Summary: From digitizing and automating the storage and disposal of documents to offering centralized access to data which allows for greater collaboration among business units and better service delivery, a document management software solution is very helpful for organizations.
In many organizations, document and information management is still done using traditional practices, which does not involve digitization or automation. Resources have to be dedicated to storing and retrieving documents, and costs have to be incurred in paper and storage. In an age when digitization and automation are revolutionizing businesses, these paper and ink approaches leave organizations far behind their competitors. With automation and digitization, service delivery, both internal and external, is enhanced, and organizations can make their business processes more efficient and productive. This post here lists some ways how a document management software solution helps organizations but we will attempt to extend the discussion and list more ways how this solution is helpful for organizations.
One of the primary benefits of using a document management software solution is that it digitizes the whole function, which brings with itself several benefits. With digitization, there is greater security for documents, and storage costs are much lesser. Also, once digitization starts with one process, it expands to others, and whole processes can be digitized. Indeed, some of the functions and processes which could not be digitized since they involve paper-based tasks can also be digitized because the software. Take the example of procurement. In procurement, if invoices and bills are still collected in paper since there is no scope for digitizing them, this can now be remedied and the whole process be digitized since you now have a way to digitally receive and store documents securely. Also, once you digitize documents, you can introduce automation into the process, which we will see below.
Close on digitization is the benefit of automation. Many of the document management tasks can be automated using the software. Tasks like storage, retrieval, and disposal can be automated. Communication and logs, which are essential for audits, which are necessary for keeping tings above board, are also automated. This consistent, automated communication also helps with ensuring that no untoward actions take place. Say you work in a construction firm and need to store a few documents that contain plans for a building that you have designed. If you store them in folders that are public, you will never know who has accessed them, and you run the risk of the plans altered by a malevolent co-worker. However, if you store the same using a document management software solution, you will know the moment someone has accessed the document since the software gives you the scope to automatically be notified upon any action on the document. This is much more secure and flexible.
Document management solutions can be much more than simple storage solutions. With the right integrations and add on solutions, the document management solution can be turned into an end to end collaboration tool. Take banking for example. Say the bank has a process where an application for a loan has to move across different desks before it can be sanctioned. Initially, the application has to be prepared by the applicant, which will then be submitted to the bank’s representative, who has to add his remarks before submitting it in the branch. The officer or manager in the branch will go through the application, add their remarks, and send it across to the regional or central bank to gain approval. Once the representative in the central bank goes through the application and finalizes his/her decision, the loan will then be sanctioned.
Imagine this process using paper-based applications. Just imagine the time involved in moving the paper from desk to desk, not to mention the inconvenience to all the stakeholders involved if some part of the process is missing, and the document has to be sent back for the same. Instead of this huge wastage of time and effort, imagine the same process being carried out using a document management solution integrated with the bank’s application. The document can be moved from one step to another digitally, and even if some part is missing, sending it back and getting it corrected is a simple matter. Also, as soon as it moves from one step to another, the pertinent stakeholder is alerted, which greatly improves the speed at which the process is carried out. Also, since the software sends reminders and notifications, delays and bottlenecks can be easily countered.
Document management software is a great candidate for integration with other solutions, since all business processes have their own document management requirements. Human resource management professionals need to store documents containing personnel data, CRM professionals need to store and share information regarding client needs, products, and so on. Same is the case with other processes like operations, administration, and so on. If a business productivity solution is being used to manage any of these processes, a DMS can be easily integrated to satisfy the document management needs of that process. One useful solution to integrate with the DMS is an online signature software solution. In the case of banking or insurance, where documents need signatures, all of this can be managed digitally instead of the wet signature, which would involve more time and effort. Therefore, integrations help with productivity, not to mention the convenience with which business is done.
With a document management solution, access to documents is centralized and controlled. This means that you can open access to the documents to all those you need to, while controlling the access through a centralized administrator. All the stakeholders in the process are listed so that accountability is fixed, and the process is standardized. Also, document access can be controlled by the level in the hierarchy, meaning that senior managers can access more documents and view more information compared to a junior manager. This whole system is flexible, and can be customized as per the needs of the organization.
Online and mobile support
With advancements in business technology needing better and more consistent access to information, document management solutions also have evolved to support the same. An online document management software solution is helpful in accessing and storing/retrieving documents from multiple locations, which is useful in the previous example of a bank. The loan document can be uploaded by a client, and can be run through the steps online, with all the stakeholders being kept appraised of the status of the document at all times.
The mobile solution can be useful in cases where access to information is needed on the go. Say one of your sales rep is on a client visit, in which there was an opportunity for up-selling, and the client wanted some additional information. If you can immediately present that information, you have the option to close the deal right there. This can be possible with a native mobile solution, which is part of the offering by many vendors.
Better service delivery
One aspect of business that not many organizations focus on is on service delivery, especially, internal service delivery. There is barely any collaboration among business units, and when one needs some service from the other, it is not delivered in an effective way. Information is one of the key components of this service delivery, and a document management solution can be really helpful in making this aspect efficient and effective. With a centralized DMS solution, you have the scope to automate information-sharing, and therefore improve service delivery.
Retention and disposal schedules
With the DMS, you can automate retention and disposal of documents. Say you have documents containing regulatory information which needs to be retained, or task-specific data that can be disposed of after a certain period. You can automate both tasks with the solution.
An online document management software solution is a great value addition to any business regardless of its size. Indeed, it is one of the best practices that small and medium businesses can adopt from the start so at to gain that much edge over their competitors. It also adds flexibility to business operations and allows businesses to seek newer and better ways of managing tasks and processes. With the online solution, businesses can stay away with the traditional issues with software like high costs, lack of flexibility, and maintenance and hosting costs. The online solution is ready for deployment, and is intuitive enough for everyone to use.