The World Is Overwhelmed by Paper. What’s Your Plan for Yours?
3 min read
Despite the technological advances that enable information to be stored digitally, the global production of paper and cardboard still totals more than 400 million metric tons each year. This is a problem, not only for storage but also for worker productivity. In 2012, research firm McKinsey reported that workers spent 20% of their time looking for internal information. Fast forward to 2018, and even data professionals, who one might assume have their data well organized, were spending four hours a week searching for data and wasting 10 hours a week building information assets that already exist.
Fortunately, paper is only an absolute necessity in a few cases, such as for envelopes that go through the mail. For U.S. companies especially, digitizing paper documents has become easier than ever before. At Novatech, we help clients implement a solution that is referred to in our industry as “document management.” As a component of our Managed Print Services, we digitize paper documents and index them so they can be more easily retrieved when needed.
The advantages of document management systems (DMS) are significant. Following are some of the top benefits our clients cite.
Reduced Storage Space
Office rents can be significant expense for firms with physical locations, and every foot consumed by file cabinets is money wasted. If documents must be retained in physical format for purposes such as compliance, they can be scanned and digitized, then the paper copy can be stored in a secure, off-site location.
Greater Security and Compliance
Digital documents are easier to secure and track. Sensitive documents can be managed in folders with different levels of access based on each group’s or employee’s privileges. A DMS leaves an audit trail of who viewed a document, when they accessed it, and whether or not it has been modified.
Furthermore, now that many firms have at least some remote workers, documents will not be accessible to everyone unless they are digitized. Given that research firm Gartner determined that 74% of CFOs planned to keep some remote workers permanent after the pandemic ended, we expect this trend to continue — and potentially accelerate. With a DMS, as long as the worker has an Internet connection, they can access company documents.
Ease of Retrieval
Anyone who has been in the business world for more than a few months knows that searching for and retrieving documents can be very time consuming. (The average employee spends 400 hours per year searching for documents.) Additionally, DMS systems have search capabilities that facilitate retrieval (and save even more time and money). These include full text search, which enables the system to retrieve files by a word or phrase in a document. Many support the application of categories to each document and/or folder, further facilitating quick retrieval.
Backup and Disaster Recovery
Once paper documents are digitized and stored to a company’s server, they can be included as part of its backup process. That not only protects them if someone accidentally erases the original; it also protects them from fire, flood and other disasters.
Beyond these clear benefits, DMS also make it less likely a document will be misfiled. Furthermore, document management facilitates team information sharing and collaboration — not only within one office but among all personnel, no matter where they might be located. Yet, because DMS incorporate version control, it also ensures that multiple editors won’t overwrite each other’s changes.
To learn more about digital document storage and explore how much it could benefit your organization, we invite you to contact us for a no-obligation discussion. To get started, call 800-264-0637 or start a chat with one of our experts by visiting https://novatech.net/contact-us/ and clicking the Chat button.