All companies face challenges when dealing with paperwork, slowing down the flow of business information and productivity. The solution? An electronic document management system can organize and store your documents, eliminating paper-based file systems. However, in order to get the most out of a document management software investment, you need to understand that it’s much more than just digital file storage.
An electronic document management system incorporates solutions that enable your business to sustain the competitive advantage you’re looking for. Leveraging the full scope of document management can be concentrated around four solutions that will allow a business of any size to be more efficient, saving time, money and contributing to the overall growth and success of your business.
- Enterprise Content Management
To fully implement electronic document management, it is important to assess all of your essential strategic business goals. Enterprise Content Management or ECM, provides you with the solution to properly manage your content. Different strategies and tools can be implemented, giving businesses new ways of capturing, archiving, and routing document data. Customizable to meet your company needs and business problems, ECM is the primary component to eliminate inefficient paper processes.
- Document Process Mobility
In a business world that is rapidly changing and adapting to new electronic advancements, it is important to make yourself readily available. Electronic document management provides users anytime, anywhere access to your documents through smartphone or tablet devices. Files can be easily located and optimized through any web browser platform. You can also execute workflow commands, continuing the flow of business information, even when you’re not in the office.
- Business Process Automation
Replacing paper files with PDFs and digital documents can lead to more than just clearing up the clutter in the office. Business Process Automation is a solution that can make your daily processes cost-efficient, accessible and error free. Automated document workflows enable organizations to manage project tasks more efficiently by attaching business logic to documentation. Document workflows allow for process consistency, productivity level improvements and change in the dynamic of how people work with critical business information.
- Capture Workflow
Storing your documents digitally will surely keep everything organized and in one place. But storing them effectively and knowing how to find the necessary data is the key to document management. With an electronic document management system, you can not only name and categorize your documents, but also set up templates with character recognition, extracting critical information from your stored files or searching within them by keyword and phrase. Every business has important emails, faxes, scanned images and other digital records. By integrating existing office equipment—such as printers and scanning devices—you are able to capture and distribute documents and effectively control the flow of information.
While electronic document management is a solution for organizing and storing documents, it is also equipped with powerful and unique tools that streamline process performance. These value-driven solutions enable organizations of all sizes to save time, reduce cost, increase productivity and make collaboration more effective across all business applications. When evaluating document management software and the impact it can have on your organization, consider the full spectrum on how it can take your business to the next level.
When natural disaster is looming, residents flock to their local stores to stock up on the essentials and prepare for what is to come. Bread aisles become as bare as Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard, gas stations quickly run out of gas and generators are worth their weight in gold. At the same time, other folks are forced to grab those things most important to them and evacuate.
In a potential disaster, after the obvious valuables, what would you pack? Most experts will tell you the two most important things are sensitive documents and sentimental items such as photographs, which are often the most missed of all things lost in a disaster. In a pinch, packing your car or SUV with everything important to you could be a daunting task, especially given the limited amount of time and space one likely has. For a family of four, fitting filing cabinets of important papers and many albums of cherished photographs into even a large SUV is just not an option. But consider how much more you could fit and save had you begun scanning all of this information and storing it digitally.
Today, businesses can move away from paper based filing systems by providing a document management solution to scan mission critical paper and manage it digitally with full backup. Many organizations do so to guard against potential loss from fire, flood, hurricane and other natural disasters. This same practice can easily be extended to our personal sensitive and sentimental items. Scanning birth certificates, social security cards, financial records and the albums of photographs make the preparation for these situations easier. Store important information on cloud based storage giving you peace of mind that information is copied and backed up.
Tripp Lewis, Software Sales Specialist
Tripp is a Software Specialist and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi. With an extensive 15 background in technology solutions, he is continually aware of new industry trends and emerging technologies that affect productivity, efficiency and revenue. Tripp is based at the Jackson, Mississippi location.
Almost every business handles paperwork—from invoices, to forms, even contracts. As your business continues to grow, paperwork starts to pile up, slowing down the flow of business information and productivity. This in return, creates storage and retrieval issues, increases costs and ineffective collaboration between workers. These are challenges that any business can face, especially in areas like human resources, accounting, or any other paper-reliant department. The solution is simple. Eliminate business inefficiencies in your organization today by implementing an easy to use digital storage method.
An electronic document management system can provide companies of any size with the tools designed to increase efficiency, leaving your business a step ahead in the competitive market. With all of your business critical documents in one central location, the entire company gains immediate benefits.
Here are three reasons why every business needs document management:
1. Increase Productivity
Focus more on the business and less on the paperwork. Electronic document management systems provide a digital alternative to paper-based workflow, instantly boosting productivity. To start, it can give business owners a look into the daily processes of each department, providing decisions makers with information on where operations are struggling. Electronic document management also improves customer service by creating a filing system where records can be found instantly.
2. Business Continuity
There’s no telling what tomorrow will bring. That’s why having an effective backup and recovery strategy is essential to any business, regardless of size or industry. Hidden through multiple levels of robust security, an electronic document management system provides that safety net companies are looking for. It can keep years’ worth of information in an additional off-site location, which is automatically updated and secure from natural disaster or theft situations. Backups can also be performed frequently to ensure all new information is secure for a worry-free recovery process.
3. Effective Collaboration
Document sharing and collaboration is made simple with electronic document management. Electronic document management systems ensure that every document gets to where it needs to be and that the wrong people don’t see it. Users can track who has viewed or modified records through a live audit trail. Users can also access business documents from any mobile device, creating stress-free retrieval and providing the option to work out of office while still collaborating with colleagues, customers or partners.
Electronic document management makes it easy for businesses to store and access files from a single, centralized location. Implementing an electronic document management system will not only save paper, time and money but it enables users to focus on the work that really matters.
David Porterfield, Document Management Software & Print Management Specialist
David represents multiple document management and advanced scanning software solutions. He has over 20 years of direct sales and leadership experience. David earned his Masters of Business Administration from Nichols College and works in our Tallahassee, Florida office.
Keeping records straight is not just good business practice – it is critical to maintaining a productive, functioning company. Having a proper record management system is the foundation which supports business intelligence and the ability to make data-driven decisions which alter the bottom line. However, with businesses seeing more and more data – such as paper-based documents and digital records – flowing through their core, keeping track of it all is a full-time job.
Fortunately, a robust document management strategy provides the exact tools needed to keep record management streamlined and in control. Here are five ways to make an organization’s document management processes more effective to drive long-term productivity and success.
5 Ways to Make a Document Management System More Efficient
Document management solutions rely heavily on workflows to deliver the correct data to the right places. Due to the various ways this can be done, users should consider making records management processes more effective by analyzing it in the context of a document’s life cycle. Here are five ways to make that happen.
1. Leverage Automation to Identify Important Information
Not all documents are records. Depending on the business, documents such as rough drafts and duplicates would not require the same storage and information management. Likewise, it may be time-consuming and impractical to read through every document for necessary information manually. It’s essential to leverage automation, such as keyword scanners or auto-detection, to identify critical documents and clearly define what document information is important and what constitutes as a record.
2. Integrate Devices to Assist with Document Capture
There are many different methods of collecting document information and records because there are various document sources (scanners, mobile devices, multifunction printers/copiers, etc). Many offices today rely on ultra-efficient multifunction printers which are capable of performing numerous actions on the same device. Likewise, these devices typically come with software to integrate the printer with the rest of the office workflow.
Take advantage of this, because it enables powerful abilities such as the automatic transmission of a scanned file to electronic storage, or the creation of a fax from an email which was just received. Captured documents, which are quickly sent from one part of the office to another, are much easier for the right people to access at the right moments to make decisions. Electronic storage will help safeguard your paper documents against environmental disaster and facilitate efficient retrieval of documents, unlike documents stored in numerous filing cabinets.
3. Apply Standardization and Archival Strategies for Easy Retrieval
Finding documents that lack a records management system is similar to “finding a needle in a haystack.” However, having electronic document storage does not guarantee that users will be able to find critical information quickly. With electronic document storage processes in place, it makes sharing document information between multiple users, collaborating on documents, and tracking change history possible. To get the most out of archival and document storage, implement the following strategies:
- Introduce a standardized system for naming files. It will make it easier to understand the general contents of a file based on its name, and standardized file names assist with other forms of business process automation.
- Apply a categorization system across the board. Keep everyone on the same page with where files should go, how, and in what order.
- Clearly define processes and archival access policies to enhance security. The more hands which touch the archives, the more likely they will fall into disarray. Define processes and key points through which documents must pass (to be placed into or removed from) the archives. Files can be digitized and password protected to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to them.
4. Implement Tools Which Foster Collaboration
Document circulation processes typically require inputs, reviews, updates, comments, approvals, or other forms of acknowledgment from different parties or people. When this happens manually, it becomes easier for a jumble of document versions and lines of communication to confuse and frustrate users.
Conversely, a digitized collaboration platform which integrates with other document processes helps keep everyone in one place. Tools such as the cloud-based Google Docs, allow for simultaneous editing of digital records by multiple parties without the creation of extra copies. This ensures that the document stays firmly inside the extensive office workflow to keep everything efficient.
5. Ensure the Safe Disposal of Unneeded Documents
Stray documents cause digital and paper-based clutter while introducing security risks. However, with more documents existing in this digital world, it is not as easy as merely shredding unnecessary pieces of paper. Likewise, the destruction of records does not always mean destroying or deleting them entirely if the wrong procedures are used. Strategically archiving documents is key to controlling costs, maintaining efficiency, and enhancing security. Maximize your IT resources by determining which documents need to be safely destroyed, verses those which need to be archived. This plan will ensure employees do not need to dig through files to find the correct piece of information.
Efficient Record Management Boosts Productivity
Efficient record management is one of the best ways to increase the productivity of an office. When the document life cycle is streamlined and efficient, employees spend less time searching and managing documents and more time on high-value activities which drive long-term business.
Looking to learn more on how efficient document management software can help your business? Contact an RJ Young document process expert today to start a conversation.
If you are like most law firms, you have a room dedicated to boxes and boxes of case files and in many instances, off-site document storage, where recurring monthly fees cut into your firm’s profits. These files are the backbone of your law firm’s intelligence and livelihood. So, why are you leaving a critical aspect of your businesses at risk and reducing your profits?
Below are three reasons why you should make your law firm’s case files electric—and ditch the law firm file room and off-site storage.
- Your client’s information is not secure.
Access to sensitive legal documents and client information is difficult to manage with confidence when working with paper files. With compliance standards evolving at a rapid pace for all industries, including law firms, ensuring access to documents and files is secure and tracked is escalating in importance for your business and your clients. When case files are only manually maintained—and shipped off-site for storage—confidentiality can never truly be guaranteed.
- Paper files are not backed up for disaster recovery.
When disaster strikes your business (or your off-site document storage facility) without warning, you will not have time to rescue those boxes of paper files from fire, flood, tornado or even a leaky roof or burst water pipe. Duplicate copies in multiple file cabinets simply will not protect you from losing business critical data. Paper files put your law firm at risk of being unarmed with client files, evidence and data needed to win your case.
- Information is not accessible outside of your office.
Your legal case is moving at the speed of modern, mobile business and you must ensure that you are armed with evidence in your law office, at your client’s office or—most importantly—in the courtroom at all times. Paper files are not accessible anywhere other than in the legal file room. Digital files can be accessed and managed from anywhere, at anytime, securely.
- Off-site storage fees & real estate for filing cabinets is eroding your profits.
Last, but not least, you are operating a business for profit. Recurring monthly fees for off-site storage add up quickly, as does the cost per square foot on the lease for your law office. Digitizing files is less expensive and will help boost your bottom line for the long-term.
Many cost-effective document management software tools exist today that allow you to scan old case files, store, retrieve, manage and share those documents electronically, from anywhere at anytime. This allows you to secure your law firm’s client data, ensure case files are backed up for disaster recovery and you have the information available to win your case—anytime, anywhere.
Don’t wait! Learn about electronic document management of case files, ditch your legal file room AND off-site document storage.
Jason Stringer, Account Sales Representative, IT Services
Jason champions productivity and efficiency through integrating hardware and software solutions into workflows helping customers solve business challenges. Studying Business Administration, Jason attended Calhoun Community College. He is based out of the Huntsville, Alabama office.
“Only 16 percent of organizations use a document management system for tax work.”— Business Finance
Alarming statistic considering the amount of important and sensitive information required for tax returns. Despite the three extra days this year to gather your paperwork, the countdown is on to Tax Day (April 18). Document management systems are key to productivity and efficiency, which is especially needed during the crunch-time of tax season.
3 Ways to Simplify Tax Time with Document Management
- Digital Documents
Don’t lose key documentation for deductions, scan paper documents and receipts to turn tax files into digital documents. Lost documents and receipts are costing you money. Organize documents and reduce clutter. Shed in an organized digital filing system to reduce losing critical information.
- Document Retrieval
Create a digital filing system for easy access. Find, share & edit tax documents using keyword searches/search by keywords, file type, etc.
Sensitive tax documents are secure. Electronic storage system always keeps documents backed up in the event of a disaster. Electronic storage systems help protect sensitive data and keep confidential financial documents, confidential.
Don’t waste valuable time and money searching for misplaced or lost tax documents. Transition paper documents into electronic information. Using a document management system not only simplifies tax time, but also helps to stay organized, increases productivity and efficiency and keeps important documents secure for every aspect of your office.
Mark Turner, Director of Software Services
Mark Turner brings a wealth of experience in document software systems to his position as Director of Software sales for RJ Young. Mark helps clients be more successful in their businesses through document management, workflow automation and software systems to streamline the transfer of document information.
Document management to minimize impacts of business disasters.
Businesses continuity planning increases in importance as businesses of all sizes must recover from disasters more quickly today that in the past to meet customer demands. With the average 3 drawer filing cabinet holding 18,000 sheets of paper, significant amounts of critical business information is in jeopardy when digital document storage and back-up systems are not in place.
What is a disaster?
Businesses should be aware that many hazards they face today could results in a disaster to operations and information. Disasters born out of natural occurring events like tornadoes, floods and hurricanes spring to mind for most people. But consider the impact of widespread illness or pandemics, human-caused events such as acts of violence by people and acts of terrorism and technology-related failures or system malfunctions.
What documents are critical to digital storage & back-up?
Critical documents may be described as those vital to your organization’s survival and to the continuation of business operations.
- Sensitive to downtime
- Fulfill legal or financial compliance
- Key to maintaining market share and reputation
- Safeguard an irreplaceable asset
Examples of such documents are invoices, contracts, customer records, patient data, audit documentation, research reports, intellectual property and more. Conducting an analysis to identify critical business functions can help identify the critical business documents.
What are consequences of losing document information?
- Lost Revenue
- Delayed Revenue
- Increased Expenses (recreating documents, overtime, outsourcing, etc.)
- Regulatory Fines
- Decrease in Customer Satisfaction
- Loss of Customers
- Loss of New Business
What is document management?
Document management systems allow businesses to scan, store and manage document information digitally so that the information is accessible from any device anywhere.
Business owners — and homeowners alike — are advised to purchase insurance against the possibility of loss or damage of physical property as the result of fire, flooding, a tornado, a hurricane, or other act of Mother Nature and even liability insurance to provide protection from potential legal threats. However, most do not insure the most business crucial part of their business — their data.
In addition to insuring physical property and liability risks, it pays to take the necessary steps required to ensure the safety of — and ready access to — financial information, customer information and other data necessary to running your business through effective data back up systems.
Today, data back up systems are simple, automatic and cost-effective for small and medium size businesses (SEE BLOG POST “LOST DOLLARS.”). Whereas, the cost of not having a back up system in place can be astounding or even devastating:
- 94% of companies suffering from catastrophic data loss do not survive. 43% never reopen and 51% close within 2 years. (University of Texas)
- 70% of small companies (fewer than 100 employees) that experience major data loss go out of business within a year. (DTI/Price Waterhouse Coopers)
- 30% of all businesses that have a major fire go out of business within a year and 70% fail within 5 years. (Home Office Computing Magazine)
The stats are scary, but really unnecessary given the accessibility of back up systems to businesses of all sizes. Don’t be in the 94% of businesses that would not survive—investments in reliable data back up systems are some of the most critical and frequently used “insurance policies” you could acquire as a business owner.
Brantley Pearce – Director of IT Services
Brantley leads a team of IT professionals whose primary goal is to help organizations use their IT resources in a way that helps them proactively maintain their network and allows them to be more productive. He joined RJ Young in 2005 but has been in the IT industry for almost a decade. Brantley is originally from Houston, Texas and works out of our Nashville, TN office. In his spare time he volunteers for multiple organizations. Brantley is married and has two daughters.
Disasters can take many forms when it comes to unforeseen actions that can be devastating to any business. You never think it will happen to you and that it is always the other guy or company. In March of 1998 the RJ Young Company experienced a disaster first hand that created a real “March madness”. The building that housed the corporate offices sustained damage from a fire that started in a print shop that was renting the back portion of the facility.
The damage was mostly smoke and water as the alarm system in the corporate office alerted the fire department and they were quick to act to minimize the damage. After evaluating the damage it was determined that the building would need to be gutted and rebuilt which would take about a year to complete. Employees were relocated to other facilities so as to maintain a seamless approach to our customers.
The fortunate thing was that the computer system and critical data files were saved and the information needed to continue business as usual was secure. We were lucky in that preparations had been made, through the technology available at the time, to maintain digital files and backups. This prevented any major interruptions in services and support of the customers.
As you look at all of the possibilities that have occurred from hurricanes, fires, tornadoes, and floods in just the past few years, there is a case to be made for minimizing the loss of key information and downtime through proactive information management. No matter the size of the business, without proper information management, you can be out of business with one incident. Do not let a real “March madness” happen to your business.
Hunter McCarty – COO
Click here to view Hunter’s bio.
Tax season is upon us and companies and individuals alike are sharing in the preparation of filing taxes including finding and organizing supporting documentation for deductions and expenses. For some, the task of retrieving documents can be a task easily accomplished. For most, this can be a time consuming, almost insurmountable, event.
According to the IRS¹, there are five tips you should follow for individuals:
1. Normally, tax records should be kept for three years.
2. Some documents — such as records relating to a home purchase or sale, stock transactions, IRA and business or rental property — should be kept longer.
3. In most cases, the IRS does not require you to keep records in any special manner. Generally speaking, however, you should keep any and all documents that may have an impact on your federal tax return.
4. Records you should keep include bills, credit card and other receipts, invoices, mileage logs, canceled, imaged or substitute checks, proofs of payment, and any other records to support deductions or credits you claim on your return.
5. For more information on what kinds of records to keep, see IRS Publication 552, Recordkeeping for Individuals, which is available on the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
This list sounds easier than done and for individuals but imagine what it is like for businesses. Studies show that professionals spend more than 18 minutes locating each document². Now multiply times the number of documents could equal more than 21% lost in an organization’s productivity³!
By leveraging a document management system, filing taxes can be a less time consuming and stressful time of the year. Not only can you easily file supporting documentation, but it can be easily retrieved, backed up, and securely stored—with a mouse click or two.
RJ Young can show you how to make finding documents a little easier and tax time—less taxing.
Mark Turner – Director of Software Services
Mark is responsible for the software sales and implementation teams. He has worked for RJ Young since 2013. Combined he has over 16 years of experience in the industry where 9 years were in IT and 7 years were in software. Mark works out of our Nashville, TN office and is originally from Montgomery, Alabama. In his spare time he volunteers for the United Way and enjoys kayaking, photography and craft beer.