Tag Archives: Digital Mailroom

Document management. How to bridge the gap between paper and digital.

Document management

Document management security why do you need it and how can a document management solution help?

We all carry lots of vital often-sensitive information – whether it’s carried on a smartphone, tablet, laptop, USB stick or as paper files. 

Important data such as company information, a detailed proposal for a prospective customer, financial information relating to a specific client left on public display could prove to be a serious issue for you and your client.

Leaving things on a train, restaurant even at a client’s desk after a meeting is an unpleasant reminder of how a lapse in concentration can cause distress, embarrassment, upset and in some cases be very dangerous.

Thankfully those of us who leave gloves, keys or a wallet whilst these items are replaceable the loss can be downright inconvenient.

Printed matter is a different issue. Paper documents can’t be encrypted and transporting paper has its associated risks. Taking sensitive documents from one location to another a seemingly harmless act yet often necessary can quickly become a security issue.

In reality they are simple everyday mistakes that human beings make.

Protecting printed documents is not easy and a breach in compliance can be costly.

Back in the 80s, the paperless office was predicted and although we are still along way from achieving that, compliance and environmental sustainability will be a factor in reducing the number of non-electronic documents produced and distributed in the future.

Can we have the paperless office?

How do we manage and secure paper based documents?

Digital documents are secure but how do we address the security of paper-based documents?

It is unrealistic to handcuff ourselves to the briefcase we are carrying the documents in nor can we walk around with a vault attached to our backs. Making employees aware and ensuring there is a document management system in place minimises the risk of paper documents going array.

How does document management prevent disasters from occurring?

Document Management helps to reduce the volume of printed documents in a number of ways.

Users can scan or batch scan printed hardcopy documents and have them automatically transformed into a format that can be stored in a document management database.

Document management software creates a secure digital file cabinet for an organisation, in effect it is a digital archive where you can securely store any document type and then find it weeks, months, years later.

Document management solutions add value by saving time and money because documents stored can be indexed and retrieved by users in a secure manner meeting compliance criteria and reducing paper document storage costs.

No longer the premise of large organisations, companies can benefit from document management solutions where compliance requires retention and or destruction of documents within specified timescales. Providing scanning, imaging, document archiving, fax archiving, and electronic records management all accessible within a digital cabinet.

Document management is an integral facet of the disaster recovery plan of an organisation, document automation helps the process of quickly and efficiently managing paperwork and other documents in an electronic form.

The question that needs to be asked by an organisation is “what am I looking to achieve and what is the best solution to achieve that”?

From print to automation

Why automate?

Many people use paper as a bridge between systems that aren’t working effectively such as the link between the supplier and customer in the form of contract, invoice, statement or a link from one internal process to another.

Most documents start their life in a paper format and contain data that has been extracted out of an internal system i.e. AP/AR and then is eventually stored in a digital repository.

Document management solutions

DO we really need to print and store paper?

In an ideal world why print?

By improving internal systems and business processes and receiving documents electronically there is a case to argue that paper could be eliminated. Keying errors are reduced, data is less likely to be lost, decision making is based on accessibility to current and up to date information and distribution costs i.e postage are reduced.

Paper also presents other challenges notably mobility.

With so many people working remotely how do staff further the next stage of a paper based business process if they are not located in the same office? 

As soon as confidential information has been printed it is vulnerable to being left or misplaced somewhere therefore data integrity and security is compromised. Workflow speed is reduced as paper based processes are slower and less efficient.

What about storage?

Cloud based storage is cheaper than having warehouses full of archived boxes and more complex to index and therefore find let alone remember where the information has been stored.

document management

Storage in a digital repository means information is accessible for years to come

Then there is the issue of retrieval. Document management solutions provide flexibility and scalability.

Paper and print has other associated costs – print consumables, maintenance, paper, postage, envelopes, files and filing cabinets, floor space, logistics’ and distribution.

Consider what you print. Why do you print it? Where will you file it once printed? What elements of your business would be most affected if you stopped printing now? Could the medium be replaced with a better digital alternative?

What would happen if you lost that document?

One final thought.

How much of your corporate stationery is tied up in office space, human capital and your customer communications associated with paper?

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What is a digital mailroom?

A digital mailroom captures or converts into digital format all incoming business documents – paper, emails, faxes, indexes them and stores them securely.

Organisations receive thousands of documents everyday in multiple formats – paper, fax, emails, PDF, XML (Extensible Markup Language) and EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) resulting in disparate systems using manual processes with often high invisible costs.

To first understand how a digital mailroom might benefit an organisation we need to know what it is or does?

“A digital mailroon is the automation of incoming mail processes using document scanning and document capture technology. Companies can digitise incoming mail and automate the classification and distribution of mail within the organisation. Paper and electronic mail can be managed through the same process allowing companies to standardise their internal mail distribution procedures and adhere to company compliance policies”. (Wikipedia)

Why implement a digital mailroom?

Accuracy, faster and cost effective which helps organisations remain competitive and regain focus in the current global economic climate.

With mail volumes growing at an exponential rate and I include ALL types of correspondence not just paper based and with companies having mobile work forces and various regional offices it makes sense to convert all incoming correspondence and communication into a digital format for distribution.

Instant communication accurate information and distribution of this information is vital coupled with the compliance and accountability that companies invest in back up systems, document scanning and storage and compliance solutions all of which are time and money.

A digital mailroom automates the process of distributing incoming documents in to a document management system.

How does it work?

Information is captured or converted in to digital format with each item classified using intelligent capture. It is then indexed and placed in the document management system

A workflow process notifies the user or group of the existence of the document so that they are able to control the processing of this document to its completion.

An additional workflow process is then created to let the sender of the document know that it is being dealt with.

Once allocated the document is then moved into the correct folder within the document management system which contains all other relevant information and documents.

Management information from incoming documents and thier current status within the business is available.

What benefits can be derived from implementing a digital mailroom?

  • Turning all incoming paper mail, faxes, electronic mail into images reduces operational costs, reduces manual processes and provides instant access to documents by employees irrespective of where they are located.
  • Decision making processes are quicker because information is accessible faster.
  • Reduced paper storage and archiving costs by encouraging employees to do without paper for example reducing printing and copying of documents.
  • Minimal distribution of paper based mail.
  • Creating digital images of incoming mail and establishing a workflow process ensures the document can be tracked through its life cycle.
  • A scanned document is accessible by authorised users and can be referenced to other relevant documents in the document management system.
  • The security of the process guarantees the authenticity and integrity of the document which aligns with the records management policy of the company.

Finally

Many companies believe that they are legally obligated to archive documents in paper format for a certain amount of time such as accounting and contract documents.
Legal admissibility of scanned documents is still perceived as an issue for many businesses because they want to avoid risk at all costs.
It is the reason why businesses rely on costly paper based archiving and storage.
But the reality is that only a small minority of documents are required to be paper based and most digitised documents are legally acceptable in a court of law.

What next?

Digital Print Management provide print management solutions designed to reduce costs. For further information call us on: 01234-271156.

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How to implement a document management solution

What is document management?

Often referred to as DMS (Document Management Systems) is the use of a computer system and software to store, manage and track electronic documents and electronic images of paper based information captured through the use of a document scanner. [Source: aiim.org]

Loss of data and information management poses challenges for many organisations not least the intergrity and security of senstive company information and the management of

Implementing a document management system will save you time and money!

Implementing a document management system will save you time and money!

customers data. Many companies operate on an ad-hoc reactive basis only developing systems when the need arises or when there is an obvious breakdown in the management of internal processes.

Unstructured and ad-hoc solutions evolve out of a legacy of existent systems most of which are paper based resulting in duplication, non standard and system inefficiencies.

This coupled with the increasing public awareness in the sensitivity of data exposes companies to unncessary risks and cost.

How do you manage your documents?

Information management is a critical part of the business process on par with more traditional business operations but few organisations consider it to be so or, have the time or expertise to build an information management program.

Document Management is one of the more complex and sensitive jobs that an organisation has to manage.

Documents are created, edited, published, revised and stored either as a paper file or electronically. This is referred to as the documentation life cycle and managing the procedure is known as document management.

Companies create and store many business documents with people contributing to the system daily making the management of the process an even greater challenge.

When a document is created electronically, it requires some storage space on a PC. Someone creates a document but it is feasible that several other people in the company may require access to it this can be problematic if the organisation has many employees and this is further complicated when you factor in employees who work remotely or are located all over the world rendering saving the document on a personal computer locally inaccessible.

Document Management systems reduce paper filing provide instant access to files, can store any document type securely.

Document Management systems reduce paper filing provide instant access to files, can store any document type securely.

Here are some tips on how to implement a document management system using an outsource partner

  • Hosted document management solutions offer a pay-as-you-go model based only on the services you need and the volume you process. The solution provider is responsible for hardware and software upgrades giving you access to the latest features without capital expenditure. A hosted document management solution can be running in a matter of weeks compared to the months it takes to evaluate, procure and then install an in-house solution.
  • The average business produces a massive volume of documents which can make locating and retrieving documents in a timely fashion a real challenge and to compound matters files are often filed in non standard indexing systems making documents difficult to find. A single source supplier for document management solutions can help reduce operational and legal risks by managing a company’s information assets as they have the expertise, infrastructure and knowledge to provide best practices for implementation.
  • Workers waste thousands of pounds each year trying to find information that doesn’t exist, can’t be found or is recreated again. Up to 50% of our time can be wasted trying to find the information we need.
  • Outsourcing enables the service provider to minimise your business risk associated with in-house solutions where physical records are moved offsite to storage facilities, scanned and then returned for re-filing increasing the risk of lost and incorrectly filed documents. Physical documents are easier to find, scan and can be filed in a single location and the paper document never leaves the security of the vendor’s facility. Audit trails are maintained making it easier to access valuable content.
  • Managing documents with unstructured content and in a non standard format requires additional business and information technology resource. Documents stored in cabinets, record storage boxes and scattered in different locations and electronic files stored in multiple applications makes accessibility a real challenge. Using a DMS combines the cost effectiveness of traditional paper storage for the bulk of your records with the speed, convenience and cost savings of digital access. Files are kept in paper format and are scanned on demand.
  • Employees want self service access and retrieval and as speed is of the essence digital file access has to be put in the hands of end users. A hosted document management system can support this requirement providing intelligent scanning and image capture features supported by a digitisation process. Once documents are imaged they can be made available via an FTP site (File Transfer Protocol), ECM system (Enterprise Content Management) or via a hosted repository.
  • Few organisations have the resources or expertise to create or implement an effective document management strategy and solution. When outsourced the vendor takes care of the document management conversion, information security and privacy making sure best practices and compliance are followed.
  • Implementing a DMS can be a foreboding exercise but using an experienced provider who can manage the complexities of setting up a program cost effectively and efficiently will save time and money and will provide considerable value to the organisation in the long term.

Alchemy Document Management solutions and software creates a digital file cabinet for your company where you can securely store any document type and then find it within seconds. Providing document scanning, document imaging, document archiving, fax archiving and electronic records management capabilities.

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