Traditions are something we hold dear. But in the case of technology in business, they tend to weigh us down. In the past few years alone, technology has advanced at an unbelievable rate. Companies are no longer tethered to one particular office building, in one specific city. Technology has made it possible for businesses to exist anywhere; in home offices, on the road, in cafes, or even in cyber space.
This incredible change from placeholder to mobile operation has transformed the way we take care of and store our files. Thankfully, the physicality of filing is a tradition businesses can now move away from.
Software Advice a document management review firm conducted a study and survey targeted at comparing traditional, paper-filing offices with modern offices that have a digital filing system in place. We’ll use that study as a guide to help determine how much time a business can save by investing in document management.
How Paper Makes Us LESS Productive
Imagine a library that not only has a bar-code system, but also a digital copy of every single one of its items. If anyone misplaced the physical copy of something, one could simply look up its digital counterpart. This is what DMS offers business: the knowledge that your data is safe and easy to find.
According to Software Advice, traditional workers spend an average of 6 hours a week searching for paper documents. That is nearly an entire workday’s worth of hours! Which makes sense, because paper files have no tracking device. A traditional business relies on its employees to keep important documents in their proper place. But what if two of those pieces of paper got stuck together? What if a document was set down and forgotten, only to be tossed into the recycling? If everyone in your company has access to your filing cabinets, papers are bound to go missing. It’s only human.
With some document management software, searching for a file isn’t like an open-ended google search. You can locate a file from its title, author, date, last edit, frequency of use, keyword, and the list goes on. Having that ability at your fingertips is very powerful. Your searches become targeted and meaningful.
The Creation of Superfluous Reports
Creating paper reports out of paper documents might as well be a form of busy work. It’s time-consuming and may take up entire days of man-hours. Sounds a bit like the antithesis to productivity, doesn’t it?
According to the Software Advice survey, employees in paper-heavy offices spend an average of 1.6 hours per day creating reports from information that already exists within their own physical documents. About a whole day’s worth of time per week is spent transferring information over from paper to digital in the form of a report. A report-generating process such as this is tedious.
A document management system can keep files automatically updated. When you have a system that automatically updates files and reports, you’ll no longer have to worry about going back in and editing the information whenever there’s a change. Remembering to adjust a file every time a change is made can be crossed off your list.
You can even set your document management system to automatically generate reports at specific times or within certain intervals. This is a software that takes those humdrum tasks and does them for you. Because it knows you have more interesting things to do.
Analog Filing vs Digital Data Management
There are many offices that still use an actual filing system. Paper folders, old metal cabinets, the works! The kind that requires plenty of space, upkeep, and time to thoroughly and exhaustively explore. When employers allow workers to get set in their ways, they don’t want to convince them to do otherwise.
But just because something is traditional doesn’t mean it needs to be forever. A company needs to embrace change in order to grow. And few companies can prosper if they don’t keep up with the modern age. That means learning how to store their various forms of information in a way that is easily accessible, safe, and can be quickly updated. A company that takes a week searching for misplaced information won’t be impressing clients or customers anytime soon.
Just imagine how much space the absence of cumbersome filing cabinets, drawers, and shelves will allot you. You’ll not only acquire more room in your office, you’ll also gain more time to work on the issues that matter.
Any office would benefit from having a document management system. Thanks to Software Advice, we have proof in numbers and pie charts of its benefits. Productivity and time assessment soar when document management is present. We don’t need a survey to tell us that.
A version of this article was published as Paper Vs. Digital: A Document Management Study by Andrea Cochran on October 21, 2015.