There are many reasons why a company may decide to go paperless – to make documents easier to find and share, to free up valuable space in your office or to save a few trees. Whatever your reasons, there are many benefits to going paperless. In this article we'll discuss the following benefits of using document management software to create a paperless office: improved security, a central document repository, cost savings, process consistency and integration with other business solutions.
Even a locked file cabinet is vulnerable to being broken into by someone with prying eyes. Your paper documents are not safe from those who really want to see them. In a paperless office, you can add several levels of security to keep unauthorized persons from seeing sensitive material.
The best document management software allows you to set individual and role-based security at the folder and file levels. This means that you can give different people different access to folders and documents based on their roles within the company. For example, you may want to give a manager read, write, modify and delete permissions on a specific file while giving his or her direct report only the read permission. Users without any assigned permissions on the file can't access it at all.
A good security system also includes a tracking history so you can see when the document was last accessed and who has been accessing it. Placing security on folders and documents also can help your firm meet established business compliance requirements.
Central Document Repository
In a paper-heavy office, your documents can be spread out in several different filing cabinets in several different rooms. This can make it very hard and time-consuming to find the documents you need.
A central document repository in a document management system is a database that can be accessed by multiple people from any location. When all of your files are stored in a central location, important information can be retrieved and shared much more easily, provided those accessing the database have the proper permissions to view the files. In addition, storing all of your files in an electronic database helps you free up valuable office space.
Have you ever calculated how much time it takes to rifle through a multitude of filing cabinets to find specific documents? Suppose it takes an employee making $20 an hour ten minutes to walk to a records room, find a particular document in a file cabinet, make a copy of the file, deliver the copy to the intended recipient, re-file the original document and return to his desk. If he has to perform that function only six times a day, that's an hour of lost productivity per day – or about $5,200 per year in wages.
Document management software lets your employees stay more productive by including powerful search features that let them find and distribute important documents almost instantaneously. In addition, document management systems help you eliminate the costs associated with lost documents such as the time it takes to recreate a document that has been destroyed or misplaced.
Many companies need to comply with legislation that requires specific procedures and processes in record keeping. For example, financial services need be able to show that their information is unaltered to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and medical practices must comply with HIPPA to prove that their records are safe from prying eyes.
There is no document management software that enforces industry standards and compliance. However, these programs can help you establish strict guidelines and processes to ensure compliance in case of an audit.
Much of the document management software available integrates with other business applications such as those available in Microsoft Office to provide seamless business processes. This makes it easier for you to integrate document management with the programs you already use to conduct your business. Integrating your document management software saves time and helps with efficiency and productivity.
When looking for a document management system for your office, make sure it addresses your needs and that it is not too complicated for your employees to use. The goal is to remain as productive as possible and to make the transition to a paperless office as painless as possible. At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To.™