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DATE: 09/22/2015

If the thought of combing through pounds of papers in your office filing cabinet sounds about as fun as a root canal, you’re not alone.

Despite the many advantages provided by today’s Online Document Management Systems (which have been publically available since the mid 2000s), many businesses have been reluctant to make the switch to “going paperless,” and understandably so. Transferring YEARS worth of documents to “the cloud” can be a time-consuming, confusing and tedious process, bringing up questions like:

What is the cloud?

A network of computers made available to consumers to store and process information online.

How is the data kept safe, secure and private?

Many DMS services provide “encrypted” storage solutions, which provide a high level of security (an important feature when storing legal, medical or highly classified documents).

How do I transfer data to the cloud?

It’s as simple as clicking a button and uploading the files! Again, be sure to read the Terms of Agreement to make sure it’s encrypted.

Despite the initial time commitment required, “going paperless” appears to be good for business. According to a Xerox study, the U.S. spent an estimated $460 billion in salaries managing paper-driven overload in 2008 alone. Another study, conducted by YouGov, determined small to medium-sized businesses in the UK waste the equivalent of $70 million per day searching for documents. Furthermore, properly managing filing cabinets is an expense in itself. As reported by Entrepreneur.com, a “typical” filing cabinet holds 15,000 to 20,000 pages, costs $25,000 to fill and $2,000 to maintain each year!

Considering DMS subscription fees are nominal in comparison, transitioning to a paperless office is a “no-brainer.” The other primary benefit? Convenience. Digital documents can be labeled, nested and categorized just like their physical counterparts. Some DMS services even offer easy recall via keyword search, allowing you to quickly retrieve a document within seconds –– from your home, from the airport or on the road. With this in mind, here’s how to reap the benefits in 3 easy steps:

Step 1: Choose a DMS (Document Management System)

As with any type of software, the options are abundant. Here’s a great post comparing 20 popular services, and here are some questions to ask yourself before purchasing:

  • Does this company have a good reputation?
  • What kind of security standards are in place?
  • Do they encrypt data when uploaded AND once it’s stored?
  • How much storage space do we really need? (most companies charge varying monthly rates, according to amount of space needed)

Step 2: Sort Through The Clutter

Ever watched one of those reality shows where organizational experts come in and help hoarders clear their basements? This is kind of like that, only you need to be ruthless about determining which items get digitally transferred, which get discarded and which (if any) stay physically filed. When it comes to important tax and legal documents, consider consulting with your CPA and lawyer to determine what must be saved and what can be discarded. You may be able to toss more than you think.

Step 3: Transfer Your Content

Once you’ve ditched what you no longer need, it’s time to digitize the rest. That means scanning or photographing the remaining documents, before uploading them to your DMS. For extra peace of mind, consider the added “backup” of saving the files to an external hard drive. The good news? Almost anything can be digitized (even paper receipts). The bad? Put on some good music; this may take a while!

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong way to go paperless. You may decide to go “all the way” or you may choose a mix of traditional filing cabinets and modern digitization. Either way, we’re here to help. Click Here to book a free interior solutions consultation today.