As we’ve recently hurtled into the second decade of the 21st Century and still all seem to be using paper in our offices it could appear that the vision of the paperless office was a false one. But it’s worth remembering that uptake of technology generally lags way behind the actual innovations. With the availability and affordability of the relevant technology improving all the time, the paperless future could be just around the corner.
But before we jump the gun entirely, what are the reasons for going paperless? Why should a business invest in converting their documents to digital format? What exactly are the benefits?
Reduce Physical Storage Space
Make the most of your costly commercial office space by scanning your archive and storing your documents on a hard drive instead. Document management companies can take away your filing cabinet contents, scan them to a digital archive and then confidentially destroy the originals, reducing your storage space to the size of a hard drive. This method of archive storage can be made fully compliant with Data Protection, employment law and accounting regulations through proper digital back-up procedures.
Retrieve Documents Faster
With a suitable document management system, documents can be retrieved by any suitable user in your organisation within seconds. As long as documents are labelled appropriately, stored in a sensibly structured way and optical character recognition has been used to scan archive documents, software can find archived documents a lot quicker than humans. You also no longer have to worry about paperwork disappearing under mountains of other papers on workers’ desks, falling down the side of cabinets or being lost or stolen when employees take them away. Users with mobile internet access can still work on the go by accessing the system via a secure login.
Improve Workflow Through Organised Collaboration
Document management software allows users to share a document among a group of users who can make notes and changes. These changes can be made and shared instantly allowing for active collaboration among users who might not even be in the same office. Different versions of the document can be saved and reverted to if things get out of hand.
With a document management system you no longer have to worry about important docs going missing. Permissions can be set for each user determining what kind of documents they can access, edit, download or print from the database. A clear audit trail is left for administrators to see who has accessed each document, what actions were performed and when.
Integrate Customer Correspondence
With the use of digital signatures and encryption of electronic documents, document management can be integrated with sales, accounts, billing and customer service systems. Customer interactions via mail, email, phone and internet can then all be seamlessly integrated and prioritised without the need for juggling online and offline activities. This also cuts out waiting times due to the postal service, making correspondence truly instant.
Those are just 5 reasons for going paperless - and we haven’t yet mentioned environmental reasons and paper/postage costs – which make it clear that using document conversion has its plus points. As more and more companies start to head this way, the motivation becomes even stronger as employees and customers get used to the convenience of the new systems. So, maybe paperless offices won’t go the same way as hover-boards and silver jump suits after all.
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