Are you Leading, Keeping Up, or Falling Behind?
A strong document management system is essential for all document-intensive organizations. Strong document management systems support efficient and effective processes and workflow. Document management systems exist to provide secure access to the people who need it, whenever they need it, anywhere in the world.
Going completely paperless is a clear industry trend. Some organizations are leaders, while others lag behind.
Organizations that evolve into completely paperless operations have realized significant efficiencies, improved employee satisfaction and productivity, while simultaneously improving accountability. Implemented correctly, going paperless can also significantly reduce your risks, reduce hard dollar costs, and reduce environmental costs to our planet.
A Roadmap to a Completely Paperless Office
Want to go paperless? Here’s a proven formula.
Begin with the End in Mind – Validate Your Vision, Build Your Plan
Establish a clear, written objective. What will your office and process look like when you succeed in achieving your vision? Share your paperless vision and ideas while encouraging others with whom you work to ask questions, evaluate the desired outcome and help refine the plan. The larger the organization, the more thorough your investigation and planning needs to be. Consider engaging a document management expert consultant to help review your current state and desired outcome.
Ensure a Solid Technical Foundation
- Ensure that you have a solid digital document system that is robust, has all of the required features to be successful, is secure, backed up, and reliable.
- Consider if a new or upgraded system might be a better fit. There are numerous excellent dedicated document management solutions such as iManage, NetDocuments, and Documentum. Additionally, there is continuing evolution of solutions built upon Document Management Platforms from both Microsoft (Sharepoint Online) and Google (Docs, Drive).
- Regularly test and validate that your backups are solid and that you can recover from various potential disasters ranging from accidental deletion, loss of site/data center, and malware/ransomware.
- When adopting a new system, it often makes sense to improve and clean up the filing system. Be careful to avoid the trap of implementing a new Document Management System without existing documents (i.e. have a “new system” and a “legacy system”). We have “rescued” failed Document Management migration projects that have tried this approach. Ultimately, it’s critical to have ALL of your documents in one system to avoid both adoption problems and chaos. Consider “data reorganization” trade-offs where it may or may not make sense to reorganize existing filing structures.
- Once again, consider engaging a document management consultant to help you consider all your options and validate your plan.
Realizing your Paperless Vision
Stem the Tide of Incoming Paper
This may seem obvious, but ensuring solid processes to eliminate incoming paper is often overlooked. This can happen when planning gets mired in technical details of the document management system itself rather than focusing on the overall business objective.
Establish Clear Roles & Responsibilities
Make it clear whose job it is to eliminate paper in the first place as you launch your upgraded Document Management system and in the future as new sources of paper arrive. Who will scan/file/shred paper as they are received? A relatively inexpensive PERSONAL scanner (not a large digital copier) generally works best for this so that a person scanning does not have to leave their desk to perform the scanning. Consider the old adage “if everybody is responsible, then nobody is”. Who will be the backup for the primary assigned person when that person is out of the office or unavailable?
After Your System & Process is Solid, Consider Options for Existing Paper Files
With a solid system of technology and processes, you may want to scan, file and shred all open active files. If and when you’ve eliminated all paper for active files, consider scanning filing, and shredding old, inactive files in accordance with your data retention policy.
Consider Engaging a Document Management Consultant
- A document management consultant can help businesses critically assess their current situation. The consultant will perform an in-depth analysis of existing document systems, including the existing document data and metadata. Armed with solid information, businesses are in the best position to make well-informed, data-driven decisions.
Total Networks has notified us of potential issues before they become problems
I would recommend Total Networks managed services to anyone. We merged with another firm and added a second physical office. We would not have been able to meet the short timetable to make things happen without Total Networks. Having someone available 24/7 has been amazing! I appreciate that Total Networks takes a proactive approach to our company’s IT needs. For example, the continuous monitoring is wonderful and Total Networks has notified us of potential issues before they become problems. Prior to this firm, my experience was with in-house IT departments. Total Networks can respond faster and with less push-back than most in-house departments. When contacting Total Networks I feel like a valued client and that makes everything easier.