Content chaos is real. Too much paper and too little insights, poor governance and compliance, haphazard process control, and basically clutter that stalls your schedule, priorities, and company goals. Thankfully, we have modern technology and intelligent automation to reinvent the way work gets done in the office. Let’s firstly see why depending less on paper is advantageous for growing businesses:
- Less Clutter: we’ve already mentioned this. The worst thing about paper is that it piles up, fast! Managers need to have a great deal of clarity to make timely decisions and propel business forward. When you spend enough time sorting, filing, retrieving, and searching through a truckload of paper, there is ample chance of you straying from your most important goals. Digital files, on the other hand, move processes, workflows, and business in the right direction because there are fewer instances of you missing or finding it hard to search for a digital folder — just type in the appropriate keywords to track down the required files from a central database. This also means a clean, clutter-free office.
- Ubiquitous Digital Files: have you ever felt like your entire work or project came to a halt because you didn’t have the right data or documents in hand? Paper does not travel like digital files do. Not being able to pay vendors or fulfill a customer order because of one missing detail could certainly set your company back a few steps in delivering on vendor or customer expectations, not to mention, have you miss out on opportunities for growth and more business. On the other hand, when you go digital, you can create, share, edit, organize, view, and search for documents from anywhere.
- Saves Time & Space: time and space constraints often impede businesses from growing, and with paper, you would be knowingly reducing your chances to accelerate business because you are unable to either access, retrieve, or organize paper documents that fill up your workspace. Think about it — a customer expresses grievance of some sort and you need to pull up his/her file instantly for reference; will you be searching for the file at that point or attending & resolving the issue at hand? On a fundamental level, paper not only takes up an entire office but slows down customer service, and consequently, business as a whole. The opposite holds true for digital documents.
- Lean Management: Lean is in! Lean is one of the factors that is going to differentiate you from your competitors. In the age of digital transformation, if your mission critical operations are not optimized for efficiency & productivity, you will be paying not just in terms of the competition but also in recurring operating costs. Paper takes up the bulk of an organization’s back-office costs — missing paperwork, reworks, duplicate documentations, etc. all add to the escalating costs of handling and processing paper based, document-driven processes. Digital files are usually secured in a central repository, from which organizations can access, edit, and share paperwork. But most importantly, digital files are seldom lost. Duplicate paperwork can be easily detected by accessing the document logs using keywords and deleting duplicate files. Even when it comes to rework due to, say, incorrect data entry, digital files can be easily manipulated and corrected or deleted, without having to worry about wastage of any sort.
- No Data or Functional Silos: one of the biggest constraints paper brings to businesses is the disconnect between different functional elements within a company due to the siloed build-up of data. Because of lack of a central management system to control the inflows and outflows of business data, there is occasion for the development of data silos that obstruct a coordinated management of business.
As an example, a customer order may have long been in the pipeline and waiting to be processed, but the inventory department may have no knowledge of it and would not have stocked up adequately, to fulfill the order. This is because paper takes time to travel between departments, delaying communication between them.
Digital documents can be communicated across the organization in minutes, enabling different departments to stay connected at all times and work in tandem to say, process orders and continue business.
Digital documents also enable the initiation of document process automation systems to implement labor-intensive document-based processes. With a document process automation system in place, managing vendors and customers on a common platform is easy, efficient, and fast. As soon as an order is entered into the system, it is automatically processed by an intelligent process automation platform and exported to an ERP system integrated with the platform.
- Security & Audit: keeping sensitive paperwork safe is important for any company. Turning paper files digital increases the level of security for business documents and also presents a ready audit trail of business activity. Since there are no instances of lost paperwork or missing business activity when everything is recorded online, companies are better equipped to follow regulatory and compliance standards.
4 Tools to Digitize Paper Documents and Business Processes
Document Scanner: document processing and management begins with proper digitization of paper documents, and a scanner achieves this. A document scanner is an important component of document management and integral to the digitization efforts as well as digitalization of business processes. A good understanding of scanning basics will give you an idea of what types of scanners will suit your business requirements.
Accounts Payable & Sales Order Process Automation: accounts payable and accounts receivable operations involve a lot of paperwork. And the complexities are multiplied by the continuous inflows and outflows of transaction documents between you and your vendors, customers, and other external stakeholders. A paper trail is inconclusive, error-prone, and introduces latency in business operations. A digital document, on the other hand, can be immediately uploaded into an intelligent process automation workflow to process invoices and sales orders automatically. This saves companies a lot on paperwork and rework, like in the case of incorrect data entry.
Digital Signatures: digital signatures eliminate the need to fax, or print, mail, sign, and then mail back the signed copy to the concerned recipient. As per the ‘Personal Information Protection & Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)’ in Canada, and the ‘U.S. Electronic Signatures in Global & National Commerce (ESIGN)’ and the ‘Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA)’ in the United States, among other globally enacted regulations, digital signatures are legally binding. There is little fuss around getting approvals or giving the go-ahead when you use digital signatures. Digital signatures also ensure accelerated business outcomes because of the time and costs saved in attesting important deals and paperwork.
Document Management System (DMS): a document management system is your rolodex in keeping track of and filing digital documents. Automatic sorting, filing, categorization, and classification of documents ensures businesses have instant access to files from anywhere, and at any time. Document sharing and editing are other important features of advanced DMSs that encourage remote working and increase democratization of business information. Integration of AP/AR automation software with a DMS platform creates an end-to-end workflow chain for touchless document processing.
Begin your paperless office journey with intelligent data capture. Contact Artsyl for a detailed product demo.