The move to a paperless workplace starts when we avoid creating paper in the first place. With more and more office documents in electronic format (Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, etc.) and the reliance on email for communication and distribution, there is often little reason to use paper. Invoices, reports, contracts, etc. can be emailed or shared on a network drive saving time, money and enabling easy back-up and off-site storage of your vital information. Even when paper does arrive it can be scanned to the appropriate network folder. With electronic files and scanners to capture paper there is no need to spend more on a document management system, right?
Well, there are some critical limitations on relying on your network folder directory to manage your documents successfully and in accordance with legal requirements. The first problem is centralization of information. While documents are stored generally stored on the network drive, some documents – and indeed the most up to date versions – may reside on someone’s local PC or laptop. Or, the required file may exist in several different email folders, taking up space on the email server while also being locked away from general access. As a central repository with multiple access points – even from mobile devices – a document management system makes it easy to ensure documents are easy to access and easy to store centrally.
Following from a failure to guarantee the documents (or at least the most up-to-date version) are in the central library, finding a document is generally harder without a document management system. A document stored in a Windows folder can only be found by searching on the file name. This is a problem as the Windows folder search is quite slow and, more importantly, you need to know the name of the file. If someone has used a different naming style it may prove very hard to find. Of course, you can search by navigating through the folders, but this too can become quite messy as many levels of sub-folders may be used. Content searches can work for some electronic documents but you still might be faced with a huge list of files that have nothing to do with what you are looking for (other than to share the same keyword somewhere within). And, what happens when the folders really start to fill up? A few thousand documents might be manageable, but how will you manage when the count gets into the tens of thousands? With a document management system, documents can be found by searching the index criteria that identify the documents for precision search results.
Another problem with storing to a network folder is managing security. There are various legal requirements governing the access to the documents, user activity audits and for managing document retention periods. Ensuring documents and folders are not accidentally re-named, moved or deleted can be a big challenge in a basic file directory. Document management systems like MaxxVault provide easy to configure security that is much more granular that a traditional folder tree. Since the default Windows security and auditing tools were never designed to cope with the increasingly stringent government requirements for managing records a document management system is a must.
But beyond making it easier to store and access documents from a secure central repository, document management systems bring many other benefits. Some of the other features that make life easier are:
- Automated indexing tools
- Automatic document filing to the correct folder after indexing
- Auditable document workflow
- Version controls and tracking (without filling folders with multiple copies)
- Linking related documents together for complete file access from any one document
- Electronic signatures
- E-Forms to eliminate even more paper.
While electronic documents stored to the file directory does help reduce paper and provides handy back-up ability, it is still prone to large inefficiencies. The problems with the Windows folder tree grow with the tree itself, making management, security and document retrieval harder. Don’t take any chances! MaxxDocs and MaxxVault are designed to capture, protect, share and manage your documents without and increase in complexity (or loss of efficiency) as volumes grow.
Contact Connectis for a MaxxVault demo or to size a DMS for your needs.
Paper and electronic documents are part of the fabric that connects people to business. Imagine the improvement you could see in your business if the documents and forms you use every day contained intelligence about where they needed to be routed and which systems needed the data they contained. What if you could automatically extract business information from paper documents as easily as from online forms? And what if you could find any document at any time no matter who was working on it while being assured that all of the information was secure from unauthorized access? In essence that’s what TeleForm and LiquidOffice (renamed Autonomy Process Automation) are all about. They’re intelligent because they work together.
TeleForm manages paper and faxed in documents and forms processing whereas Autonomy Process Automation (APA) processes eforms – electronic forms. The power comes to play when the two software products integrate together. Here’s what’s possible. TeleForm form, function and logic are defined in the Designer program, once completed all the business rules and look and feel can be exported to the APA Form Designer, this is only the start of the integration. Once the form is imported – it looks the same as it did inside TeleForm, all you’ve got to do now is drag a Submit action button to the form from the object palette – simple. Finally connect to the APA server through one of the drop downs and lastly publish the form and you’re ready to go. Your electronic forms supporting fillable HTML and PDF forms are immediately available. Once in the APA Console Manager you can define the routing from a list of existing users. This technology incorporates smart and configurable OCR properties, HTML and or PDF forms on steroids that include routing strategies based on forms logic. Both TeleForm and LiquidOffice have been around for years originally published by Cardiff, then purchased by Verity, next Autonomy and recently Autonomy was purchased for a paltry 12 billion by Hewlett Packard – they’ve recognized how important business process management and document processing really is to business.
There’s lots of applications for how this type of integration can be leveraged including automatic invoice processing, human resource on boarding, claims forms, expense forms, time sheets, vacation requests and plenty more where they came from. Connectis has designed dozens of forms for clients requiring forms capture with business rules. To build your intelligent document reach us at email@example.com 905.695.2200.
Routing and workflow are key components to adding value when working with documents; we’ll discuss Workflow in greater detail in a following article.
I think its about time a more affordable type of after hours service should be available as an alternative to the costly limited services offered by vendors. In a couple of days we’re putting together a competitive offering … Stay tuned.
Click for more information to review several whitepapers and success stories or give us a call at 905.695.2200.
Although most healthcare providers would like to adopt a digital document delivery system to manage PHI and other records, many obstacles remain for those with limited resources. The ability to access and transmit sensitive documents quickly from a single, secure database helps to ensure compliance with governmental regulations and, most importantly, translates into faster, better care for patients.
|$5,500,000 average cost per data breach|
|Up to $25,000 unknowingly violating HIPAA per breach|
|$240 average cost of healthcare breach / record|
|260,000,000 records of all types have been breached since 2005|
- US Department of Health & Human Services Health Information Privacy,
- Document Delivery & Managemet Survey, Healthcare IT News & Open Text, January 2012
- Ponemon Institute LLC, Sponsored by Symantec, “2011 Cost of Data Breach Study; Cost of a Data Breach,” March 2011
Document process automation either requires a visionary or considerable internal pain to get started … the moment documents arrive in your organization, the costs start to mount invisibly.? I suspect everybody already knows that, but most companies have not yet automated this part of their business.?
Automation like document processing usually gets off the ground when companies have a specific document they want to automate because of a pending event, business problem, cost exposure due to service level agreements with their clients. In our experience, forward thinking company’s often have a person empowered to review company processes (a visionary).?
With a fix all process type mandate, rarely do quick fixes get implemented quickly, as the review process alone can be time consuming.? Often the best solutions are implemented with a specific goal or project in mind.? I define best solution as one that fits the need with lots of room to expand at the right price from a team that understands the client requirement.
More to come soon?…
With the City of Toronto joining Seattle and Los Angeles this month in banning plastic bags, it is becoming apparent that the political will to force more environmentally sound practices on both business and consumers is getting stronger. The pressure may soon be on for organizations to dramatically reduce their environmental footprint. While this may seem daunting and expensive (buying solar panels, implement a waste water recycling system, changing light-fixtures and bulbs) it can be accomplished quite easily using established technology designed to improve your business throughput and deliver real cost savings. So, with Reduce, Reuse and Recycle in mind, let’s look at how a document management system can<span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>reduce</span>your environmental impact, save money – and free up some paper for all those new paper bags.
Implementing an Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) will help your organization improve efficiency, reduce costs and help manage your information in accordance with government or industry regulations. An EDMS’ initial impact on the environment is the reduction in paper copies of documents. By capturing electronic documents directly or via “virtual” printer, the only paper documents printed are those that are absolutely necessary for clients or partners. Coupled with a fax server, incoming faxes can be captured right to the EDMS and then routed to the appropriate individual’s electronic workflow “in box” without printing a sheet. An EDMS solution makes it easy to find a document almost instantly, so there is no fear of it becoming lost, even when moving through a workflow. I have seen many cases where individuals make a copy of a document as it passes their desk for their own personal, easy reference. By the end of the lifecycle of the document, there are sometimes as many as ten copies, leaving a trail of wasted paper, toner and electricity. With EMDS, documents are always at hand with any notes, changes and/or versions tracked and auditable. In other words, “C.Y.A.” doesn’t have to be wasteful.
Excessive printing leads to another environmental problem with paper: the cost of storage and handling. How much are you paying for floor space that is comfortably heated, air conditioned and lit only to be used by filing cabinets? And when paper is not sitting in a filing cabinet, it – or more likely, a copy – might also be shuttled between departments, location and between customers and partners. Physically moving documents wastes time, money, and fuel. Why pay to wait for a document shipped on a polluting, road choking truck when it can be scanned and accessed via web portal from virtually any location? Of course, along with excessive shipping of documents, paper-based workflows require your workers to be where the paper is. EDMS can even make it possible to eliminate the need to ship personnel to and from the office. If some of your employees can stay at home, they are not paying to heat/cool and empty home, the office can reduce its size and associated energy costs while transportation pollution is also cut.
Adopting an environmental program displays good governance and improves your public profile. I will admit that in my ten years of working in the document management space I have never known an organization to buy a document management system solely to become “green”. The usual reasons have to do with improved workflow and document processing, eliminating paper file costs, making documents really easy to find, and the need to comply with rules for the management and retention of information. Yet, document management systems do provide significant environmental benefits that should not be overlooked. Eliminating waste is good for everyone. We shouldn’t have to wait until it is forced upon us, especially when the ROI for EDMS is so high.