June 4, 2013 by Mitch Taube Categories: Document Management, Office Automation

Many organizations initially deploy document management software as a repository after scanning a backfile of documents to recover space, eliminating costly real estate taken up by filing cabinets and boxes. While this can generate demonstrable cost savings, even deeper efficiency gains, cost reductions and ROI can be achieved when document management is used in conjunction with workflow automation software, electronic forms (e-forms) and mobile devices—especially now that these functions are more affordable than ever before for organizations of all sizes.

Recent Affordability

Until recently, document management and office automation software was only possible for the largest of organizations because of the enormous capital investment required and expensive annual maintenance costs. Today, companies like FileBound have developed robust document management and workflow software that costs a fraction of previous generation solutions, while offering cloud-based options that are even more cost-effective as a predictable monthly expense vs. capital outlay. This allows small and mid-sized organizations to streamline their business processes from one department to the next, using the same system, so they can compete with larger rivals.

Workflow Automation Software

Defined as automating a manual process with electronic routing of documents for actions to be taken, workflow automation software can add incredible value to a document management system because it streamlines cumbersome business processes. Invoices that once took two weeks to process can take two hours if approvals are needed or two minutes if not. HR on-boarding can also be streamlined, while also making sure you receive required documentation, such as an I-9 for every new employee, and ensuring the documents are immediately accessible during an employment verification audit. As a result, these processes can be completed more accurately, in less time and with less labor involved.

E-Forms Instead of Paper

E-forms further streamline business processes by allowing information to be captured electronically where it originates, eliminating the need to complete paper forms and lowering processing times. For instance, organizations with mobile sales representatives who sign up new customers in the field can have them place their order electronically with a digital signature so paper orders never have to be couriered or overnighted to central processing, which can delay cash flow. Information captured from e-forms can also automatically feed other line-of-business software to eliminate manual data entry and minimize errors.

Mobile Capability

In addition to capturing information via e-forms, productivity can be further enhanced when mobile employees can access and process documents from the document management software directly on their smartphones or tablets—without having to wait until they’re back at their desk, home or hotel room.

Cross-Departmental Roll-Out

Once a document management system is in place, it can be leveraged for dramatic productivity gains in other departments for a modest, incremental cost. For example, once accounts payable is automated, HR can use the same software to automate their processes —though with separate and secure access rights. Sales, operations, engineering, and any other department can then rapidly adopt the system because it’s already in place. This eliminates information silos and speeds transactions and issue resolution.

Office Automation Achieved

Especially when using cloud-based document management software, every department can be automated for a fraction of what it used to cost. This helps take both productivity and profitability to the next level, which creates competitive advantage for those savvy enough to recognize its benefits.