Why is Document Management more important today than ever?
The earth hasn’t shifted off its axis. But the world we live in today is remarkably different from the one we knew in 2019. The exponential progress we have made in the last century owes much to a globalized economy that supports itself on a complex trusswork of interdependence. From supply chains to communications, technology to food, the world order’s push towards just-in-time efficiency, had also become the potential cause of its fragility. And it had remained safely invisible until a pandemic struck.
At the same time, communication technology itself has been an overwhelming source of the world’s resilience. As travel came to a standstill and workplaces shut shop, work did go on. At least work of a certain kind that could quickly adapt itself to the new way of getting things done over the internet. As a result, enterprises have survived, and economies have managed to withstand the shock.
Document management in the post-pandemic world.
To understand why document management is critically important for businesses and organizations today, we must begin with the question: What has changed?
Truth be told, a document management system isn’t the hot new technology. Although not the new kid on the block, the value of document management has been obvious for a long time. From ancient libraries to filing cabinets of just a decade ago, the utility of optimizing the management of information by logging, indexing, making it searchable and retrievable, has long been apparent without question. And technology had caught up with the need years ago.
However, a few things in particular, have changed during the current pandemic with respect to document management. And these help explain
Why is document management more important today than ever?
Paper is a redundancy
It has been amply evident that most business processes involving paper have outlived their utility. Be it forms, receipts, invoices, timesheets, or the various files across departments like HR, accounts, administration, their digital counterparts take less space, cost less money, use less material as well as save time. Paper documentation is not only a risk for sensitive information but also a bottleneck in workflows. Today’s constraints of physical proximity have only amplified the signal of its demise. Document management system is the obvious replacement.
Collaboration of distributed teams
As employees have been forced to work from home, enterprises have realized the excesses of overheads and real-estate they had been incurring. However, the new challenges of a distributed workforce need to be mitigated by mandating the ease of collaboration. While the physical distance of team members can never be bridged, the exchange of ideas and parallel processing of unified work can be made possible using a document management system.
Preserving the integrity of documents
Distributed workforces can be chaotic where there are multiple agents involved in the same task and across multiple tasks. Document management systems allow for preserving the integrity of documents not just with data security, but also multi-level access control, where access and permissions can be defined granularly. Whereas features like version history and audit trails make it possible to track changes from many iterations down the line.
Management of distributed workflows
Enforcing business rules outside the walls of an office is extremely difficult. Automated workflow made possible by document management systems, is one of the many ways such rules can be algorithmically enforced no matter where the agents or employees are located.
Recordkeeping has shifted entirely online
For industries with heavy record-keeping and regulatory burdens, like healthcare, hospitality, and more, all records must be maintained digitally. Not just to keep the process as contactless as possible but also to make the information trackable, searchable, retrievable, and shareable. Document management systems enable all that and more.
Minutes of the meeting used to be a redundant document in the office setting. However now, the decisions taken in online meetings need to be tracked, mapped, and followed through rigorously in the absence of one’s ability to walk into the manager’s cabin. Document management systems incentivize managers to be accountable and hold their team members accountable too. In some sense, this is the backbone of enterprise-wide cohesion.
The future is here, sooner than you expected.
The new way of doing things has been a challenge, no doubt. However, it has also presented businesses with a tremendous opportunity to overhaul their old inefficient processes to embrace digitally transformed new ones. One could argue that the pandemic hasn’t changed the future of the world. It has only hastened its arrival.