Technology is the foundation for process improvement and increased accuracy and efficiency in most organizations today. Document management is one area in which the use of technology is quickly becoming a requirement. It is used in areas such as indexing, scanning documents, providing access to virtual documents, and more. Unless it is a part of a company's core business, implementing a document management solution that takes advantage of technology should be outsourced. For example, many organizations set up prep and scan onsite without understanding all the costs involved.
But a document management company should provide much more than just secure business records storage, document shredding, and offsite data storage. It must also offer the latest technology to ensure that a company can gain instant access to business-critical information. This includes enabling clients to utilize the Web to securely view inventory, create reports and handle ordering.
Utilizing Virtual File Delivery
Virtual file delivery or scan-on-demand is a service that is becoming more readily available. Even if you are not using it today, a scan-on-demand solution should be required of the vendor managing your documents. It is important though that scan-on-demand doesn't simply involve the emailing of documents. Email isn't always secure and leads to overburdened mail exchange servers. Instead, the files should be made available using a secure Web browser in a hosted environment. You can then access images at any time from any authorized Internet connection.
Turning to Software-as-a-Service to Go Paperless
Many organizations have also progressed from managing documents using technology to using technology to manage the content of the documents. OCR and data extraction methods have advanced a great deal over the last few years. Departments have the ability to implement sophisticated workflow solutions without putting a burden on their infrastructure. This is increasingly accomplished by utilizing a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution.
The SaaS provider offers a much lower total cost because of greatly reduced personnel requirements. The economies of scale and specialization of the SaaS provider mean that operating costs are lower, and these savings are passed on to the customer. Out-of-pocket startup costs are minor and a small fraction of the capital expense for an in-house solution. A SaaS solution has no hardware or software to purchase, no facilities charges and typically no ancillary upgrade fees.
Virtually the entire cost with a SaaS solution is periodic subscription fees. Fees only grow if there is adoption, tying costs to realized benefits and giving a lower risk profile. Subscription fees can be allocated for department-level cost management. Subscription fees typically include all upgrades and enhancements, which are provisioned from the service provider requiring no activity from the enterprise. Additional infrastructure for security, redundancy, and monitoring and reporting are not required.
While every department and company cannot go paperless, they can certainly take advantage of technology to make document management more accurate and efficient. That's why it's so important to find a provider that values technology as well and continues to find new ways to enable you to manage your information more efficiently.