Frequent errors made by companies when implementing a document management system

The “paperless office” is still a utopian concept for some companies. Even after four decades since Business Week launched this revolutionary idea, paper documents continue to “rule the world’. Reducing the number of piling files is still possible, if you make the right choices even when you first start scanning paper documents.

The fact that it’s not possible yet to completely eliminate paper is an indisputable truth and most companies know they still have to deal with laws and regulations, especially it it’s precisely established that you have to keep the “original” document. Although you can’t completely eliminate paper, reducing the amount of paper documents is a tangible goal. Despite the accelerated computerization of business processes and the increased penetration rate of electronic document management systems in the field, organizations are much more aware that the paper volume they have to manage is not decreasing proportionally with the investment value and the efforts made. In some cases, the paper volume is even higher.

Frequent errors

The main cause of this issue is represented by the inefficiency (and/or lack) of a document management strategy within an organization. This inefficiency is caused even by the first level, the scanning process of documents. Often considered as simple process, that doesn’t require much attention, companies don’t bother to make investment in it.

Numerous companies that implement a document management system neglect the document scanning, which is supposed to be covered by hardware, and they don’t focus on strategies and general objectives. Without focusing on the achievement of direct results, clear results, the document management strategy is not helping much. Objectives such as methodologies compliance, easy access to information, the possibility of sharing documents are important, but if all this can’t be transposed in practical terms, such as cost savings and quantifiable profits, the success of all business projects is compromised.

If you want to have a solid, reliable and most of all efficient document management system, you need to start with the scanning process, by establishing clear rules and policies, in accordance with the document management strategy.

Therefore, one of the first rules that should be implemented, but is often ignored, is that not any document must automatically be scanned. Specialists say that almost 50% of the content scanned in the average company represents unnecessary information. The volume of uncategorized documents that enter in a company’s system is quite large. This leads to an increased volume of stored data, the corresponding costs and an increased time spent identifying information that is truly necessary and/or important. The reason why this situation occurs frequently is very simple: the employees who handle the documents’ scanning don’t revise everything to separate useful data from unnecessary documents.

Another factor that contributes significantly to reduce the scanning process’ efficiency are the errors occurred during the indexing process. Whether it’s made manually or automated, the indexing must be made before the electronic document is stored into the system or before it enters the document flow. Indexing creates essential metadata which allow users to identify, track and access a document fast.

These are just two issues that, once ignored, might generate real problems, by affecting the decision making process because the access to relevant information is blocked.

Investments, a necessary cost

Another reason of the inefficiency of the scanning process is that old or outdated hardware equipment is used to convert document into electronic files. Making savings by using old equipment or buying the cheapest scanning devices on the market has a direct impact. For example, in an organization that has to deal with a large document flow on daily basis, using slow equipment creates gaps in the employees’ productivity.

Choosing the cheapest equipment also limits the possibilities of using new technologies provided by proper document management systems. Most of them have features and tools that can improve considerably the overall performance. However, to take advantage of these features, a company should make investments, if good performance is truly the end-goal.

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