Going Paperless Isn’t Enough
Making the transition from paper documents to electronic document storage is an important first step in streamlining operations and saving resources. eFiling is a great place to start since it helps satisfy the endless demand for greater online access. eFiling alone, however, typically falls short of expectations and does not achieve one of the most pressing goals of most organizations: only maintaining electronic documents means the burden of paper filing is still necessary.
Here’s why paperless office solutions:
If your organization decides to switch to an EDMS, it’s only natural to think that the department will soon stop maintaining paper. Many organizations find out shortly after this transition that their so-called document management system simply lacks the functionality required to meet the processing needs of the organization. Most of the time, they end up storing the documents electronically, but continuing the process and workflow on paper. This is because most document management systems offer only a simple document storage and retrieval system with file share links. Once they’re confronted with process steps that require rules-based routing, most organizations just end up printing, processing, and maintaining a dual paper file.
The benefits of going with an EFiling Solution are numerous but pairing it with a robust Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) offers a completely different set of solutions and allows for paperless to have document management and workflow optimization. Progressive organizations use advanced document management and workflow paperless office solutions to achieve a true digital management environment.
Here’s a few key features to consider when evaluating a document management solution (Paperless office solutions) for your organization
Presentation and Preservation of the Electronic File – An intuitive electronic file dramatically increases buy-in from key employees and creates a better-than-paper experience with features such as:
Intuitive filing structure: Files are organized and managed using
Revision Control: The system keeps and maintains prior revisions, preserving the original document despite edits and not being greatly affected from mark-ups and changes
Document History: All activity associated with a document should be logged and easily accessible, including workflow transaction history, who viewed/edited/printed/annotated/updated/signed, etc.
Redaction: Confidential information must be redacted to comply with guidelines for many organizations and a method for redactions without having to print off digital files or photocopy paper ones, redact, and then scan back in. An automated method of this can greatly reduce the burden for staff.
Document Retention: The system automatically purges documents according to your organization’s document retention and disposal schedule.
Security: The obvious hacker and virus aside, you also need security so that certain people have the rights within your organization to see files, i.e. sealed, confidential, and public.
Full Text Search: Searching document content across the entire filing system provides high value for both management and staff. The ability to search across multiple departments is also a major benefit.
Mobile Device Support: since the physical documents no longer exist, your organization must consider how you will have access to the electronic files using tablets, smart phones, or some other device (e.g, kiosks)
Workflows – Workflow is the single most significant component to a digital document flow management environment because of the process efficiencies it creates. All organizations have defined steps that govern how documents are processed. Workflow allows for automated routing and processing of electronic documents and data. Consider these key workflow features:
A Rules Engine: With a simple interface, a rules engine is crucial to manage step-by-step routing rules. Authorized personal should be able to maintain these rules and reduce IT dependency.
Electronic Form Designer: A forms designer and management tool to convert paper forms into electronic forms
Electronic Signature and Markups: Electronic Signature and markups allow a user to markup and edit a document before signing it. Consider your workflow and support for both top and bottom line text and proxy signing for authorized users.
Electronic Notifications of parties: This reduces significant postage and improves processing speeds.
Electronic Certification: This improves service and integrity without having to print and physically seal documents. The delivery should include an authentication site for verifying document authenticity, an audit trail of recipient access, and a method to expire documents.
Packet Preparation: organize a group of files with a coversheet according to specific requirements set forth by your company’s standards.
Interface: A standard interface for connecting and exchanging information with your CMS
Organizations are adopting eFiling at a much greater rate to improve customer service and increase employee productivity. Prior to making eFiling mandatory, every organization needs to carefully consider the capabilities of their document management and workflow platform to see if it is going to meet their requirements for creating a truly digital workflow management environment. Equally important is to have someone sit down and map out your manual-based processes to the new electronic workflow.
Finally, the new solution should accommodate the unique needs of your organization.
Our Document Management Analyst, Justin King, works with organizations to map out their needs for Electronic Document Management (Paperless Office Solutions). If you would like to speak with him about how you can ensure you are getting the right system, contact him here.
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