We’ve all been there. A customer is on the line asking for information or a critical record while we’re frantically trying to locate the document in our filing system. Tensions mount as the customer becomes increasingly frustrated with every minute of delay. When this happens often, our entire business may be in jeopardy.
Whether you’re a sole proprietorship with a single hard drive or a small business with dozens of employees, the ability to find business information can be a critical competitive advantage. Yet, many information options place emphasis on storage and neglect or even forget that the reason we store data is to access it again when we need it.
Is Storage Prohibiting Access?
What’s the difference between storage and access? Typically, storage systems simply give you a place to upload information and perhaps share it with specific contacts (think Google Drive or OneNote). Unless you are naturally organized and diligent about following your own organizational structure, these systems quickly become file “dumping grounds” that are difficult to navigate.
If your focus is on secure access, you want a more intelligent information management system. Typically called Enterprise Content Management or ECM, these systems not only allow you to upload files, but they can also provide:
- The ability to add keywords (also called metadata or index values) that make it easy for you to find information later via search
- Encryption, user accounts, and other security safeguards
- Collaboration tools like version control, secure file sharing, and controlled access
A Real User Story
When GPC Consulting increased its employee base from twenty to eighty in order to expand into new markets, they quickly realized that the shared drive they’d been using to store files was slowing them down. Each employee had slightly different organizational practices and as the number of files and clients grew, it became almost impossible to locate information. They switched to a cloud-based ECM system, which gives them instant, secure access to any record they need through a simple keyword search.
In addition, their digital transformation project includes two automation technologies designed to:
- Eliminate the need for them to type information into business applications by automatically “scraping” the data from documents as they’re scanned and;
- Route records through business processes automatically to speed processing.
The project streamlines access to information while also saving the company about $40,000 annually. Staff Accountant, Stefanie Evans explains, “It is great to have access to documents anywhere we go, especially with multiple job sites. …it allows me to get back to the job I really need to do.”
Choosing the Best System for your Business
If your information storage practices are limiting your ability to find the information you need when you need it, look for an information management system with the following capabilities:
- Secure storage with instant access via keyword search, improving efficiency across your business
- Options for either cloud-based or on-site storage, so you can choose which suits you best
- Records Retention settings that automatically prevent sensitive documents from being deleted, protecting you from accidental deletion of critical information
- Business process automation to route documents through business processes
- Forms processing that extracts data from documents as they’re being scanned improving information accuracy and saving employees time previously spent hand-keying data
Christina Robbins is Director of Strategic Communications at Digitech Systems LLC with more than twenty years of information management marketing leadership experience. Digitech Systems enables businesses of any size to more effectively and securely manage, retrieve and store information of any kind using either PaperVision Enterprise content management (ECM) software or the world’s most trusted cloud-based ECM service, ImageSilo.
© YFS Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Copying prohibited. All material is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this material is prohibited. Sharing of this material under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International terms, listed here, is permitted.