April 30, 2013 by Mitch Taube Categories: Document Management, Office Automation

Organizations seeking improved control, efficiency and profitability of their paper-based processes often have their documents scanned and utilize document management software for centralized storage, access, search and retrieval. While this can have great value, even more value can be realized from processing your active documents with workflow automation and document management software.

Benefits for Active Documents

Active documents are those accessed by your staff on a regular basis and many times are part of a business process in which actions have to be taken on them. Examples include invoices, employee files and contracts. In many cases, these documents often need to be accessed and processed by multiple parties in a short period of time. Once they are processed, they need to be stored but still be easily and quickly accessible.

Document management software and workflow automation control an active document’s processing lifecycle, including:

  • Governance of who has access to the document
  • Ensuring that all steps required for its processing are completed
  • Identification of other documents needed to complete processing and whether they are included or missing (e.g. related documents and correspondence)
  • Visibility of where each document is in its processing lifecycle to identify bottlenecks

This ensures that each document gets processed thoroughly, efficiently and in a timely manner, leading to accelerated decision making, improved customer responsiveness and reduced costs. Document management software offers the added benefit of giving management visibility into workflows so efficiency can be measured and bottlenecks resolved. Once the document’s processing is complete, it can be routed to archival storage but still be easily and quickly accessible.

Benefits for Archived Documents

Archived documents are those that your staff does not use on a regular basis but may need to be accessed at a moment’s notice as part of an inquiry, audit or lawsuit. Archived documents include former employee files, proof of delivery documents and old contracts.

Once a document has transitioned away from being active, storage in document management software enables secure and remote access from any web browser or mobile device, instead of being trapped in a filing cabinet (with all of the associated real estate costs). Whether it’s to mitigate risk or for research, information retrieval time is shortened from days to seconds.

Document management also ensures retention schedules are followed for each and every document so they are kept long enough and disposed of properly according to regulatory guidelines. This automates what used to be a manual, error-prone and often overlooked process—and one that is required by law for many documents.

How to Make It Happen

Whether active or archived, document management software is the ideal way to manage active workflows and archival storage because of its many capabilities. The option of cloud document management also makes all of this possible without making any capital expenditures, which has given many small and mid-sized organizations an opportunity to realize the efficiency and profitability gains once only affordable to larger organizations.