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Digital document management system: Why your business can’t be without it

Summary

Businesses need digital document management. Here is why they choose (and have chosen) it.

Time: 2 minute read

Like it or not, the answer to ‘Why choose digital document management?’ is simple. We must.

The way we work has changed. To stay competitive and keep employees actively engaged and productive, making data available from any location is key. But it’s not just data – employees need access to documents. Digital documents make that possible.

The challenge is that digital documents alone aren’t the solution. Stacking multiple systems only creates inefficiencies. Digital document management solves that problem.

Digital document management is no longer optional

In 2020, digital documents became an essential way to keep business moving forward. They also played a key role in keeping remote and hybrid workers connected. Yet, necessity does not mean enthusiasm for the change in how we work.

Yet, before necessity drove businesses to digital documents, many companies had embraced it. Why?

The benefits of digital document management go far beyond keeping your people connected and productive.

Why businesses choose digital document management

Long before the urgent need created by the pandemic in 2020, businesses chose digital documents for the competitive edge they delivered.

Business that choose digital document management today will realize the same benefits.

These benefits include:

1. An ability to deliver better customer service

Digital documents make it easier to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Customer service representatives can find relevant documents faster, while speaking with the customer. Reducing the friction of wait times, call backs, and missing documents elevates the quality of service you can provide. And we know that quality customer service means repeat business and more referrals which translates into revenue and profit.

2. Getting more done, more quickly

Digital documents move at the speed of the click (or tap for smartphones and tablets). More than eliminating paper transit and retrieval (from briefcases for those on the move), employees can review and approve on-demand speeding sales processes, invoicing, payables – in fact, every workflow for which they are used.

Accelerated processes also enable you to respond to customer inquiries faster, streamlining service delivery for those specialized customer needs that require escalation.

3. Empowering remote work

The movement to enable employees to work remotely has been growing. In 2020, it became a necessity. The reality is, it’s no longer practical to tie workflows to a desk. Digital documents make it possible to free employees to work from anywhere, making your business more able to adapt to sudden events. The pandemic of 2020 may be an extreme event, but localized disruptions – even if it’s only loss of office internet connectivity, can mean precious minutes lost in responding to customers, vendors, and others.

With digital documents, you and your employees can turn any coffee shop, room in your house, or even car into a dynamic workplace.

4. Lower document storage costs

Storing paper comes with a high cost.Real estate costs money, which means every file cabinet has an ongoing storage cost beyond its original cost. Offsite storage as part of your document lifecycle management or for document protection as part of your business continuity plan also comes with a hefty cost.

Oftentimes, the digital documents are the original files and, in most cases, are legally valid and equal to originals.You can store millions of documents in a hard drive. You can backup millions more in another drive. In an onsite environment, they could share the same small space. Offsite backups eliminate the need for any onsite equipment.

And if you choose cloud document management, you do not need any onsite infrastructure, reducing many traditional document storage costs. And most service level agreements (SLAs) with cloud document management providers include redundancies, so you do not need backups, like you would with an on-premises document management system.

Read more about cloud document management in “An introduction to cloud document management.

5. Increased document security

Generally, digital document management includes the ability to restrict access to only appropriate individuals. The degree of security varies from system to system. Free applications like Google Docs™ may be good for personal use, but likely do not provide the security your business demands.

A business system like DocuWare builds in greater security. You gain: 

  • Traceability and transparency with detailed activity logs and reporting that support compliance requirements.

  • Advanced access and permission controls, to provide employees with only the access they need.

  • Encryption protection to keep your documents and information secured.

  • Virus and malware protection, especially in cloud systems where the application and communications are monitored.

6. Greater document accessibility

Digital document management makes documents more available, yet still in a highly secured way. More people can access the documents, but only when they have rights to view. This means customer service could view the document while accounting is also viewing, both completing their tasks. And when they are done, the document remains in the same location, ready for the next person to access it.

7. Scalability and integration

Digital document management systems typically give you ways to integrate with other tools you use daily, offering scalability to businesses to support growth and changing business needs. Features often scale in free versus paid versions of the same application. Subscription platforms, especially cloud document management systems, typically allow you to add or reduce users as needed, to support growth or shifts to business need. 

In fact, integration and scalability are key factors for many businesses when evaluating document management systems.

8. Support for business continuity

From the ease of backup to ensure fast recovery times to the ability to work remotely, digital document management plays an integral role in ensuring business continuity.

9. Better informed decision-making

Many document management systems feature some form of data capture. Point-and-click field data capture can speed how quickly you input documents into the system. In many cases, more automated methods like Smart Integrations exist to capture data from structured forms to further speed input.

Integrations with other applications introduce opportunities to turn the data on your documents into advanced business intelligence, reducing risk of errors, improving processes, and reducing bottlenecks.

Which digital document management system is right for you?

You have a lot of options when it comes to digital document management. Free systems can meet short-term needs but may not be sustainable in the long-term due to a lack of integration with other systems.

When evaluating digital document management systems, here are some questions to consider:

  • What is the primary need this system must meet?

  • Does it add or reduce steps to a process?

  • Are you getting the security that you need?

  • Will the system organize and integrate your documents, or create siloes?

  • What kind of workflows does it offer?

Of course, there are many more questions you may have. And you may have other considerations unique to your business too. An experienced digital document management system provider who knows your industry can help guide your journey in finding the best solution for your business. Find out how Ricoh’s business process management solutions can help.

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