Paperless 101

Going paperless with a document management system has notable benefits for businesses and nonprofits. According to Accenture, 59% of managers report missing deadlines because they’re unable to find documents. This loss of productivity extends deep into teams and across departments when documents are misplaced, lost, or only available to a single person at any given time. 

Not convinced this is a problem? In a whitepaper on document management systems, the International Data Corporation found that a company with 1,000 employees wastes $2.5 million to $3.5 million a year chasing documents. While you may not have such a large workforce, one of our clients with a team of 18 realizes savings of close to $2 million annually using document imaging, document management, and workflow automation services.

Paper document management system

The paperless office has other advantages, including the ability to:

• Build a secure and trusted repository of accessible documents.
• Track and get approval on work as it traverses departments.
• Drastically reduce the steep costs associated with off-site storage and retrieval.

• Address both internal and external auditor’s requests in a timely manner.
• Prevent fire, flood, or theft from putting your company out of business.

Also known as document imaging, document scanning is the process of converting a paper document to a digital image format. Document scanning software is ideal for long-term and archival storage. It is important to keep in mind that information contained within a document stored this way (such as any text) is unsearchable. You can think of document scanning as an electronic filing cabinet with the same limitations as a physical paper filing system, but without offsite storage and retrieval costs

Benefits of Document Scanning Software

  • Reduces the cost of off-site paper document storage and per-page retrieval costs.
  • Frees up a significant amount of office space.
  • Reduces the risk that a flood, fire, or theft will cause your business to fail, provided the media are duplicated and stored off site.

Employing document scanning software to transitioning to a digital archive or file store requires some pre-planning to ensure success. Taking the steps below will help you accomplish your goals:

1. Identify which document types need to be retained for regulatory compliance or occasional reference. These documents are good candidates for cold storage (CD/DVD) or long-term redundant cloud storage.

2. Identify which records need to be referenced frequently. These documents are good candidates for server or cloud drive storage.

3. Create a structure and file naming convention that is meaningful and allows people to find documents they need.

4. Identify which roles should have access and program file stores accordingly.

5. Create a subject matter expert role for scanning documents, monitoring the
process, and verifying that documents are being stored correctly.

6. Identify the right software to be used for managing storage on CD/DVD.

7. Establish an archiving calendar that informs teams when certain documents
have aged and need to be moved to archive storage. Have the person responsible for the on-going success verify that archiving is taking place.

More Examples of Automated Workflow Applications

Still unsure of where to apply automated workflows? Below are several examples of different departments that can benefit from automating their tasks:

Benefits of workflow automation for accounting


Benefits from automated invoices that span the process from generation to client payment.

Document management for manufacturing facilities


Benefits from automated order processing, credit approvals, and fulfillment.

Workflow automation in engineering and marketing

Engineering & Marketing

Benefits from automated follow-ups and renewal reminders so they can focus on more lucrative tasks.

The benefits of document scanning and management in HR

Human Resources

Benefits from the automated hiring and onboarding of new employees, posting job listings, and responding to candidates with templates.

Additionally, automation provides valuable insights into your processes and workflows, including information that may not have been clear before starting this project. With measurable data about your workflows as well as benchmarks to compare them to, your organization will benefit from a deeper understanding of how your departments function and what you can do to improve them going forward.

Still Have Questions?

Depending on the scope of your project, you may need to consult a professional and trusted document management and workflow solutions partner. Ask potential partners for a demo of their solution, and keep an eye out for any red flags (such as lack of customer service or contact options).

Be sure to ask providers these important questions:

  • Is your support phone based?
  • Is your support based in the United States? This is mainly important if you are government funded.
  • Do the people on the support team use and configure the solution in real life?
  • Do you offer phone support or just email support? Is there any upcharge for phone support? How is that priced?
  • What is your service-level agreement (SLA) if I have a problem? How long will I typically wait to hear from someone?
  • What kinds of protections are in place to protect personally identifiable information found in my documents?
  • How many users does your product support?
  • Can I speak with four or five of your clients with the same number of users I plan to have on my system?

If you need any assistance getting up and running with workflow automation or document management solutions, feel free to reach out to us at (540) 347-2552, and we’ll be happy to help.