited and duplicated easily. A big advantage with the digital documents is that these documents can be sent and received immediately through the networked computers or Internet. The documents instantly become available to everyone across different locations and regions.
Documents are safer and more secure in a paperless office. The only thing is that each document must be backed up when it is received and after every instance of editing. This can be achieved easily by setting up a standard procedure for every employee. Initially, the cost of document imaging and document management software may seem expensive; however, when considered in the long term, digital documents are very cost-effective compared to the paper documents.
Many owners and managers of small and mid-sized businesses think that digital document management solution is for larger corporations or enterprise sized businesses when in fact, small businesses around the world have begun to deploy document management software into their business operations because the costs have gone down drastically. It is no longer as expensive as it used to be for you to now manage your business documents electronically and have to deal with less paper files while your business runs optimally.
There is no doubt that people all over the world are seeing the benefits of running a paperless office with efficient business document management though a slight learning curve might be experienced depending on your employees’ capability to use the computer systems and the brand of digital document solution being deployed. While some electronic document filing solution will be easier for employees to use than other brands, once your staff gets accustomed to filing and managing your business documents by using computer applications, it will soon be evident to you the height to which document management software will help your business attain through efficiency and optimum employee productivity. Here are some benefits a document management solution will help you achieve:
Easy filing and retrieval of your business documents. Filing your business documents digitally will help you maximize the processes involved with the retrieval and management of files greatly. For example, you could search for documents based on keywords or certain phrases and get your desired results within seconds, whereas such search could have taken hours before. Instant retrieval of documents is possible because when you scan and convert your business files, you can apply optical character recognition which will make it possible for your documents to be searchable based on text content so that searches based on keywords or phrases will return all relevant results to your search query instantly.
Reduced cost for paper management while increasing employee productivity: Since time is more valuable in this modern business age than ever, integrating business document management software in your business setup will help your employees to do more in as little time as possible and hence improve their capacity to concentrate more on tasks that matters most to the growth and profitability of your business. Once efficiency is achieved in running your business, it should save you on costs of doing business while also helping your business to grow in a way that could be difficult to calculate.
Electric document management will make your employees happier and satisfied with doing their work: Document management solution helps employees to speed up their work and employees that accomplish much more in a relatively little amount of time are bound to be happier doing their job. With more productivity and on-the-job improved performance, your team can earn more incentives linked to productivity and business growth and increase their job satisfaction and commitment to the goals of your business. Digital document management software is a win-win for all businesses and their employees.
The world and the United States in particular has recently experienced a rash of natural disasters including damaging storms, floods, tornadoes, Hurricane Irene and wildfires. Business owners in the affected areas are now faced with the stark reality of how absolutely important it is to have a document management software system in place that protects their business documents.
Document management software will preserve your documents from natural disasters and all kinds of unforeseen destructive occurrences: Apart from the natural occurrences like earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and others that are capable of destroying a business premises and the physical or unsecured business documents, there are other factors like terrorism, arson, broken water pipes, theft, unexpected computer and information technology system failures, and activities of hackers with malicious intentions which all have the potential to stop a successful business in its tracks by destroying a company’s business files if not properly backed up or stored off site by deploying business document management software. Document management solution is a tool that enables a business to convert paper documents into digital documents. Once your documents are converted and stored in a document management system, they are easily backed up to tape, disk or even stored in offsite storage which is indeed a true disaster recovery plan for your file cabinets.
A broad range of functions of electronic document management software: Digital business document management solution is a system that helps you index paper file document, store it, find it as quickly as you need it, retire it when you like, and create an audit trail for each document. This digital document filing solution also provides automation for all reoccurring business processes, provides all executives and others easy access anywhere and at any time to all critical business documents and aids easy sharing of documents among many users real time. It also provides due security for all documents with the most efficient firewall security technology. In addition, this software provides support for recovering your business documents after a disaster and guarantees the continuity of your business plan.
How efficient data recovery minimizes the losses of a business after a disaster: A report by the US Department of Labor estimates the percentage of small businesses that couldn’t survive after about two years of a major disaster to be 60 percent. That is staggering but any unexpected disaster is capable of devastating your business if adequate preparation isn’t made. An efficient document management system with online backup for your business documents will store away all your crucial business files of whatever type including all correspondences, invoices, accounting documents, business agreements, regulatory files, employee files, images or any other forms of documents that keeps your business running on a daily basis.
Any business document that makes running of your business efficient and guarantees recovery in the event of the worst form of disaster is the right document management software every business should acquire.
Every business owner who has incorporated document management software in the setup of the operations of their companies is talking of the great benefits of digitizing paper documents. Digitizing your existing and incoming paper documents is the role of efficient document management software. The software will perform this task by using capture and indexing tools and it is a performance enhancer when incorporated into the network processes of a business and it can be used to improve efficiencies of your business and also cut overhead to the barest minimum.
What document management software will help you achieve: Digital business document management solution is a computer based software application that allows you to create a document or scan an existing document, store, edit, and retrieve it when you need to do so within seconds. The application will also assist you to share your business documents within each department and among various departments of your company. If you need to email, fax or print any document, the software will help you achieve all that and much more. In fact, you can manage your scanned paper documents and the electronic documents from any location outside your business premises with full security in order to prevent any unauthorized access to your business information once this enabling software has been installed to work with your business applications.
You no longer need to worry about being overwhelmed with the sheer volume or accumulated number of paper documents you and your employees have to handle in the course of running your business once the operation of your company has been made paperless with the business document management software.
Benefits of deploying business document management software in your business setup: Any efforts made at making an office paperless gives many benefits of which the followings are notable.
- Improved work efficiency of employees. Business document management application allows many users to access any given document already scanned or electronically stored simultaneously thereby resulting in getting work done faster. The effect of work efficiency translates to customer satisfaction as customers will see your company as being client focused and an efficient company a customer would want to do business with particularly where documents needs to be emailed to clients.
- A savings in time and costs. Companies are known for dealing with much information and where you have your documents already well organized by folders, tags and types of documents with the use of digital document software, time wasting is eliminated because a quick search attempts will locate the needed document within seconds. Besides the cost savings in terms of cutting overhead expenses since you do not need to employ people who would be there to help you file and search for paper documents from file cabinets, most document management applications offer you a one off expenses particularly if the system you choose is a desktop application which you only need to buy once and then use it as long as you wish to continue using it.
- A good recovery in time of disaster. With the advent of cloud technology, business document management software work to store your scanned paper documents in the cloud away from the effects of any type of disaster and hence make running your business stress and worry free when it comes to preserving your business documents from disasters.
More and more businesses are switching over from the use of physical paper filing and file cabinets for filing business documents to the all-digital business document management software which makes scanning, storing, searching, editing and sharing of business information easier, faster and secured for all categories of business enterprises. It is obvious that time is a fundamental resource that most people think they don’t have enough of; therefore, document management software provides employees with digital document management and filing tools that saves time and tremendously increases productivity at work.
Relative ease of use of efficient business document management: Most business managers are concerned about how complex or otherwise the office paperless software will be for employees to use since there is no point aiming at employee efficiency if the software solution will slow down business operation when staff finds operating the application complex to manipulate. There are many companies the world over that develop business document management solution and how each brand of software works depends on the company behind it and while we cannot speak for every developer of each brand of paperless office software, we are of the opinion that if you are looking to buy this software and make the running of your company paperless then you need to look for the brand that guarantees easy learning curve for employees and that its simple to use while it retains its usual power of maintaining complete and efficient paperless operational workings of your business.
There is a document management solution for every type of business setup: The operation of business document management spans every business sector. There are legal document filing application meant specially for the legal professional offices, the engineering application that caters for the need of companies in the engineering sector of the economy, and the medical document management software that applies to companies that are in the health based or produced health related products or services. Though the software has different areas of application yet they offer the same functionality and reliability if sourced from a credible company.
How to find the best fit document management software for your business: If you shop around the Internet and even ask for a practical demonstration of the software you are looking to buy where possible, you can get the document management software that will give your business the best operational efficiency expected. Good and efficient paperless office application software is one a ten year old who can operate a computer should be able to use with a little learning curve and it should therefore not be difficult for any adult employee to adapt to and use in their daily workings and operational activities on the job.
Look for the main functionalities any useful paperless software should have such as the ease of scanning, importing, exporting, editing, and sharing new documents within each department of your company and across other departments via email. Business document management application is meant to make running of your business easier. Efficient paperless electronic document filing solution which is ISO 9001:2000 certified will help you build your business as a cost minimizing and profit maximizing application you really need.
There is a common scenario with businesses where business document management software isn’t in place. Does this common business scenario look and sound familiar to you? The loss of valuable time due to manual opening and preparing business mail for internal distribution is a common phenomenon. Besides, there is the possibility of misplacing important documents because of the inefficiencies that goes with handling large volume of mail manually. Often, such important documents may be left in unsecured settings or not delivered as at when expected or delivered altogether to the wrong person. Any of these stated instances can happen to any business if it continues to run without integrating the electronic document management software in the mail room. If these statements illustrate the condition of your business mail room, it’s the right time to integrate the automated mail room services enabled by business document management solution into your business processes.
Benefits of integrating automated mail room services enabled by electronic document management software in your business: When compared to manual sorting of mail, automated mail room services enabled by business document management does not require multiple handling by several people before it gets to its intended person. Therefore, the possibility of loss is eliminated. Another benefit is the improvement in business workflow processes which shows itself in the efficient delivery of every mail to the intended destination. Of utmost importance is the security of each mail which cannot be compromised once this software is activated within your business processes because every crucial document can be scanned at the point of entry to your company, separated, indexed, and filed automatically while the recipients receive just the email notification of each document. Hence, the flow of information into your firm is thereby automated and secured at the mail room level.
How the automated mailroom services solution enabled by business document management software work in a business network: Once the critical business processes of your company is made compatible with the automated mail room services solution, each mail is scanned and indexed according to your predetermined settings so that each document, for example, a scanned invoice, is afterward sent automatically to the right top management personnel for review and approval before it gets forwarded to the account section for payment processing. With this streamlined system, you can easily imagine the level of business efficiency such process automation will bring to your company once this document management software is fully integrated.
In like manner, each document is tracked as it passes from one desk to another so quickly and effortlessly as each employee carries out action on it based on your predetermined business routine rules.
Business document management software that enables automated mail room services is able to secure and deliver to you improved business efficiency and very significant dollar incentives once it is applied to your business procedures. In fact, your employees will have much time to devote to the critical aspect of your company which guarantees improved cash flow and a continual increase in your business profits.
Business document management software is a perfect fit for all kinds of businesses; small and mid-sized companies inclusive. As a perfect fit, document management software has come to replace the file cabinets so perfectly and even much more with many benefits over and above the file cabinets. For example, document management software fits into the doctors ‘offices and relieves the offices of many paper based files and at the same time preserve the medical diagnostic files online to meet regulatory requirements. Business document management application does a similar thing to the lawyer’s office and makes it free of all the old case files while the documents will continue to be legally and properly kept electronically.
The amount of floor space paper documents and file cabinets occupy and the time and human power spent in filing and retrieving documents the traditional way constitute the biggest headaches of businesses. Therefore, business document management can go far to ease every known documents storage headaches for all professionals including doctors and lawyers and therefore boost their efficiency.
The reasons you should dump the file cabinets for document management software includes the followings:
1. It is often difficult to retrieve the documents if you are not on site or if the person who does the filing is away from your office. With the document management software, you can have access to your documents at anywhere real time with no confusion because the files will all be indexed and stored.
2. Business document management will help you avoid jinx of any sort that sometimes occur when you have to locate important files urgently. No matter the quantity of your data base, you will never lose any file once you deploy the electronic document management solutions.
3. You gain the time needed to re-file a document after use into a file cabinet when you deploy the document management application.
Now, here are some of the numerous benefits of using the document management in your organization.
Capacity to import: Good business document management software will enable you to import your file into where you would be able to organize and then store it where you wish to for easy retrieval.
Common storage: You can store all of your documents together according to your choice regardless of origin and file type. So, all drawings, correspondences, e-mails, images, MS office files, and other kinds of files can be stored together.
Ease of Retrieval: The rate at which you are able to find any document stored with the aid of the document management software determines how good the electronic file storage is. Within seconds, any document can be found when you deploy the document management system simply by using search terms which may be in full or in part.
Permits editing of files: Documents store online with the aid of the document management software can be edited at will by you or whoever you authorise to do so.
Improvement in automation and efficiency: The business document software guarantees the efficiency of your business operation and in fact, it allows automation so that things you were doing on paper before can now be done in a more efficient way. The security of your documents is guaranteed so that you alone can determine who should have access to your documents.
Document management software (DMS) is a computer- based application that captures, process, does document indexing, stores the file, aids easy retrieval, and distributes or even disposes of the document. This document which could be in any form is automatically stored online by the business document management software and it is protected from unauthorised access by the most sophisticated firewall security system.
DMS eliminates obstacles and reduces cost of doing business: The adoption of business document management software in a business removes most of the costs and obstacles associated with and created by the use of paper and file cabinets. The intensive labor costs due to paper duplication procedures, the effects of slow distribution of documents, the problem of misplaced originals and the near difficulty of retrieving files from off-site file cabinets are all completely eliminated when the document management software is adapted into a business set-up.
Experienced management experts have said that the methods of reducing or cutting business labor costs include the application of technology and by streamlining the processes of a business. When labour intensive jobs like manual document filings are replaced with technology, labour costs reduces considerably.
It is true that computers and the appropriate computer software applications can easily automate most normal tasks and eliminate errors. Good computer-based software ensures a hassle free, impartial, and orderly manner of meeting specific needs without any element of confusion. Electronic document management software has been declared to have a better accuracy of filing documents than the manual approach to filing documents.
DMS automates document filing and lowers labor costs: From experience, document filing is much of a chore. You have to always decide how to file a document, where to file the document, the location and the right sequence for the document. Besides, while filing the document you have to consider the ease of locating it when it is needed again. The labor costs involved in doing all these manual filing and retriever processes can add-up so quickly so that electronic filing is the way to go.
Let us assume that it takes an average of five minutes for an employee who earns $20 per hour to search for and locate a needed document in a file cabinet, retrieve the information needed from the document, replace it and walk back to her seat. If she needed to take the file with her to get more information, we should expect that the time taken would be longer than five minutes!
If this employee handles not more than five files a day, this translates to about 108 hours spent a year filing documents. In monetary terms, this translates to about $2,166 a year at $20 per hour. If the number of files handled per day increases to ten, the labor cost becomes $4,333 for just one employee who does document filing in your business organization. That labor costs could have been eliminated if computer based business management system is deployed where every employee that needs a file would get it on the computer within seconds without having to even stand up from their chairs.
This system of filing also eliminates the costs of recreating lost documents and it makes business operation effective and efficient.
Steve Breault “DocMeister”