Posts Tagged ‘Paperless Software’
The use of Open Source Document Management Software (DMS) has grown by leaps and bounds over the years; this growth has been necessitated by the numerous demands that most businesses have placed on technology. Since Open source DMS are not proprietary; they can be hosted anywhere, and can be easily tweaked or expanded so as to aptly meet business needs. Even though some features in open source DMS are charged; the software itself is generally offered free of charge to businesses that want to use it.
Just like any software, open source DMS does enhance the level of accuracy of data or information gathered. This is true for almost all types of businesses that undertake some form of data capture in any form. Because most activities are automated, there are fewer instances where human error can occur; reduced errors usually translate to more work being done at any given time and also provide more reliable output reports which the business entity can then go ahead and vouch for.
The overall efficiency and effectiveness of a business unit in particular or the business in general is greatly enhanced when the use of open source DMS is adopted and deployed. Employees are bound to get things right the first time as well as perform more tasks at any given time. A more efficient and highly effective business unit is in turn more likely to be profitable; positively affecting the organizations bottom line Open source DMS have a distinct advantage in terms of availability. It is easy to get open source software, as all you need to do in most instances is to visit a particular site and download the system that you desire. The system can be deployed immediately as there are usually very little if any sales talk or payment modalities that need to be adhered to before implementation. In essence there is no back and forth discussions or hold ups that are otherwise inherent with the purchase of proprietary software.
Another key benefit of open source DMS is that it is free to try and very easy to upgrade. This is especially true if as a business you are not ready to commit colossal amounts of money on a system that you are not so sure about. Most open source DMS do have additional features that can be added at some premium at a later date; this is an ideal option for a business that wants to try out the software and maybe judge from customer reaction before fully embracing the system. It is thus a cheaper way of trying out different business options in real life situations.
Because all businesses are geared towards satisfying certain customer demands; automating the process of providing a solution to the said demand will most likely lead to relatively high customer satisfaction rates. It is much easier to interact and answer client queries with an automated open source document management software system than it is to operate without one. An automated system provides a business with the ability to promptly provide answers to client queries, carry out surveys and notify management of changes in customer behavior or needs. All these can be achieved at a fraction of the price it would otherwise cost if the system was not automated.
In today’s dynamic business world, there are a lot of expectations from a company in terms of administration and services offered. A company today is expected to offer world class services to its clients, increase profitability and keep costs to a minimum, all at the same time. Balancing these expectations is a huge task for a company, no matter what its size. In such a scenario document management software can be of great help as it offers a multitude of features that can be used for streamlining the document processing system.
Business document management can help resolve critical problems that an organization faces on a daily basis. Document management software enables an effective way of processing and distributing information throughout your organization. For instance, a digital documentation system eliminates many limitations of a paper based system such as misplaced original documents, inconvenience of retrieval from a remote location and slow distribution.
Apart from this, document management software has several features that make it possible to manage millions of documents and retrieve them within seconds. Being computer based, such a system also makes it easier to share and distribute documents through email, fax and other file sharing systems. Remote access also makes it possible to search and retrieve documents instantly while traveling or when in a meeting away from the office. Digital documents can also be backed up easily, making it easy to recover documents.
Choosing the right business document management system specific to your business requirements is extremely important. Following are the key features that you must look for when selecting a document management system:
Automatic data capture to incorporate documents into the system: The three critical features you must look for is scanning, import and conversion of electronic documents. Scanning allows you to convert paper documents into their digital version, which can then be stored on a computer. The indexing feature enables systematic storage of scanned documents which can be easily retrieved. Apart from this, a document management system allows you to import electronic files such as text, images, audio and video, and supports a variety of formats. Other files formats such as word documents and spreadsheets can also be converted into PDF and TIFF files and imported into a document management system.
Storage and archiving: Document management software offers easy storage, backup and retrieval system. Storage is a major hassle with paper based system, both in terms of space occupied and safety. On the other hand, a digital document is much easier to manage and store. For instance, copying an electronic document onto a storage medium such as a hard disk or CD is much easier compared to creating paper copies. Similarly, a virtual repository is easier to manage compared to a physical one, both from security and location points of view.
Sharing and distribution: Sharing of paper document is always prone to risks such as loss of document or accidental misplacement. Instances of time wasted looking for misplaced documents and recreating originals are many. A document management system can be accessed over a network, making it easier for you to share important documents. Employees need not pass a document from desk to desk or wait for a colleague to finish his work before he can access the file. With document management system it is possible for multiple users to access the same file at the same time. Similarly, electronic documents can be easily distributed through a network, fax, email, and so on.
Security: This is again a very big concern in paper documents. Not only are paper files prone to misplacement, they are also vulnerable to theft and physical damage. Although digital documents too are susceptible to physical damage, the easy backup and recovery eliminates this problem very effectively. Apart from this, the access control system in document management software allows only authorized personnel to access the files. Similarly, different levels of security can be set up depending on the requirement. For instance, a file may be read-only for a department, whereas modification or update rights can be given to higher management or others as needed.
There are many more benefits offered by a business document management system that helps create a more systematic approach to document processing. With the right solution for your office you can not only dedicate your staff towards achieving your business goals, but also empower them to make informed decisions.
Steve Breault “DocMeister”
Computer technology was incorporated by many companies and organizations throughout the world as a means to automate information management processes. However, many still continue using paper based documents for a variety of reasons. For instance, many companies receive documents in paper format or have important archived documents in paper format. Even if receiving paper documents cannot be helped, filing, storing and sharing of such documents has to be done manually. This turns out to be quite inefficient, unsustainable and costly, compared to an automated system using document management software.
Many enterprises do not realize the loss they incur when handling physical documents. The loss of time and human resources in manual processing of documents is rather staggering. Apart from this, carelessness when handling critical documents, albeit unintentional, can prove to be disastrous for your business. Any organization can take care of common hazards and errors encountered while processing important documents, simply by adopting an electronic documentation system. Document management systems come with automatic data capture feature that can be programmed to scan and store data systematically. By doing this a well-organized approach can be incorporated to create, update, change, store, search and retrieve important information.
Some important features of document management software include:
Import document: The performance, usability and sustainability of a document management system entirely depends on how quickly and efficiently documents in different formats, from wide range of sources, can be imported into the system. Automatic data capture is one of the most important features of a document management system. The entire purpose of automatic capture of information is to reduce manual work and resulting errors.
Automatic filing: The document management system can be easily automated to capture and organize data, so that every document is saved in the right place. Document management software offers a variety of methods of integrating index data obtained from different sources such as databases, text files, address books and forms. Some of the methods are standard to all software while others can be customized depending on the requirements of your business.
Integrated system: A document management system offers an integrated platform to manage both paper and electronic documents. For instance, your office may receive invoices in both paper and electronic format. The document management system can be used to extract information from both types of documents and process it as required by company policy.
Disaster recovery: This is again an important part of electronic document management system. Though most companies find it easier to handle paper documents simply because they are used to it, paper is vulnerable to errors and hazards. For instance, a paper document can get completely destroyed in a fire or misplaced when passing from desk to desk. On the other hand, electronic documents can be easily stored, backed up and retrieved.
Apart from the benefits it offers in terms of document processing, document management software also helps cut costs. On an average, a company spends $20 per hour in searching for misplaced or non-existent files. Similarly, many man-hours are wasted in recreating lost documents. Using automatic data capture you can reduce manual handling of paper documents. Along with this, the information now in electronic format can be easily shared and backed up, reducing the hazard of losing or recreating documents.
Photocopying and printing paper documents are again costly, and this is greatly reduced when you use digital document management system. Apart from this, you no longer require bulky filing cabinets eating up your office space. Every piece of information in your paper files can be imported onto your computer system and organized using document management system. This reduces the need for physical storage space, both inside and outside the office.
Demand for information can come from many sources including upper management and regulatory authorities. Keeping control of proliferating paper and electronic documents can become quite a hassle, especially when making critical decisions for your business. With document management software you can take care of all your document processing needs and ensure consistency in work, thus achieving your business goals.
Steve Breault “DocMeister”
Computer systems were incorporated by many businesses and organizations with a view to automating document processing and reducing administrative burdens on their staff. However, without particular types of software systems, electronic documents are no better than paper files. For instance, even if you save all your documents in digital format, you may still end up searching for the files in the numerous folders on your computer. Document management software provides the very solution to such problems.
With computerized systems most businesses started dealing with electronic documents in every possible way. However, many were still handling paper documents created prior to adoption of a digital system. Organizations usually require older files such as contracts, agreements and other legal paperwork, client information, policies and financial documents. With automatic data capture feature of document management software, paper files can be easily converted into digital format. In fact, such files are also easier to save and store, eliminating the need for massive storage spaces needed for archival files. Apart from this, digital files are also easier to search and retrieve when required.
Many businesses thought it impossible to have a system that requires minimal manual intervention. The macro and coding options provided by some database management systems and customized software based on them, were thought of no less than a miracle. However, with digital imaging incorporated into document management systems, the automatic data capture provides a system which minimizes manual entry to a large extent. Software with form recognition facility captures relevant data from a document and automatically enters it into a tabulated format. For instance, fields on an invoice such as date, invoice number, order number, number of items and so on, are captured through a scanner or OCR system and fed into the software. The software then saves this data systematically for later use.
There are tremendous possibilities presented by such a system. Ask any employee the amount of time taken in manually entering scores of invoices or order forms coming in every day. The amount of time saved with automatic data capture is truly phenomenal, where the time saved can now be utilized for better purposes. Such a solution also helps in streamlining the documentation process. With document management software, your employees and administrative staff can concentrate on achieving the business goals and work towards better services for your clients and customers.
Some processes that can be achieved using document management software are:
· Scanning and capture of relevant information from printed documents
· Capture of electronic documents including emails
· Systematic saving and indexing of data captured
· Easy storage and retrieval when required
· Integration with existing hardware and software systems including spreadsheets and word processing solutions
· Document processing including auto-submission of final draft or delivery of an item to clients
Document management systems were usually associated with large organizations dealing with thousands of documents, which is true. However, timely and accurate information is of utmost importance to every organization, no matter how big or small. Every decision is virtually dependent on how fast information can be retrieved and processed for use by higher management and your clients. In this regard, every establishment handling documents will require a document management system at some point in time. Usually thought of as expensive, document management software have become more affordable and accessible today. They have also become more user-friendly and easy to incorporate into the existing system.
Apart from remote access, data backup and disaster recovery, document management systems is one of the top ten technologies that businesses must adopt in order to stay ahead of the competition. Clients and customers today expect quick solutions to their problems and faster delivery of information or items. The work environment has also become more competitive. With professional document management software, your staff is equipped to handle such an atmosphere and you can surely hope to achieve success for your business.
Steve Breault “DocMeister”
In today’s dynamic business environment, the need for technology to increase productivity and profitability cannot be emphasized enough. When computers were first introduced as a means to automate various business processes, technology was seen as something that would streamline the workflow and reduce or completely remove the need for paper. The dream of paperless office is yet to be realized by many businesses throughout the world. However, document management software comes as a solution that can clear up cluttered offices and create a better working environment.
Searching for important documents is one of the most time-consuming activities that employees carry out, no matter what the organization or type of business. Ample amount of research and surveys have shown that an organization with a strength of about 1000 workers wastes close to $2.5-$3 million per year simply searching for documents that do not exist or recreating lost documents. Professionals spend more than 50% of their time searching for information, both on computer and paper files. On an average, $20 is spent per document, for searching as well as recreating. Whether your business is large or small, you can imagine the impact this can have on your ROI.
Document management software is one solution that can benefit your business tremendously. In fact, most organizations use business document management in some crude form or the other. For instance, many professionals try to organize the data on their computer by saving it in different folders. So they may have different folders named Invoices, Images, Audio Clips, Presentations, Order Form, and so on, created with a view to manage document better. Though such a system may work well for one person or even for a team with 10-15 people, it becomes difficult to maintain when there are many departments involved.
Although going from paper to an electronic system for recordkeeping is a step in the right direction, complete automation cannot be achieved unless every paper in the office has been converted in the digital format. With the data capture facility available in document management software, you can convert every file in your office into an electronic file and simply do away with the filing cabinets. Once everything is on your computer, not only is your office less cluttered, electronic records are also easier to manage. You need not rummage through a file cabinet looking for files anymore. Simply type in the keywords for your files and it will be retrieved by the document management system.
Apart from being easy to manage, electronic data is also easy to update, modify, share and distribute. This can be achieved by setting up a centralized document management system for your entire office. Once your office is connected through a network, it will be easier to streamline the flow of information between various sections. For instance, a document goes through several phases during its life cycle, from creation to storage or deletion. With thousands of documents to handle every day, business document management system helps organize and simplify the process.
Records or data or information is no longer needed just for internal functioning of an organization. It has now become one of the critical and strategic aspects of a business. Most businesses today are required to share their progress and change in business dealings with various parties including shareholders, clients and customers. With a professional document management system, correct information is available at the right time and your business is definitely headed for success.
Steve Breault “DocMeister”
Version control forms an important part of document management. Though extensively used by software developers, many organizations are now using versioning to manage duplicate content and track document changes. Documents such as monthly reports, presentations and new policies undergo several changes before being finalized, creating several versions of a document, each of which may be required at some point. For instance, a monthly report would change every month, however, the reports created in previous months may be required during yearly appraisal of work done.
Document management software provides the version control feature in order to manage, track, store and retrieve different versions of a document. Such a system is usually required when several team members are working on a project, with many making changes to the same document. For instance, a presentation on project development and progress may require inputs from all the team members working on the project. Thus, changes will be made to the same presentation, saved as a different version by each member, and later integrated to make the final presentation by the team leader.
A version control system in digital document management works through the check-in and check-out system. The check-in allows you to save the current version of a document in the central repository and check-out allows you to retrieve current or previous versions of a document. Versioning often involves several steps such as reviewing, editing and modifying before finally being approved. When several people work on the same document, it may result in confusion over the latest version of a document, who made the changes and why, current working version and final approved version. Document management software can be of great help in sorting out such problems. Some benefits of a version control system are:
Ability to return to a previous working version: In case of an error or accidental deletion of a working version of a document, you can return to a previous working version. Many version control systems work by taking a snapshot of changes being made. This way you can check the order in which the changes were made and recreate the current working version.
Track who made the changes: When you know who made the changes, you can seek clarification and approve the document accordingly. This also avoids duplication of content as you know which version was created and updated by whom.
Maintain previous versions: Document management software allows versioning by enabling you to maintain previous versions and create their replacements at the same time. For instance, a mapping company may require older versions of a map before the new version is created and approved.
Maintain record of development process: Progress reports may be required from time to time to apprise the higher management or simply to check it against the designated completion time. Version control in digital document management helps you keep track of progress of a project and how it is being developed.
The version control system in digital document management works by assigning version numbers to the documents, making it easier for the users to keep track. Apart from this, you can also add comments and descriptions so different team members can check the content of a document before retrieving and using them. Version control may be required at some point in document life cycle. Document management system offers a comprehensive solution to managing different versions of a file.
Steve Breault “DocMeister”
Document management has evolved in the past few decades, from records being maintained on registers to the Relational Database Management System and document management software. Information technology has changed the way businesses function today. Most government organizations and industry sectors like engineering, construction, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and banks already have a document management system in place. However, in today’s business environment, every type of organization requires a document management system, no matter what its size or function.
Even if you own a small or mid-sized business, maintenance of different types of records and documents must be of utmost importance. If you are frequently facing problems such as loss of documents, misplaced reports or accidental deletion of records, you definitely require professional document management software. A document management system is not just a software with fancy features. It is a combination of different technologies brought together to provide a sophisticated and comprehensive document management solution. Some technologies used in electronic document management system are:
Automatic data capture or digital imaging: The digital imaging systems in the form of scanners, form recognition packages and character readers convert paper documents into digital documents. Such a system enables employees to capture, store, search, retrieve and share any type of document stored systematically in a digital format. Automatic data capture saves data in two formats, image or PDF which cannot be modified and text format which can be edited. Both formats may be required at some point in time. For example, image format is ideal for invoices coming from outside, as these will not be modified at any stage during processing and archival.
Workflow: Document management software with workflow systems are aimed at automating the business process. Such a system allows a business to define, manage and control the way information moves through various departments or processes. This enables a business to maintain strict quality control, improve customer service and concentrate on business objectives.
Optical storage: Storage in the form of an optical jukebox has become extremely popular in the recent years. It serves as a great option to online storage and enables storage of large volumes of data. So such a system works best for large volumes of video, images or audio files, say in real estate, medical or construction business.
Groupware systems: Groupware systems support more than two users performing the same set of tasks. Such a system provides an interface that can be shared with other users. Some features of groupware systems include bulletin boards, electronic schedulers and discussion databases, all of which can be incorporated into document management software.
Electronic publishing and sharing: Every type of data can be electronically published on a CD or DVD. Apart from this, data can also be shared or distributed via intranet or the World Wide Web through email.
Automatic data capture, storage, automatic indexing, version control, maintenance, security, automatic retention and deletion, are some of the basic features offered by document management software. The type or version of software you choose would depend on the type of business you have. If you have a small business, then document management software with basic functions such as metadata capture, security, version control and storage would suffice. However, for a mid-sized or large business, you may require additional functions such as automatic conversion, free-text search, large storage capacity, networking, and so on.
Apart from being compatible with your existing system of document management, the software you choose must enable you to follow government standards for electronic document management. For instance, public records such as company policy should be easily accessible, whereas confidential documents must have adequate security and access control. With the right type of document management solution you will certainly be able to take care of administrative, technical and legal requirements related to document management.
Steve Breault “DocMeister”
Technology has changed the way the world functions today. People today want instant solutions to their problems, technical or administrative, and immediate access to information. With most organizations maintaining millions of records in the form of personal information of their clients, financial statements and policies, compliance with HIPAA is one of the biggest concerns.
HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, formulated and enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1996. The act has two parts, Title I and Title II, each stating different regulations to be followed with respect to health records. Title I covers availability, portability and continuity of health insurance coverage in the individual as well as group markets. Title II covers accountability of information so as to avoid fraud and abuse of health insurance coverage. It basically covers the Administrative Simplification and requires maintenance of national standards with regard to digital document management of health related information.
It is a wrong notion that HIPAA is only related to healthcare institutes. The law is applicable for all organizations maintaining health records and health insurance information of their employees or clients. This is where document management software can be of tremendous help. The storage and security features of document management software can help you monitor flow of information, retrieve desired data at any time and regulate access to the records.
The Security Rules under HIPAA was formulated and released for compliance in 2003. The law covered different aspects regarding security of information, including administrative, technical and physical safety standards to be followed when maintaining electronic data. With document management software you can easily take care of all these points and ensure compliance with HIPAA. Ways in which document management software can help are:
Administrative safety standards: The access control and privacy settings of document management software allow you to prevent unauthorized access to all type of information. This ensures that the confidentiality of health related data is maintained at all times. As per HIPAA, information related to health insurance should not be accessed by anyone without prior approval. With a document management system, the flow of documents and information, from creation to storage can be easily tracked. This allows you to monitor changes and check if there was any unapproved access.
Technical safety standards: Digital document management allows you to back up all types of information, thus ensuring retrieval in case the data is accidentally erased or modified. This also ensures data integrity, as the copy of original information is always intact in the form of a backup. As per HIPAA, you are also required to enforce data encryption when it is transferred over open networks. Since data can be shared through email or web-based document management, with a professional document management system, you can be completely sure of security of information.
Physical safety standards: As per HIPAA, the software and hardware used for maintaining health insurance records should be in proper condition and free from frequent breakdowns. With the access control features you can ensure that the information is created, modified, stored or deleted by authorized personnel only. This way the information will be accessed only when needed, resulting in better maintenance of both hardware and software. This will also ensure that any personnel coming for repair or maintenance of hardware and software are unable to access any information.
The implementation of Privacy and Security Rules has changed the way health related information is handled by various organizations. Confidentiality is a major concern of both clients and employees when it comes to their health records. Document management software provides a foolproof way to protect the privacy of all information pertaining to your clients or employees and ensure security at all levels.
Steve Breault “DocMeister”
Do you know that it takes one tree to produce 17 reams of paper? But it takes many years for a tree to be sturdy enough to be made into paper.
In September of 2009, the Philippines was devastated with heavy rains and neck-deep flood, water washed away lives and important assets, including hopes and dreams of a good future. The reason why this happened is the grudge of nature to the people who abuse it. And one main thing we abuse our Mother Nature, trees included, is our need for paper.
The many companies needing office supplies nowadays are booming, the most needed supply is paper. But with this modern age of computers and sophisticated technology gadgets, what is the use of paper for; when we can communicate with our mobile phones, communicate with the world via the Internet, and even chat and laugh with our friends through the social networking media? You say for posterity purposes, but aren’t files better to keep than piles and heaps of dusted paper?
The world today, though, is getting smarter and wiser. Many people have already valued the importance of trees; it is never too late to take care of Mother Earth, replant trees and do reforestation.
Offices and companies too must do their share. There are a number of companies who are already encouraging people to go paperless. There is paperless software which does the job of recording and keeping data in the archive, and producing these data when needed. This paperless software enables the company to do the normal thing as most offices would do, record-keeping, data-entry, and communications, minus the use of paper. In fact, literal as it may seem, but this is what we shall call a paperless office. Cost effective and efficient, it provides an automated paper filing system that can capture, handle effectively and defend the company’s business secrets.
One thing that is expected to do with going paperless is the amount of time you will be wasting in order to manually enter the data you have already gathered. This becomes less of a problem though. The VFiler Rapid Indexer and the VFiler Automated Indexer can help you with getting these manual data-entry jobs.
These paperless software which are already available in the market, can provide you with shorter time in looking for files, increase efficiency in data-keeping/document indexing, increase accuracy of information entered, easier document identification and separation, and most of all, it will increase the chance of trees being saved from being cut and be produced into paper.
Going paperless will make businesses save tons of money of paper, and more importantly, save a lot of trees. It may be a little funny and awkward to see an office without paper and pen, but it would make a good difference. Go check Vircosoft’s website and watch videos on how they make paperless companies work just like any ordinary office.
Steve Breault “DocMeister”
Many businesses deal with facing customers on a daily basis and assisting them with their needs or queries. Often times, these customers are returning clients with records of their transactions with the company and before they can be entertained, their records must be pulled out from a file.
Searching for these documents is tedious, especially for a large company dealing with hundreds of clients every day. Imagine a room filled with filing cabinets – even with proper labels and categories, it would still take hours for an employee to find a single document as they have to look through every file carefully lest they miss the needed file. Also, customer satisfaction will likely decrease if they take too long in acquiring a document, as the customer’s patience is very limited when it comes to these matters.
It is for this purpose that companies should consider turning into a paperless office and buying paperless software to speed up document retrieval. While the initial cost for setting up a paperless office may seem expensive, the profits it will gain in the long run will be worth it. When you think about it, work will not only be easier with the help of these kinds of software; more tasks can be accomplished in lesser time. Manual retrieval of documents usually takes up most of the employee’s working hours in a day, but with paperless software, this will take merely seconds so he can focus on doing other tasks or serving more customers.
Maintaining a high rate of customer satisfaction is essential in any business. It will not only help the company’s reputation, it will also attract more customers. Investing on paperless software like Vircosoft’s VFiler will help increase customer satisfaction ratings. Not only does it help get documents faster, it can also do other tasks such as managing, securing, sharing, tracking and automatically filing data. With this, even employees who are not familiar with the software can easily be taught to retrieve records. If more employees serve more clients in a short amount of time, customers will surely be happy and would want to come back because of the great service.
This is only one example of how a paperless office helps a company earn more profit. In an age where technology is constantly developed to make life easier, businesses should jump at the chance to acquire tools that will collect more rewards for them. Especially if a business deals with a lot of customers who file a lot of documents, they should maintain the satisfaction of these people to ensure that they will keep coming back for more.