Once you’ve determined that electronic document management software is something that can benefit your business, you need to start thinking carefully about how to introduce and integrate this technology into your office without causing major disruption. Transforming your paper-based office into a clutter-free paperless one will take some work, but you can make digital document management a reality in your business with proper planning while reaping the productivity and document-security benefits that come with it.
The first step of the planning process begins by thinking about how you manage your documents today. Make a list of all the different types of paper documents that flow through your office, including invoices, receipts, business correspondence, contracts and other legal documents. Also make a list of common digital documents used in your business, including spreadsheets, image files and PDFs.
Identify the procedures and processes that govern the handling of each type of document in your office. Work with your office staff to identify exactly how documents are handled, used, stored and managed under current standards and procedures. Understanding how you currently manage documents lets you identify software packages that best match your current paper-based system. You should also work with your staff to identify bottlenecks and other inefficiencies currently affecting productivity. The transition to a paperless office is an ideal time to update and improve on office procedures and document workflows.
After you’ve developed a deep understanding of document workflow in your business, it’s time to begin researching software. This is an important step and requires some time to complete. Study all the best DMS systems to identify the programs that deliver all the scanning, storage and organizational tools you need to handle every stage of the process as carried out in your office. Pay special attention to the customer support and training services available with each software product. Depending on your office staff, integrating new technology into your business may require substantial employee training. Many companies offer terrific training materials and programs to help get your staff up to speed quickly. Don’t neglect this area when evaluating software packages.
Once you’ve narrowed down the document management solutions to the one that best fits your needs, prepare a detailed plan for introducing the software into your office. Utilize the implementation guides, training programs and other support services available to you through the software provider to chart an implementation and training schedule. Decide whether you want to focus substantial resources on scanning existing documents into the system from the beginning or if you want to delay this task until the software is fully integrated into your office’s daily work processes. You may also decide to use a document scanning service to handle existing documents so that your staff can focus on day-to-day document management.
The final step is to purchase the software and implement it in your business. With careful preliminary planning, good communication with your office staff and a little hard work, it won’t be long before your business reaps the benefits of a paperless workflow.
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