Document Management Systems to the rescue.
DUNDER MIFFLIN HAS GONE UNDER.
Fans of The Office would know. For those who don’t, Dunder Mifflin Paper Company Inc., though fictional, would have found its stocks plummeting. If not for the last half a decade, then surely since the spring of 2020.
If it wasn’t already inevitable, COVID 19 has rung the death knell for the utility of paper in organizational processes. Once work-from-home became a settled reality, enterprises have had to bootstrap their long-term digital transformation goals into ad hoc sprints. Records, forms, invoices, bills, timesheets and faxes on paper quickly became excess baggage.
Agreed, there is some romance attached to office stationery. Yet, we did outgrow audio cassettes to make it to Spotify just fine. So it’s about time.
HAS YOUR ORGANIZATION GONE PAPERLESS YET?
Need convincing? Below are some of the most compelling reasons your organization should go paperless.
Paper takes space.
All the paperwork your organization generates, must be filed and stored somewhere. In fact, one has to destroy old records after a reasonable span of time, just to make room for the new piles coming in. And it’s heavy too. Until you find yourself having to carry a high stack of sheets, you don’t realize that they are essentially thin slices of tree.
Paper takes time.
Filling out a form might seem like a necessary sacrifice at the altar of meticulousness. Add the myriad other kinds of paper documentation, and scale it up to the level of your enterprise. Now, imagine the cumulative man-hours lost that might otherwise have been used productively. It’s easy to see why studies arrived at the conclusion that upwards of $14,000 per employee per year is lost simply due to time spent locating data.
Paper costs money.
Printers, ink, toner cartridges, scanners and fax machines. Not to mention, the drawers and filing cabinets. And of course, paper itself. The invisible cost of paper is plainly evident from the fact that a four-drawer file cabinet costs $25,000 to fill, and $2,160 to maintain each year! (source: The Essential Client/Server Survival Guide.)
Paper is a bottleneck.
It can sometimes be the Bermuda Triangle of critical information. All it takes is for the last person to handle the document, to replace it erroneously. And an entire workflow gets choked. On average it costs $120 to find a misplaced document and $220 to reproduce a lost one! In a world where professionals spend upwards of 50% of their time searching for information, according to Gartner Research, paper lag is a drag one can ill afford.
Paper lacks security.
A paper document cannot be tracked or traced. The physical copy once lost, cannot be retrieved. And if the information on it is of critical value, the security breach could be extremely costly. The irony is paper leaves no easy paper-trail.
Paper is obsolete.
Businesses are networked with other businesses, be it vendors, clients or stakeholders. When a critical mass of your networked businesses jettison paper processes and goes digital, you don’t want to be the only point of inefficiency.
GO PAPERLESS WITH A DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM.
Paperless is clearly the way forward. It may seem like a difficult transformation at first, but therein lies an opportunity. The goal is to overhaul the pre-existing paper pushing practice with a comprehensive document management system. Once in place, the following features of document management systems or DMS stand out.
A Document Management System could be on-premises or on-cloud. Either way, your documents will be easily accessible from wherever it’s needed, hassle-free.
Access Permissions & File Sharing
Control the access to documents on a need-to-know basis, or whatever basis you may prefer. Distinct organizational verticals needn’t be cluttered with documents they don’t need. Permissions are often classified by hierarchy, too. An intern needn’t have access to the same information as the CEO. Besides, you may securely share files on a private portal, without the risk of having to email as attachments.
Searchability and Tagging
Obtaining a document you need, or even key information within it, is the matter of a simple search function. As easy as a Google search. With advanced indexing capabilities built in, you don’t even have to key in a printed page to be able to search and filter through it. Multi-level tagging, cross-referencing, meta-data filters etc. make navigating vast swathes of documents quite simple.
Version History and Activity Logs
Document Management Systems remember. Wish to revert an earlier version of a document? Or figure out how the document was handled before you? It’s all tracked, saved and time-stamped.
Advanced encryption methods used in Document Management Systems provide greater security to your organization’s sensitive information.
Archiving and Backups
Nothing needs shredding. Documents are saved till the end of time. Easy to retrieve for say, a contract renegotiation, or regulatory compliance. With a DMS in place, archiving document backups is easier than Ctrl C + Ctrl V.
Workflow management, dynamic forms, and other such integration capabilities of document management systems can power your business with a multi-fold increase in efficiency through automating menial repeatable tasks. These would include, rule based processing of incoming documents, automatic records creation and updation, configured multi-level approval processes, document routing, business process modeling, auto-report generation, and more. Every marginal improvement in efficiency of processes, scales up magnificently the level of the enterprise. Leaving your workforce free to stick to stuff they’re good at.
Once you make the digital transformation, over time your organization generates plenty of data. Data that could be made to work for you with analytics for troubleshooting, tracking and optimizing business processes.
IF DUNDER MIFFLIN WENT PAPERLESS, WOULD THEY SELL MORE PAPER?
Worth wondering. With all their internal processes and workflows optimized with the help of Document Management Systems, Dunder Mifflin would certainly be a healthier company. Not enough to offset the drop in demand for paper, perhaps. But, the market would force them to evolve, or simply be outcompeted by the ones that do.
A PARADIGM SHIFT THAT WILL PAY DIVIDENDS.
The value of document management systems is evident. Its undeniable positive impact on enterprise-wide process efficiency, overall employee productivity, streamlined workflows and more, is proven to reflect positively on business bottom lines. With full-featured Document Management Systems like Tessi Docubase becoming affordable to even the smallest enterprise, the benefits and financial returns of going paperless finally far outweighs the cost.