Paperless Office Solutions: The Benefits and the Answer

by KnowledgeLake on Feb 28, 2018

With a myriad of business technology options available, turning your department or organization into a paperless environment is no longer an impossibility. Enterprises are on the hunt for paperless office solutions, embracing the concept of significantly reducing paper usage or, in some cases, eliminating it all together.

Paperless office solutions are not only environmentally friendly, but organizations are discovering there are compelling reasons that propel them to make the change. Such as:

  • Reduced expenditures from shipping documents to departments off-campus or in other offices
  • Increased work space by eliminating extra file cabinets
  • Increased confidence that sensitive data is secure
  • Decreased time looking for misfiled or lost documents
  • Reduced mistakes made during a manual data entry process
  • Improved productivity for employees
  • Diminished compliance and regulatory risks
  • Improved customer service

While businesses know paper is an expensive and inefficient way to manage their information, the volume of the business content an organization accumulates and generates grows daily. Enterprises are learning paperless office solutions center around creating a document management system.

(Learn more by reading the whitepaper, The Transition From Paper to Painless.)

However, incorporating a document management system as part of your paperless office solution isn’t something that happens overnight —  it is a process that takes time and effort. For those business owners who are intimidated by the prospect of making the switch here’s more information on how a document management system helps you achieve your paper-free purpose.

Digitize then centralize content

Paper documents can be scanned via desktop scanners. This digitized content, and other electronic documents, can be captured from a variety of sources such as PC’s, file shares, monitored e-mail and Microsoft Outlook. The content is then imported into a central location. If your organization has a variety of offices, campuses or departments needing the info, this paperless process helps multiple users access the same document concurrently and with more ease, enabling enhanced collaboration across different departments or locations.

Categorize documents to stay organized

Once documents are added, an advanced capture technology solution can enhance images, such as removing a coffee stain or sharpening blurry type, to improve readability. The electronic documents are converted into certain file types to optimize digital file storage.

Since manual entry mistakes can cause a variety of problems for an organization, customers and other employees, a capture technology solution containing optical character recognition (OCR) software can capture necessary information from different types of in-coming documents, categorize the content and extract necessary metadata. Metadata extraction can provide a great deal of business value as you’ll learn in a later point.

Standardize where information is routed

Data stored in separate and disparate business systems lead to lost productivity, longer response times and increased employee frustration. A document management solution ensures content is consistently routed to whatever repository or line-of-business (LOB) system is appropriate.

Using KnowledgeLake Capture Server Professional or KnowledgeLake cloud capture or another solution pre-configured to work with an array of repositories means users don’t have to rifle through complicated hierarchies or folder structures to upload data, or access it later. They can be confident that content is where it is supposed to be.

U.S.-based companies spend $25 to $35 billion processing (filing, storing, and retrieving) paper. Management of documents over their life cycle pushes that figure up to $100 billion per year. – International Data Corporation

Maximize efficiency and findability 

According to a study conducted by Coopers and Lybrand, employees spend 20% to 40% of their time searching for documents manually.  An effective search experience relies upon the ability to effectively leverage metadata from properly indexed information. Since the KnowledgeLake solution previously mentioned is pre-configured to work with many repositories or LOBs, it has the ability to “talk to” already-built taxonomy and metadata structures from other systems to find and retrieve the documents needed. This capability eliminates information silos, speeds up business processes and improves customer satisfaction by allowing employees to easily find information. In turn, employees are able to focus on critical tasks, ensuring higher levels of productivity.

Optimize metadata

Information that’s been extracted from documents can be used for more than search and retrieval undertakings — metadata can be added to kick-off a business process or document automation process or even advance the procedure, adding extra business value.

Strategize for stressful events      

Are you prepared for an audit or eDiscovery? Do you have a disaster recovery plan? If you’re currently staring at rows of file cabinets and your palms are beginning to sweat simply thinking about how you’ll deal with these events, a proper document management system will save your sanity.

TIP: IT and Business alignment is critical within an organization because aligning a document management system with your IT and other key lines-of-business systems, you can mitigate risks of paying fees for an audit or a penalty for violating document retention policies. 

Paperless office solutions employing a document management system can be of vast value regarding information, security and regulatory compliance because a predictable, high-quality capture capability standardizes business processes. This consistency helps enforce information governance. Noncompliance can lead to serious legal costs or actions as well as extra time investigating and following up on security breaches.

Need help understanding if a document management system or enterprise content management solution is right for you? Get the answers you need.

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