You may have been asking for an automated document management solution for a really long time, or perhaps, you’re just starting the conversation. Either way, if you’re having these conversations with executives you’ll need to be prepared to present a solid business case for the transition. Any major change has the perception of complexity, high costs and disruption for the sake of disruption. While the benefits may be clear to you and your team, often you’ll face some opposition from leadership if you don’t communicate the need properly.
There are tons of best practices for implementing and using document management systems. You’ve read about all the benefits and likely seen dozens of tip sheets about how best to utilize an electronic system vs. a paper-based one. If at times the amount of information available seems overwhelming, stick to a few essentials.
Companies have always relied on data. For decades, data like customer and vendor info, employee records, AP/AR invoices, etc. lived on paper, in files, and stored in filing cabinets. Electronic filing systems have started to replace paper document management processes, but the need for a well-planned filing system remains at the fore of every process strategy.
Once you’ve implemented an electronic document management system, you might find that it isn’t exactly working the way you’d expected it to. You’re waiting to reap the benefits promised to you. Perhaps, you’re still finding it a chore to use effectively. Not every DMS will work the way you expect, and even if it has the capacity to, it needs to be implemented properly.
Even with the global push to “go paperless” within the last decade or so, the scary truth is, offices still waste a lot of paper - every day, every month, every year. It adds up! Paper waste shouldn’t just bother people who are environmentally conscious, but also businesses minding their bottom lines. Paper waste is expensive, and the truths that appear in your balance sheets might scare you enough to consider paperless document management options.
Do you ever find yourself answering the question of “why are we doing it this way?” with “Because we’ve always done it this way.”? You’re certainly not alone. Think about restrictive dress codes, or archaic policies, or even the vendors you work with. Outdated business processes tend to increase their shelf life in organizations “just because.” What about the answer, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”? However, if you analyze the impact of an outdated business process on your bottom line, your ability to compete and service your customers, and the time it’s steals from your employees...it IS broken, and it needs to be supplanted by a better way.
Many businesses hinge their success (or failure) on the relationships they have with their vendors. It is symbiotic, which can create a “win-win” or a “lose-lose” situation depending on the strength of your foundation. It is also incredibly tough to find reliable vendors - so once you do, you never want to sour the relationship over miscommunications, disorganization or inconsistencies. Quite the opposite. Most companies are looking for ways to improve vendor relationships, and one of the ways they are doing it is by going paperless.
Researching into common ways to store paper files from the many accumulated files generated by corporations big and small; I started with assessing the industry field the corporation is a part of. For instance, a lawyers’ office would generate considerably more paperwork than a stand-alone plumber; a giant corporation with many employees would generate a far greater amount of paperwork than a small office of insurance brokers.
Well, welcome to 2018! Can you believe we are in April already? And no, that was not an April-Fool-Me joke! It seems to me that one day just grows into another these days. It seemed that yesterday was January and I am wondering what else I seemed to have slept through.