Wasting Time, Wasting Money or Scanning Documents?
What’s the biggest time and money waster in your company? Hint: It’s not your employees standing at the coffee machine. All that caffeine may actually be helping to fuel them for the real time waster: searching for documents. Yes, that’s right searching for documents costs you more than coffee machine gossip.
In fact, one recent study determined that time wasted looking for files, emails and other documents costs organizations more than $19,000 per information worker per year. The result is a loss of 21.3 percent in a company’s total productivity. Put another way, for an organization with 1,000 people, addressing these time-wasters is the equivalent to hiring 213 new employees.
More Caffeine or More Efficiency?
Aside from the fact that looking for documents waste time and money, from your employees’ perspectives it’s also boring…so do you need more coffee machines to keep your employees awake and engaged, or is there a better solution?
A document scanning outsource service can be a huge time and money saver. A professional scanning service can convert all of your paper documents into searchable electronic images that can be stored, located and shared more easily. Additionally, document scanning reduces the storage costs associated with paper files.
ECMS – The “Cream” in the Coffee
But, there’s more required than just scanning. Case in point: Some years ago I knew of a company that had all of their paper documents converted to digital in order to become more efficient. The problem was that they had no plan in place for managing the digital data. The owner of the company, chagrined and embarrassed by his poor foresight confided to me that he had paid good money to move from paper chaos to digital chaos. It doesn’t have to be that way.
When you’re ready to get rid of paper documents, you need to plan for the transition of the resulting scanned document images as well as existing digital documents and other digital assets, like email, video files and audio files into an Electronic Content Management System. This is where the document scanning company and the content management system that you choose becomes vitally important.
CD/ DVD Based Document Management Systems
While CD / DVD Based Document Management Systems are relatively simple and fairly inexpensive, they also limit data access. In this method, both the scanned image files, the database and the viewing application are included on the disk. In a nutshell, what this means is that if you don’t have the disk, you don’t have document access. This method might be acceptable for legacy documents that must be retained, but that will never, or hardly ever be accessed. This is the electronic equivalent of putting paper documents into an offsite warehouses, where you need to call ahead to have a document file box pulled, and you have to manually search through the box to find the one document that you need. There also may be limits to the types of data you can access via these systems, for instance email, video and audio files may be problematic.
Client/Server Based Document Management Systems
Client/Server Based Document Management Systems are a step up from the previously mentioned CD/DVD System. In this scenario, the scanned documents are stored on a server on your network, rather than on a CD/DVD. Because this method requires a robust server and network, there are both up-front costs and IT administration required to install and maintain the system. Additionally, this system requires back-up strategies in case the server or the network crash. The advantage of this system is that it is highly customizable, because it can be designed specifically to your requirements. This kind of customization can also be an expensive disadvantage when it comes time to upgrade or replace the system. Additionally, there may be some limitations to the types of files that can be accessed with the particular system you choose. If you go this route, and you have video and audio files, make sure you’ll be able to search for them and view/listen as needed.
Cloud-Based Content Management Systems – Software as a Service (SaaS)
Accessing electronic data and files securely over the Internet has quickly become the most popular option for all types of content management. As most people today are aware, “Cloud’ is simply a metaphor for the Internet. When using Cloud technology, authorized users can log in from any device that has an Internet connection and use a web browser to search, view and transfer documents or any other data stored in the Cloud. This type of system greatly reduces IT demands, since the Cloud service provider is responsible for all hardware and software maintenance and upkeep. The Cloud also increases content availability, since user access is not restricted by geography or time of day.
Here’s the Sugar in the Coffee
What’s even sweeter than efficient content management -- many Cloud EDMS systems also provide automatic workflows, audit trails, compliance monitoring, disaster recovery and other features to provide increased efficiencies for the companies that use them.