EDM and ROI – Is Electronic Document Management a Good Investment?
We had a potential client last week tell us that he just didn’t see how going paperless could make a big enough difference in his business process to make the “hassle of scanning and learning a new system worth it.” (His words, not ours!)
We pointed out that even if his employees have been working with paper documents and forms for years and have gotten very efficient at handling paper-based documents, he just might be underestimating how much time, effort, and money is being lost to paper. In fact, the costs associated with paper systems are the main reasons why organizations go digital:
- Dollars and cents expensive
- Time-consuming and error prone
- Privacy and security costs
- Filing and storage costs
Studies have shown that digitized documents on secure servers are much safer, much more efficient and cost less overall than paper documents.
What’s Your Goal?
Ask yourself this question: “If you could improve one facet or your business what would it be?” Once you have that answer, ask an Electronic Document Managment provider if their product and service could help you reach your goal. A professional can analyze your business’s workflow needs and choose the best tools for doing the job, as well as the best EDM solution to provide the ultimate results that you need.
If paper-based systems are slowing you down, than a Cloud-based system with a modular approach is a great place to start; and, a professional document management expert can show you how to get the ROI you need.
Deciding on Your Strategy
A successful paperless strategy starts with a well-thought out and professionally managed document imaging plan that takes advantage of the latest scanning technology and capture processes. This is the step that is too often skipped, causing businesses to decide that EDM “just doesn’t work.” Without a solid approach, an organization's document management strategy may become unmanageable, with poorly scanned documents that are difficult to find and hard to read once they are found.
Your company can avoid these frustrations by being aware of the latest trends and technology in document imaging and scanning as well as in optical character recognition (OCR). Seek expert advice on best practices in those areas. We also recommend talking to other companies who have implemented and updated their paperless system in order to be aware of the document imaging challenges that they faced.
Here is checklist of strategies that can help you plan ahead for implementation so that you avoid digital chaos:
- Consider how to implement efficiently
Implementing an enterprise-wide document imaging project can be time consuming and costly. Many organizations find that using a departmental approach is far more efficient and helps to spread the cost over a period of time. With today’s scalable cloud-based document managment systems this method is very doable. Starting with smaller, scalable projects gets the ball rolling with minimal disruption, and allows time for you and your employees to become comfortable with digital workflows.
- Integrate document capture with existing best practices to minimize disruption
Many organizations approach their document management process with small-scale implementations. Depending upon the structure of the organization, this may mean implementing a document imaging and document management strategy one department at a time. For other organizations, this may mean taking one type of document, like email, that is used throughout the organization and begin by archiving email and attached documents into a searchable system that can be merged with departmental workflows. The goal is always to make important documents quickly and readily available to employees who need to see them.
- Automate systems and processes for the best information workflow
While archiving email may be an easy place to start, many organizations need to move quickly beyond simple archiving and document imaging into a system that enables intelligent searches and team collaboration, with automated workflows.
The ability to do intelligent searches is the basis for both collaboration and workflows; and the basis for intelligent searches starts with expert imaging. Digitizing documents for use in an EDM requires more than simple scanning of a document. The imaging process itself needs to be more intelligent and more sophisticated – for instance, using OCR software, appropriate indexing strategies and intelligent PDF.