It makes good business sense to take advantage of tactics for improving efficiency and productivity, especially when they apply broadly, instead of only to a department or project team.
Document management offers many efficiency gains, and because these systems are tightly integrated with the rest of your IT infrastructure, they have the potential to save time across your company.
Here are five ideas for saving valuable time with today’s document management systems:
- Searching for documents: The average employee wastes 3.5 hours every week searching for documents that they ultimately fail to find, according to research by the IDC. With digital document management, time spent searching drops to seconds. Especially if your system offers powerful, automated indexing, you don’t need to worry about losing documents or remember how to find them again.
- Increasing the speed of business processes: Whether you’re routing an invoice for approval, processing applications or managing revisions to a price book, these different projects require sequential or simultaneous collaboration on documents and then a way to route the final document for approval across departments. And managing these approvals, according to the IDC, takes the average employee 4.3 hours every week. With document management and automated workflows, that time can be reduced significantly as the process owners see immediately where documents are held up and can take action accordingly.
- Automating workflows: Running paperwork back and forth takes time and introduces the potential for errors. A digital workflow, however, allows you to combine electronic documents and workflow rules that automate the process. For example, you could create a rule that ensures any invoice over $5,000 is automatically routed to a senior employee, and any invoice for less than that goes to another employee for approval. The result is fewer errors and greater transparency, and better process efficiency.
- Reducing busywork: People spend lots of unproductive time simply reformatting documents. The average employee spends 2.4 hours every week moving documents from one format to another, according to IDC, and 3.8 hours converting from multiple formats into one document format. Digital document management helps you save that time by automatically standardizing the document formatting according to your preferences. For example, you could elect to have all documents automatically converted to PDFs, or keep documents in their original file types (Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, emails). It depends on how you plan to use these documents. If the content is likely to require additional editing, you might want to keep the original file format. If you want a stable record, you’d typically convert it to a PDF and distribute the information that way.
- Improving cross department collaboration: Integrating all of your document types, including emails and paper, makes it easier for employees to work together on projects and share information. If you’re at an engineering company, for example, your proposals might include a Word document, a CAD drawing and a spreadsheet. Before submitting a proposal to the customer, you could “staple” these documents together and send them to different departments for review. Your document management system will make it possible for team members to view the CAD file even if they don’t have access to a CAD application.
Those are just a handful of the ways your organization can save time by applying document management to common tasks and business processes. A document management system also makes disaster recovery far more efficient, while providing an audit trail for better financial compliance and security. And because document management performs best when integrated throughout your company and IT infrastructure, the potential benefits are widespread.
Editor's note: This post has been updated for accuracy and new content has been added.