How many files do you have on your computer? How many photos do you have on your phone or tablet? If your answer is in the thousands, then you may be considered a digital hoarder of information, and you’re not alone.
Why We Struggle with Digital Hoarding
If I am going to be labeled a hoarder, then I would at least prefer to be a digital hoarder. I love having all of my files at my fingertips any time I need them. I am a huge culprit of holding onto my files, and I am not ashamed to admit it. It may be due to an emotional attachment or a logical one. I can think of many reasons why I would need to retrieve my tax information from a few years ago, or have all of my car maintenance records to jog my memory of when I had replaced the alternator. The efficiency the digital documents create in my office is incredible as well! Having access to a client’s documents when they call saves me an incredible amount of time, which of course leads to increased profits. Then there are the thousands of emails that we keep in our inbox. I won’t even begin to tell you how many of those I have.
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Sometimes we are so rushed to implement a new project that we don’t sit down and think of all the processes that need to take place to do the job right. In some cases, we can get away with that, but when implementing technology solutions, the majority of the time we can’t.
Over the past few years, I have been gathering some “What I wish I would have known’s” from customers and friends when it comes to implementing document management software. Here are the top 10 reasons
- Spending more time on planning out the process
- Wish we would have not bit off more than we could chew at first
- The importance of documenting our processes when we used paper and after
- We should have picked someone to champion the project instead of having too many decision makers
- Explained what the process of going paperless meant and that everyone understood the benefits
- Wish we would have invested in the training and consulting of the product instead of just trying to wing it ourselves
- We shouldn’t have put EVERYTHING into our document management program
- That we didn’t have to be perfect right out of the gate. Instead of prolonging the start of the project, we should have gotten started and then optimized our processes after a period of time
- Scheduled more time to do lunch and learns for our staff to better understand the process
- That we should have written down clearly defined business goals and objectives for implementing the document management solution and why we wanted to achieve them and not let the vendor dictate what they thought we needed
Do you find that these ring a bell with your office too? What are some of the things you wish you knew before implementing a document management program in your office?
FileCenter Pro vs. Windows Folders: What are the advantages of using FileCenter Pro over Managing Windows Folders?
Some common questions asked when talking with a business owner looking at using an electronic document management solution are, “Why can’t I just use Windows folders?” or “What are the advantages of using FileCenter over managing Windows folders and just printing documents to PDF?”
There are several disadvantages to using Windows folders. Inconsistency in how file folders are created, how folders are named and how documents are labeled are all too common when using Windows folders. We have all seen it, over time, the way that we name folders and files changes, and there is no uniformity in the way that we do it. In most cases, there just isn’t a structure in place for naming folders and files. Searching for documents can also be cumbersome. Depending on how complex you make your Windows folder structure, you can spend a considerable amount of time clicking on folder, after folder. Folders are also accidentally dragged and dropped into other folders, and in some cases, hours are spent looking for where that one file folder went. The one advantage that Windows folders has over any electronic document management system is that it is free to create. The question is, is it worth the time and effort to do it? Read more ›
Paper in the office is not fun. If you are dreaming of getting rid of your mountains and mountains of paperwork, well, you’re not alone. Many people love the idea of having a paperless office, but are often not sure as to whether or not they should make the switch. The bottom line is that there are just too many benefits to going paperless to ignore. Once you’ve made this change, you can be sure of this one key fact: you won’t go back to an office full of paper ever again!
Item 1: What’s Your Strategy for Going Paperless?
You’re staring at all of those filing cabinets and banker’s boxes, wondering if you’ve really got to go back in time and scan all of that material. That thought alone has stopped many offices from embarking on a change that would have otherwise made their ongoing work much, much more efficient. The simple fact is, a paperless office is more efficient and better protected from loss. But if you overwhelm yourself and your staff from the get-go, you’re almost guaranteed to fail.
That’s why you need a strategy. The best recommendation for most offices is to switch to paperless going forward. Decide how you’re going to organize your electronic files (tip: making it match your paper filing will make the transition easiest on your staff). Then put a scanning policy in place and stick to it … going forward. Baby steps! Once your staff has gotten comfortable with the new system, they can feel free to pull in old material as it’s needed.
What about the really old stuff? That’s your call. Some businesses hang onto it until their retention period has run, then shred it. Others want the old stuff digitized too, and end up hiring temporary help to bring it into the system. Whatever your plan, make it deliberate and make sure it doesn’t burden your staff.
(Related: 4 Tips to Moving from Paper to Paperless) Read more ›
With modern scanning technology and the right document management software, businesses can go paperless to streamline their operations to be more efficient and effective.
Businesses of all sizes are overwhelmed with incoming files, with both paper and electronic documents arriving in large volumes even at small companies. The flood of documents often starts slowly, but before office administrators and business owners know it, they’re drowning in electronic and paper documents and are unable to quickly locate the documents they need.
There is a better way. Modern document management software can help businesses operate more efficiently by putting important files at employees’ fingertips instantly and providing a way to organize electronic and paper documents more effectively. The challenge is that there are multiple options on the market, and it’s important to find the document management solution that will work best for the business. To make the right choice, companies must evaluate their options to find the best fit. Read more ›
With document retention requirements varying by industry as well as state to state, how do you decide what to archive?
You may think to yourself that there are so many rules and regulations out there that address document retention. And you are correct, as there are more than ten thousand laws across the board that address how long you need to hold onto documents.
The IRS recommends holding onto your tax returns for a minimum of 3 years depending on your situation. In the financial industry, Securities brokers and dealers are required to retain all of their business communications for three years, two of which require you to have it accessible.
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If you are the owner of a small business, it may seem like an unachievable task to take your office paperless. You may think that it is easy just to manage the paper files you do have. When you really look at it though, going paperless is the route you really want to move towards. Reducing the amount of paper in your business will increase your efficiency as well as reduce the costs to your bottom line. I have even worked with some firms on implementing a document management solution into their practice to increase the value of their practice prior to selling it. Below are three big benefits for taking your small business paperless:
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Wouldn’t it be great if you could just snap your fingers like Mary Poppins and your paperless office would be put in place? Unfortunately, we live in reality and the task of building a paperless office can seem daunting. This process doesn’t have to be that way; you can put it all together. Do you remember playing with LEGOS® as a kid? Your new LEGO toy came with some simple step-by-step instructions. Now, building a paperless office isn’t quite as simple, but here are four steps that can help you along the way to putting your paperless office together:
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Making the jump to a paperless office can be relatively easy if you have an existing paper process that is well-documented.
Unfortunately, I have found over the years of working with companies on going paperless that this documentation is either non-existent or very poor, making the process of going paperless more difficult.
If this describes your company, then before you can design and implement your paperless office, you need to define and document your paper processes. Once you have documented your paper process, here are four tips on moving from a paper rich environment to a paperless (less paper) environment:
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One question that we field on a regular basis goes something like this: Are you ever going to let me secure my cabinets with a password? Or, are you ever going to let me give individual files passwords?
The short answer is no. The reason? FileCenter doesn’t use a database. Leading to the next question, what does a database have to do with it? Read on!
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