Getting Your Money’s Worth from EDM
In last week’s blog post we talked about scanning, the first step toward going paperless. If you downloaded our scanning white paper last week and started analyzing your paper-based systems, we’re betting you’re a little closer to thinking that converting from a paper-based system to a paperless office makes a great deal of sense. But…you still have some lingering doubts…
How can you be sure that scanning your documents and going digital is right for your office? After all, you don’t want to spend the time and money on going digital if you’re only going from paper chaos to digital chaos. How do you get your money’s worth from Electronic Document Management?
As we pointed out in our previous blog, even if your team has been working with paper for years and has gotten very efficient at handling paper-based documents, you may be underestimating how much time, effort, and money is going into your management system. When considering the big step of converting to EDM, remember the main reasons why organizations go digital:
- Paper can be expensive
- Paper can be time-consuming
- Paper can be less secure
- A lot can go wrong with paper
Digitized documents on secure servers are much safer than paper documents. Digital documents can be encrypted and password-protected. When the information is accessed, it leaves a digital trail that you can follow. Even if your bricks-and-mortar business is destroyed, digitized documents can stay safe and sound, letting you rebuild.
A successful Electronic Document Management strategy starts with a well-thought out and professionally managed document imaging plan that takes advantage of the latest scanning technology and capture processes. Without a solid approach, an organization's document management strategy may become document management chaos, 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 document management 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 EDM so that you avoid digital chaos:
- Consider how to implement EDM 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 EDM 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.
What’s Your Final Goal?
Even when you’re starting small, it’s best to have the final goal in mind, so that the correct imaging process is employed at the outset. This is where a document imaging professional can help. A professional can analyze your business’s workflow needs and choose the best tools for doing the imaging, as well as the best EDM solution to provide the ultimate results that you need.
If you want to learn more about getting your money’s worth from EDM, register for our upcoming webinar - How to Determine if EDM is Worth the Cost.