Top benefits of document management

Are you putting off transitioning to paperless document management? Here are some statistics that might surprise you: 

  • On average, employees spend 50 percent of their time on document creation.  
  • As part of their daily work, employees may spend as much as 18 minutes trying to find a document. 
  • Organizations lose a little over 7 percent of all paper documents.  

These statistics clearly show the inefficiencies associated with outdated document management techniques. But if you’re concerned that document management software might not be worth the investment, it may help to understand that document management is about more than just “getting organized.” 

Most companies that implement such solutions realize a number of benefits that touch nearly every aspect of their business, from accounting to HR to sales.

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7 reasons to modernize your document management system

Here are some of the most common benefits of upgrading a document management system: 

1. Reduced need for physical storage space

Office space is expensive. And when that space mostly lies dormant (taken up by old file cabinets that employees don’t regularly access), it means a lot of money is going down the drain. Migrating to a digital document management solution doesn’t mean the end of paper records entirely, but it will help reduce the clutter, placing less strain on your commercial space.

2. Improved security

For many business owners, the idea of digitizing their documents brings up a lot of security fears, but have you ever considered that, in some cases, the only thing currently separating your most precious documents from the public is a window? 

“Digital security” might seem like an obscure concept, but many software solutions have strong security features that minimize the risk of a security breach. You can assign permissions, authenticate users, and choose where your documents are stored. 

In most cases, if you need more control over the security of your documents, today’s top solutions are more than happy to accommodate you.

3. Better regulatory compliance

In certain industries, good document management isn’t just a benefit; it’s a necessity. 

ISO standards, for instance, require organizations to follow certain procedures for documenting information to show they’ve carried out certain regulated processes. (Employee training documentation is one example.) You may also have to use document management software to ensure proper workflows, guaranteeing that the appropriate team members are reviewing and approving documents. 

4. Faster document retrieval

Jim Kemp, director of operations at ColumbiaSoft, says that one of the top document management benefits is “retrievability. Once you implement a system like this, the ability to search, find, and correlate information is surprising.” Accessibility is also a chief priority for people in positions of leadership, many of whom need quick access to documented information for decision-making purposes. 

5. Improved collaboration and workflows

Some documents are relics relegated to storage, while others are living things. Those dynamic documents require a workflow as they move from one person to the next for various stages of creation, editing, and approval. 

Collaboration is easier with digital documents than with paper documents; the same is true for digital workflows. As an example, 72 percent of businesses have seen their customer renewal rates increase after switching to e-signatures. Document management software also includes features — like automation, email alerts, and tagging — that help streamline processes every step of the way. 

6. Reduced costs

Perhaps the most compelling benefit of document management is that it can save money in the long run. According to a Deloitte report, streamlining processes and using technology to eliminate paper can mean cutting operating expenses by 25 percent. And some organizations have reduced their records management costs by 60–70 percent. 

7. More effective disaster recovery

A room full of paper documents is a risk. What happens in the event of a fire? A flood? A hurricane? Sometimes it’s possible to save key documents, but not having a fallback option can mean a total loss of critical business information. 

Document management software can help hedge against these risks. For example, saving documents in cloud storage separates your documents from your physical location, giving you added protection in case of a natural disaster or other disruption. It’s also possible to use hybrid systems that back up to the cloud, helping you recover lost data.

Document management made simple

Not all of these benefits will appeal to your business — for example, you may not have extensive document management costs now. But other benefits — like saving time by improving workflows — can change the quality of life at your office (and even the quality of your work product). 

Increasingly, businesses that invest in digital document management are better poised for future changes — and are more likely to thrive. 

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