Professionals Spend 5 – 15% of their time reading information, but up to 50% looking for it!
Regardless of the size or type of business effective document management has been essential since the creation of paper itself and plays a fundamental role in business operations, growth and success. A lack of document control has the potential to adversely impact the business leading to customer dissatisfaction, monetary loss and even potential legal ramifications.
Issues Relating to Paper Documents
There are many issues relating to working with paper documents but several are commonly experienced and can have an impact on almost any business.
It can be difficult to manage paper documents, especially if the company, or organisation, relies on documents to be accessed by different members of staff, from different parts of the business, or from dispersed geographical locations.
The lifecycle of a document can encompass a number of complex channels before the company can file the paper document. It could possibly pass through different departments and be used by various individuals before finally finding its way into storage.
When stored, which could be in filing cabinets or off-site storage facilities, it is essential that a document can be easily located at any time. The nature of paper, and how it is used, cannot guarantee this and inevitably, documents can be lost or compromised.
Documents require varying degrees of security and accessibility, which may require them to be securely stored in a central location adding expense and cumbersome processes to achieve access.
These all pose preventable operational issues when dealing with paper as well as introducing risk to the business in that a document’s lifecycle and security could be compromised. The document could be lost, damaged, manipulated, copied or incorrectly distributed, all unaudited and with the potential for a negative outcome for the business, all of which are avoidable scenarios.
1 in 7 business documents are lost and never recovered!
Could Electronic Document Management be the Answer?
Employing an electronic document management system (EDMS) can significantly reduce such issues, if not eliminate them. Additionally, an EDMS will form the cornerstone of policies, procedures and processes that support the business as it develops and grows.
- Management – centrally stored, secure access can be granted to users so that they can view documents from anywhere, at any time, using any device allowing greater flexibility as well as enhancing a business’s drive for agility.
- Efficiency – documents no longer need to travel between users and departments notably improving processing time and, significantly, they cannot be lost or compromised in any way.
- Discovery – An EDMS will allow documents to be located, quickly and easily avoiding loss or lengthy search times.
- Security – once securely stored on an EDMS the full lifecycle of the document is fully audited, so, every view or activity is logged and associated to a user.
Proper document management is not a system or process organisations should follow just to adhere to legal requirements. It is a system that every organisation or company could incorporate in order to ensure their company grows on a solid platform of good document management, and to allow their staff to manage tasks and their time in the most effective way. Essentially, the use of an EDMS should help a business operate more efficiently, and enhance the morale of staff, the customer experience and improve profits too.
The Hidden Cost of Staying with Paper
A document management system carries far too many benefits to be overlooked. In some circumstances it can take an employee five minutes to reach the filing room, locate the document, use it, re-file it and return to their work station, at just four files per day, that’s over 86 hours a year spent filing – a cost of around £1,800 in wages (based upon a salary of £18,000 PA).
Bear in mind, this figure is only for one member of staff filing 4 documents a day. A medium sized business will likely have 80 members of staff who regularly file and therefore face a cost of up to £144,000 per year.
What can EDM do for your Business?
EDM, like paper, can be utilised in almost every business. Where paper is key to day-to-day operations, it is feasible to employ an EDMS to replace the process saving time and resources as well as introducing a range of other benefits not possible with paper alone.
An immediate impact is that there is no longer a need to store paper documents on shelves, in filing cabinets, on desks or possibly expensive storage facilities. Several filing cabinets can be easily stored in 4GBytes of storage, the equivalent of a cheap USB memory stick.
Crucially, searching for documents on an EDMS can take seconds whereas it could take considerably longer to locate the same documents in a filing cabinet, if located at all! As the number of filing cabinets increases, so too does the time to store, manage and locate documents increases as well as the risk of filing incorrectly and potential loss. Regardless of the size of your document store on an EDMS, the time to locate a document remains in the seconds with a single search possibly returning multiple documents in a fraction of the time it would take to locate them manually in a filing cabinet.
Several paralegals were asked to search through approximately 10,000 paper documents. They needed to find any documents written by a certain author, during a certain period of time, on one particular topic…
… the paralegals found 15 documents in 67 hours. Using document management technology the same search found 20 documents in just 4.5 seconds.