Key reasons to digitize important documents

Recent events have accelerated the digitisation of papers across industries, but more importantly, they have brought to light and made serious issues that businesses have been dealing with for a while. A reduction in paper-based processes is accompanied by several operational and legal advantages. 

In this article, we’ll examine some of the causes that are encouraging individuals to use digital solutions and examine the time and money that digitising key documents will save your team and your company. 

Scalability – use your time effectively 

The incapacity of information management teams to scale organisational needs is the root of the first of these reasons. Because records teams are frequently asked to “do more with less,” it’s critical to know how your team allocates their time. 

A typical knowledge worker searches for information for 1.8 hours each day on average. 9+ hours per week. This implies that just four out of every five employees actually perform their duties. Think about getting that time back. Consider everything you and your group could accomplish. How on earth can you afford to spend this much time looking for paper when you have so many other things to take care of? 

What if you could locate documents in no more than 30 seconds? 

Considering that, imagine having instant access to all papers that are essential to your business. Imagine those materials in a structured environment that is organised and allows for focused results so you don’t have to spend time sorting through pages of results. 

Where are your records located? 

Geographically distributed organisations are the second justification. Because geographically dispersed might refer to several states, towns, or even floors within a building, don’t assume this doesn’t apply to you. 

Consider the HR paperwork, for instance. The employment process typically takes place in a separate office from the paperwork, which is centralised. There are a few difficulties in this approach. Logistics comes first. How does the paperwork for a new hire get from A to B? How is the recruiting manager able to get access to those records? Do they ultimately keep copies? How much back and forth is involved in making sure paperwork is accurate and complete? 

Employee mobility continues to present problems. Here is an example: A worker is elevated to a different department. What kind of paperwork is transferred from the previous manager to the new management? Similarly, how does the new manager have access to the personnel file if the employee changes office locations, business divisions, or even regions? Additionally, is HR generating several files for that person? 

The paper scramble is constant because paper is often used as the preferred medium in companies. Of course, the issue is made worse when an employee performs poorly and the manager needs to take corrective action. Think about your employee turnover rates and the expenses, dangers, and potential for violating the law if the employee file has any missing or incorrect information. An incomplete personnel record won’t help your organization’s defense if you find yourself in court. By making where something occurs irrelevant to how information is processed and accessed, digitisation overcomes the geography problem. 

Who has access to what information and how do they obtain it? 

Living or functioning papers, which will continue to alter before being deemed permanent, provide another issue. You require a method for quickly and securely sharing documents with internal team members who must work together. These records also need to be disclosed to outside parties like the government, auditors, or lawyers. Let’s explain problems with sharing physical information:

  • The document is first scanned and then sent to your mailbox using a multi-purpose device. 
  • You send that email and any attached files to the person who needs them. The attachment is currently present in both the recipient’s inbox and your outbox. 
  • Even if you are extremely careful and get rid of those 3 copies, they are still present on the email server. Additionally, you have no idea what the recipient has done with the attachment. Published it? transmitted it? That one private document gradually multiplies into unprotected copies. 
  • The physical files are the same. Copies are given to the individual who requested them, but what happens next? What occurs to those duplicates? Do they reside in the manager’s desk’s open file drawer? 

In fact, these records must remain in your hands, physically or digitally. Additionally, you should think about having a thorough audit of who has seen them and when. Additionally, you ought to be able to limit access to viewing alone to prevent any additional copying or forwarding. 

Silos: too many systems to manage simultaneously? 

There’s a good chance that you already have technological solutions that do one or more specific tasks. The functions of ERP, HRIS and ECM systems vary, they all produce records, and they all have a propensity to act as information silos. It is challenging to combine them into a single, comprehensive view of the private data that your records team is in charge of. You must sign into each system and keep in mind how it operates. You’re on a quest to learn everything there is to know about a certain employee. 

There may be also various versions of the same documents or information in different systems. Documents from one system may occasionally be printed out and added to another or stored in a paper personnel file. Unfortunately, the only integration vehicle these systems can use is paper. 

Imagine a technique to link several systems and paper files. A solution to also let the laws that control your information exist and be upheld everywhere it is used. Both replacing current technologies and physically copying all data into a single repository are not needed. 

How can you have confidence that the files are complete? 

Can you affirm that you have total authority over all categories of sensitive information? Are you certain everything is current? Are the copies fully executed and not just drafts? Unfortunately, our files are silent on lost documents. The wrong time to find you lack a document is when you need it. 

What if you were positive that all the files were there and correct? Would that make it easier for you to sleep at night or prepare you for an internal audit? Your document management system should continuously scan through all pertinent files, checking for completeness and looking for papers that are about to expire or need to be updated. It should also have robust workflow and monitoring controls. 

Are you keeping only what you absolutely need to keep and getting rid of everything else? 

The implementation of the retention policy is the problem that most organisations have. How confident are you that you are applying and adhering to your company’s retention policy given the information silos, paper records, and email as the key methods of information sharing? 

You must make sure that records are preserved for as long as necessary, but no longer, for HR documents and anything else containing personally identifiable information (PII). On the other hand, your General Counsel and CFO will likely want to make sure that all records are destroyed as soon as they are eligible so that you can demonstrate that you constantly adhere to policies in the event that a destroyed document ever gives rise to a legal issue. 

Why should documents be digitalized? 

Digitized documents and corporate records can be shared globally, require less time to retrieve, and can be more effectively tracked for compliance. In the company, document scanning and imaging offer a scalable record information management solution. 

How does the administration of digital documents help? 

There is a unique retention period for each type of document. The retention period is typically started by an event, such as the termination of an employee, the expiration of a contract, or the payment due date for an invoice. It is completely impracticable to constantly monitor each file and remove the ones that should be deleted when papers are on paper because they all go into a folder. The files for long-term contracts or dismissed personnel are frequently packed in a box and transported off-site, where nobody will go through them for a time. 

Each document should be handled by your information management program in accordance with its own specific policy. According to policy, the system should automatically start deleting documents. 

A system that understands information governance also has a “litigation hold” or “legal hold” mechanism, which is maybe the most crucial component. The system must freeze the relevant documents and stop them from being destroyed in the event of a legal dispute, an audit, or a regulatory issue. Information management, finance, and legal all accomplish their objectives with the help of a digital platform and a reliable information governance system. 

Making advances to enforce compliance 

All of these justifications for digitising crucial papers relate to compliance in some way. There’s a good chance that one or more of these apply to your scenario. An appropriate environment for the safe, secure, and compliant management of documents is essential to fulfilling your goals as an information professional, even when you have a wide range of duties to perform. 

Your capacity to carry out this crucial task will significantly improve after you switch from a paper-based document environment to a digital one. Going digital, however, entails more than just scanning papers and adding them to numerous platforms. You need a system that drives compliance and visibility into your data to ensure completeness if you want to truly benefit from turning digital.