First Steps When Digitizing

Wadih Pazos July 22, 2013

First steps when digitizing
Document Management
Blog
So many businesses, no matter their sector, are turning toward electronic workflow strategies to just make things simpler in the office. Companies won’t have to spend money each month on storage, reams of paper, cartridges of ink, printers, parts when they break, and numerous other expenses. Administrators will be free from the worries that sensitive records will be misplaced at the worst moment, thrown out by accident, or end up in the wrong hands and result in litigation. And further, workers will be able to streamline their efforts to ensure that their tasks are being completed quickly, efficiently, and with increased insight.

Many professionals would agree that it’s just foolish to stay with physical paper document management when there are so many good options for digitization out there. They provide ways to cut costs and wasted time wherever possible without sacrificing efficiency, allowing businesses to hop headfirst into the 21st century.

Documents will be available on a unified or cloud system. They will be safe from destruction and can be safeguarded behind encryptions, firewalls, and access codes only given to certain workers.

But many company leaders don’t exactly know where to start; they’re only certain that they want to move to digital document management. What’s the first step? To start things off on the right foot, administrators have to bide their time, take things step by step and follow the best practices of those who have successfully digitized before them.

Pick the right hard and software

The tools for digitization don’t just appear out of thin air – company leaders have to vet all possibilities and decide which are right for them.

Take scanners, for instance. You’re not going to be able to move anything to the computer without them, so this is probably a great place to start the process. The Tech Accountant suggested that administrators will want to pay attention to image quality, depending on what type of documents – text, graphics, images, etc. – are being uploaded. It’s often best to go with a good name and not skim on costs.

That sentiment also goes for the management program used. Plus, leaders must be comfortable using the solutions, as management tasks are not a one-time deal during the transition. These are programs they’re going to be opening to access their documents for some time, so it’s important to be confident that the platforms have everything the company needs.

Come up with a system

Administrators should think about drafting a plan for how digitization is going to occur, then inform all workers associated with the project so everyone is on the same page. For example, perhaps office and employee invoices should be the first things to be transferred onto the computer. After each page has been systematically moved over, one person or team could verify that they are saved and dispose of the papers properly. Then, documents referring to accounts payable can follow a similar process.

This way, not only is nothing skipped and thrown out by accident, but the company isn’t using space needlessly with duplicates. Again, though, it’s essential that everyone involved knows the plan.

Don’t forget to save

Many paperless document management solutions will autosave, but it’s important that administrators either have this feature enabled or ensure that it works after files are moved over to the computer. This is also valid as time goes on – after an edit is made to any file hosted on the system, workers have to make sure that it is permanently updated.

There’s nothing like moving all documents over to a digital setting, properly shredding the originals, and discovering there was an issue with even one file.

Wadih Pazos

Wadih founded PairSoft and PaperSave, and he currently advises non-profits on business process improvement and technology.

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