If you employ Microsoft Windows as an operating system, then you’re probably quite aware of the resources the system uses to index files so that the proprietary File Explorer can retrieve searches when you need them. For many of the same reasons, indexing files across your enterprise is a similarly complicated task – but the primary benefit of eliminating your dependence on paper and storage is worth it many times over.
In the following, we give a short run-through of a handful of tips for indexing files across your entire enterprise, so that your business can realize the full scope of the many benefits that an electronic document management system offers.
1. Document Preparation
There’s no better way to reduce the anxiety associated with an arduous task. Before you employ scanning services, take the time to remove any pins, staples and paper clips from your files so as not to damage the scanning machine. Smooth out the files – this is a one-time thing that you’ll never have to do again once your electronic document management system is in place and you’re done indexing files.
2. Separate and Catalogue
This pre-organization phase is necessary so that you can create and keep track of subgroups for your legion of documents. Once entered digitally, it will facilitate everything henceforth – from maintaining compliance, retrieval, disposal and just about any other operation. As an example of some categories, depending on the industry in which your enterprise resides:
- medical records
- employee records (obviously important for any industry)
- legal records (including any further subgroup divisions)
- HR records
This will make the coming scanning and indexing less time-consuming once the process begins, as well as much easier on the employee(s) responsible for entering the data. With such an endeavor, collaboration and communication are paramount to its success.
3. Lay Out a Plan to Account for Future Indexing Needs
The last thing you want to do is to think solely about the here and now. Your electronic document management system should include search mechanism for nearly every aspect of the file groups – you should be able to locate policy numbers (if applicable), social security numbers, EINs and other distinguishing index values. This necessarily means a large effort in the beginning, to reap great rewards in efficiency and productivity thereafter. Find a good balance between overindexing and underindexing, by recalling the metrics you needed in the past when retrieving paper documents.
4. Tailor Your Indexing Plan to Your Company’s Capabilities
This is all about resource management; in fact, it is tied to the above tip. You can only afford to delegate so much to your employees; the fewer you have, the fewer values you’ll be able to reasonably record in an electronic document management system. Burn-out is a very real problem with such a workload, so if you can only afford to allow maybe 5% of your workforce in an indexing files marathon, then make sure it’s what they can handle in a normal work day. Compromise is necessary; otherwise you risk running the operation into the ground with too many errors.
5. Opt for Professional Scanning Services
This alleviates the workload when it comes to a plan for indexing files; and, of course, such companies have loads of expertise in this field. By alleviating this part of the task, your employees (or even another vendor) will have a very manageable task ahead of them in getting your digital document management system up-and-running. Paperless processing is the storage mechanism of the future for businesses, and there’s never been a better time to make the transition than now.