Instead of having filing cabinets line the walls of your office, today’s technology and the digital world allow for document management software to move businesses toward the paperless office. This software helps to improve the accessibility and organization of your company’s documents. When you’re just starting out document management can seem overwhelming, and selecting the right solution that suits your needs is critical. This article intends to be your guide to all things document management—from what it is, to key features, to how it can benefit your business. Read on to learn more.
What Is Document Management?
Document management is an electronic filing cabinet for your business. You can use this modern software solution as the foundation for organizing both your paper and digital documents. Hard copies of your documents can be uploaded directly to your shared network by using a scanner. From there, the software provides an agreed-upon naming convention to find documents easily. In fact, many document management software options have a built-in search engine, which will allow you to navigate even expansive document libraries to find the file you need. If you are storing sensitive documents, most available options will have permission settings to make sure only authorized personnel are allowed to access the information. There are two different options when it comes to document management. You can choose between a cloud-based system and an on-premise system. On-premise document management usually only makes sense for large businesses, as it requires you to implement in-house storage and servers. A cloud option makes sense for most other companies.
What Key Features Should Be Included in a Document Management Solution?
When choosing a document management solution, certain features must be considered when making the right choice for your unique business needs. Here are the most critical features to help you make your decision.
File Structure: Document management should be easy to use, and, in order for this to happen, you need a file structure that makes sense for your business, such as taking the traditional cabinet-drawer-folder approach digital.
Ability to Search: Users search for documents in different ways, so you need different options for finding your files. Your document management solution should make that easy for users. You should be able to search by the name, the contents inside the document, file type, date it was last changed, and more.
Easy to Use: Your document management software needs to be easy for employees to use. If it’s too difficult to navigate for your staff, employees won’t use its functionality. This can lead to confusion and be disruptive to day-to-day operations.
Mobile Access: As businesses rely more on a remote workforce, implementing a document management system that can be accessed via tablets and smartphones may be a critical component of your new software.
Integration: Check to see if the solution can integrate with the programs you already use, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software and email automation platforms. You can also speak about open APIs when talking through different options with your sales rep.
Scanning: Since paper documents will have to be scanned into digital files when implementing your document management solution, your new software should be compatible with a variety of scanners to prevent any onboarding issues. Ideally, you should be able to input files through the scanner and access manual uploads, bulk uploads, mobile applications, web service, and email.
Security: Your documents need to be secure. Setting permission access by employee is a great feature to ensure confidential data, such as HR records and invoices, are only accessible by particular users. Other security features available include audit trails, advanced access rights, encrypted documents, and indexing every revision of files.
Customization: Your business may have different needs when it comes to document management. This is where customization can be useful. Depending on your business needs. levels of customization are available in document management software that include creating customized records and windows, adding custom document attributes, describing custom workflows, and creating custom dashboard reports.
How Can Document Management Help Your Business?
Document management has several benefits that can help take your business to the next level. If you identify a need for any of the below in your business, a document management solution may be an excellent addition as a new technology tool.
Reduce the Need for Storage Space: Commercial property is expensive, and so is off-site rental space to store your paper documents if required. Document management reduces the need for you to have boxes, storage bins, and file cabinets. This frees up your precious office space and can even reduce your overhead. If you do need to keep some hard copies of documents, you can do so affordably and still have access to documents you whether you’re in the office or on the go.
Better Security: It’s critical for your organization to keep its documents secure. Document management gives better control over access to documents and sensitive files. Document management also leaves an audit trail that shows who looked at each file, when he or she accessed it, and how it has been changed.
Better Regulatory Compliance: Some compliance requirements for specific documents are incredibly complex. If you don’t comply, it can mean fines, revoked licenses, or even criminal liability. This is particularly true for specific industries, such as healthcare and the legal field. Document management can reduce the risks of not complying by ensuring compliance is maintained. For example, new documents can be stored and classified so you can have record retention schedules to make this easier.
Easier Retrieval: Searching for paper documents can be time-consuming, and, as you know, time is money. In short, document management can allow you to save time. Depending on how you implement it, the solution can retrieve your files by just a word or phrase found within the document. Moreover, if you have an Internet connection, you and your employees will be able to access documents from anywhere. These features are time-savers that can also save your company money and boost productivity in the long run.
Easier Collaboration: Document management makes team collaboration and sharing much more efficient. Documents that are captured from different sources can be accessed from multiple locations. It makes sharing documents over a network via the Internet or email possible and gives better visibility to business processes to allow for better monitoring of workflows. Some options even offer version control, which will enable you to view older versions for recovery if needed. This is great if several parties are working on the same document, and changes are made accidentally.
Disaster Recovery: Document management should have a data backup and recovery plan. If you have a digital archive, paper documents are protected from disasters, such as flood and fire.
Other Benefits: There are a few other intangible benefits that include peace of mind, improved client relations, competitiveness, and flexibility. You can set your business apart with the right document management plan, making you more effective in your work.
With the right document management software, you can improve your office workflow, increase client satisfaction, and boost your staff morale. No matter the size of your organization, document management can help. With scalable options, the solutions will even be able to meet your needs as your Ohio business grows. Contact Modern Office Methods today for help selecting a document management solution that works for your business.