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.
Easy Scanning and Editing
The scanning process is the main reason most offices haven’t already gone paperless. In the early days of the technology, scanning was a slow, cumbersome process, with users standing by watching as the machine slowly scanned each document. However, the technology has since come a long way.
With the right software solution, scanning takes just seconds, and it’s even possible to scan documents in bulk. With bulk scanning, the software processes stacks of documents, recognizing where one ends and another begins and sending each to the appropriate folder like a virtual file clerk.
A modern scanning solution should also provide a way for companies to make changes to electronic documents and create editable electronic files from printed documents. A solution that converts documents to a universal format like PDF can provide these capabilities and more, including the ability to create custom business forms.
A document management system that makes full use of PDF functions can also make it easy for employees to combine files by dragging and dropping and scan new pages into existing documents. In addition, it can make it simple for users to copy and paste text into word processing software such as Microsoft Word as well as make edits directly in the PDF file.
Organization that Works Intuitively and Simple Searching and Sharing
Another perception that has delayed widespread adoption of paperless document management systems is the concern that the documents will be organized in a way that makes it difficult for employees to retrieve files. Earlier in the evolution of document management systems, some products featured difficult-to-understand filing systems that required a familiarity with database functions to fully comprehend.
Now, it’s possible to find a system that operates much as a regular filing cabinet works, with clearly labeled drawers to store information and folders and subfolders that are patterned on the company’s organizing principles, such as client or product names. Advanced systems allow users to customize the electronic filing cabinet in the way that works best for their company and automate scanning and storage.
There are also document management software products that use optical character recognition technology to convert printed pages into fully searchable electronic text. With integrated search features, it’s possible to conduct a keyword search that pulls up the correct documents in just seconds. The more advanced systems also provide a document preview feature to allow users to view search results without opening the document so they can select the right one.
Companies that have multiple employees who need to be able to access the same set of documents can also find an ideal solution with a document management system that allows sharing across the office network. Sharing features vary across solutions, with some requiring access to server hardware or the cloud, so businesses should carefully evaluate sharing capabilities before choosing their document management solution.
Conclusion: More Efficient, Effective Operations
Virtually all businesses run into a document management challenge at some point, with electronic files piling up and paper overflowing filing cabinets and making it hard to locate critical documents. A document management solution can make a huge difference, but it pays to take the time to evaluate options carefully before making a selection.
Businesses that are looking to go paperless should assess basic functions such as scanning and editing features, organizational layout and sharing and search options. When companies find the right document management solution, it’s a major win for the business, which can operate more effectively and efficiency.