Storing documents in a physical filing cabinet is like attempting to index and file away the very air we breathe—what we attempt to track will likely be rendered unfindable.
If that seems like a stretch, it isn’t: The average employee spends 30-40% of his or her time looking for information locked in email and filing cabinets (1). Sometimes this information is found, and sometimes it isn’t. But these are only a few of the reasons companies in accounting, construction, insurance, healthcare, and manufacturing are going paperless through document management software (DMS) at unprecedented rates.
Although DMS marketers have become experts at describing the tangible benefits of the software’s features—features that enable third-party, industry-specific software integration, overthrow operating costs, reduce lengthy document turnaround times, de-clutter offices, and resolve broken project workflows, many of the software’s intangible benefits remain unexplained. Unlike the tangible benefits of DMS, the following intangible benefits aren’t adequately measured by the balance sheet’s bottom line, but they may become the reason DMS saves the world’s paper-dependent workforce.
Those who attended the eFileCabinet Edge User Conference in 2015 noted that use of document management software had one particularly salient yet intangible benefit, and that benefit was freedom. In a very real and impactful sense, relying on paper to complete the business process through actions like faxing, storing, and sifting through information can be likened to manual labor. Although manual labor and white collar office environments are perceived to be at opposites of the workplace continuum, paper is what blurs the line between the conveniences of the corporate world and the physical exertion of blue collar, manual-labor intensive environments. However, we are only as free at work as the processes we use to conduct business allow us to be, and reliance on paper impinges this freedom, whereas document management software can enable it.
Of all the intangible benefits of document management mentioned in this article, time provides the most resources. And procrastination is not the thief of time as Edward Young put it—broken focus is. Although the number of interruptions a worker faces each day hinges upon the industry he or she works in and where he or she sits in the office, the breaks in concentration caused by relying on paper impose many setbacks: the time spent walking to the fax machine and printer, the time spent searching for lost documents, the time that can’t be recaptured.
What’s more, these breaks in concentration are frequently viewed as insurmountable issues that are ‘just part of work,’ but you needn’t so readily succumb to these interruptions with the right technology. Even with today’s emphasis on productivity, cutthroat competition, and innovation, workplace interruptions are as commonplace as they are hindrances to the advancement of the economy as a whole. In a world flooded by noise, employees are increasingly deprived of the concentration they need to succeed in the workplace, earn raises, win promotions, and make a positive difference.
Not only can document management software eliminate these interruptions through software integration (such as integration to digital signature solutions, which eliminate the need to print anything, and web sharing portal integration, which eliminates the need for the fax machine) the elimination of these interruptions gives workers the ability to work more productively and with the unfaltering concentration that’s conducive to employees’ wellness. Compound these factors with the myriad distractions we face outside the office (advertisements, personal phone calls, bills, and telemarketers calling at dinner) the interruptions in life, at their most difficult, can begin to feel as if they’re distracting you from the very purpose you were born to fulfill inside the office and out.
Although convenience has saturated the consumer-tech market, many remain unaware that enterprise software has reached a parallel level of convenience. However, DMS is positioned to reshape this understanding of convenience in the enterprise, and for myriad reasons:
Accessing any file from any place there is an internet connection is increasingly important in a number of occupations (and especially important for traveling salesman, real estate agents, and constructions workers). DMS facilitates this accessibility and convenience through its mobile, online, and mac-compatible offerings, all of which offer improved customer/client service and the ability to work responsively.
The demand for peace of mind is on the rise as security breaches, information leaks, and other information catastrophes made plenty of headlines in 2015. However, most of these breaches were the result of poor internal information management, and there’s plenty organizations can do to prevent these breaches.
Although the insurance industry has already (and deservingly) made a lot of money from ensuring peace of mind, members of the insurance profession are discovering, through document management software, how they can ensure the same peace of mind in their offices that they do for their customers; all through DMS.
Some of the peace of mind facilitators in DMS are its secure web sharing portals designed to prevent data breaches, sophisticated data backup, secure servers, 256-AES bank-grade encryption, and data storage with multiple artificial and physical points of presence, to name just a few. As far as internal information breaches are concerned, the role-based user permissions of document management software keep employees from accessing certain information at the account administrator’s discretion.
A crucial part of professional growth involves encouragement and positive feedback. When documents are lost, misplaced, and unutilized, it becomes difficult to praise the good work of the person who created it. Just as many works of art have been lost throughout history, many works of art are lost in the muck of paper dependent processes—and we cannot praise a person for his or her work if we know not where it is placed. The metadata of document management software makes information far more retrievable and securely stored, too.
Additionally, improved workflow is both a feature and byproduct of document management software. As a byproduct, workflow ensures quick and accurate task completion; as a feature, it ensures good work can be traced to the right employees, and, therefore, that praise and blame are delegated fairly.