Companies are entering the modern age of digital document management by adopting paperless billing to reduce printing and delivery costs, while taking advantage of leveraging digital documents as tools for customer engagement, delivering promotional ads and notifications. But if your document management strategy is build around a paper-based system, you probably use different methods to keep your files and important business documents safe. Classical tools for secure destruction of sensitive papers are shredders, and for secure storage – locked rooms for safekeeping.
While these steps can help to minimize some of your corporate risks, however, digitizing these steps can reduce these risks even further. In the time when most companies are trying their best at scanning and indexing documents, the goal should be to not even get paper documents in your daily business routine, by creating and receiving only electronic documents. A 100% paper-free office is very hard to achieve, but using an efficient Document Management System can help your company to create a paper-lite work environment and reduce corporate risk for three essential reasons:
1) Non-compliance Risk
In regulated industries, producing non-compliant documents can lead to fines and law suits, which are not only poor publicity, but also financially damaging. For some companies these accidents can result in lost business and those employees, who were responsible for document compliance can lose their jobs.
How do you secure that the documents, produced by your company, comply with the laws and regulations that apply to your industry? If you think that checking the documents when they were designed is enough, you might be in for a surprise.
Content that was perfectly fine when the documents were created, might not meet the letter of the law for lots of different reasons. Here are some examples of scenarios that can cause the appearance of non-compliant documents:
- Company uses different systems for creating electronically-delivered documents for printed output.
- The IT Department accidently forgot to change all versions of the document and left for example the year-end version without update.
- Employees manually modified documents and added accidently some language/wording errors
- Resources and document templates were stored on printers. Some of the printers were not updated and printed old document versions.
- Because the inserter operators loaded the wrong material, private data became visible though the envelope window
- Company uses different systems for different output purposes (for printing, for emailing, for faxing, etc.). Because of hardware or software changes, the output contained different fonts, margins, or layouts.
- Printshop used a carton of old pre-printed forms instead of the latest carton with updated text.
As you can see, there are many ways to accidentally create non-compliance in documents. For business documents, you can use document management to keep track of the document flow in your company and know which documents you already have and which still need to be generated to be compliant. This way, all your document related work steps are always transparent and you can easily see what needs to be updated. And in case of an intern or extern audit, the searchable system makes it easy and fast to find and retrieve the document you need.
2) Security of Business Documents
Storing paper documents in physical locations is risky, as these documents are vulnerable to different natural or human disasters, like floods, burst or leaky pipes, fire damage, plain old humidity and other types of physical damage. Digital document management and storage solutions help to prevent these and many other types of damage to documents and make sure that important business documents will still be there, regardless of what happens in your physical business.
Digital document management allows companies to add as many layers of protection as needed to securely store and manage their documents and data. There are many ways to protect documents. For example companies can password-protect or encrypt them. As an alternative, documents can be stored on secure servers which can be accessed only by authorized employees. Another benefit of digital document management is the option to back up documents in minutes, access them remotely and even view earlier versions of files, ensuring that they will not simply be deleted.
3) Accountable Organisation
There are many types of people. Some of us like to manage small and big groups of people. Some of us hate micro and macro management and would rather do the whole project on their own if that meant they would not have to manage anyone. But it doesn’t matter to which type of people you belong, if you are a team manager with a lot of responsibility, you want specific business documents and projects to be in order and accountable.
If someone accesses a paper document in a physical storage room and modifies or even damages something, you often have no way of knowing who it might be, even if you have some kind of log, where employees have to write down when and what they accessed. In a digital system, you can control the access level of your personnel to certain document types, password-protect documents. You can also see who accessed which documents and when. This information might be mission-critical in many situations.
If you’ve been thinking about strategies to prevent or minimize corporate risk at your company, now is the time to consider digital document management. Request a consultation today to learn about your opportunities and business benefits of going paperless.