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An end-of-the-year article published in PC World summarized the current state of affairs in the document management arena rather succinctly:

In recent years there have been fundamental shifts in how digital documents are handled, and now the expectation is that people will be able to do much more with them.

Or in other words, the ways in which we’re working with documents are evolving – are you keeping up? Your customers, constituents, employees are counting on you to provide the technology that allows intelligent interaction with their information.

So… are you?

If not, you may still be living with old technology – using “old school” systems to handle “new school” requirements. Digital documents used to be inefficient and impractical: a paper document would be scanned and turned into a non-searchable PDF or an image file like jpeg. There would be no editing capability – if you needed to make edits, you’d have to track down the original document or worse, create a new one from scratch.

Those scans would have to be manually stored, which meant putting them on a thumb drive, attaching them to an email, or copying them into a folder on a network system. There was no automatic organization or standardized naming. As the amount of data grew, the hierarchy of folders and naming conventions became simultaneously more important and much more cumbersome.

Today, the process can be as easy as a single step – simply scan or pull the document direct from any other digital source to transfer it directly into the cloud. Optical character recognition (OCR) ensures the document is both searchable and editable, and auto-labeling the content with metadata for standardized naming and super-searchability means that manual data entry can be minimal. Storing the content in the cloud can ensure the level of safety and security you require, as well as keep you compliant with regulations and policies.

If you still haven’t made the fundamental shift to the more advanced document management solutions your employees, customers and/or constituents are expecting, here are some more powerful considerations:

Going paperless means less paper

It may seem obvious: using advanced digital solutions means using less paper, and less paper means going green. A big benefit of reducing your business’s impact on the environment is reducing the impact of doing business on your bottom line. Entrepreneur.com reports that the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper annually – that’s 2 ½ cases of paper each, and at ~$45 per case, that adds up fast. And all that paper has to go somewhere. On average, a single four-drawer filing cabinet costs $25,000 to fill and $2,000 to maintain for just one year.

Saving high cost of computer hardware

Maybe you think high tech solutions mean high costs. Contrary to what may be popular belief, cloud computing can make advanced technology affordable. Instead of the big upfront purchase of new equipment like servers or bringing on a dedicated IT support team, document management in the cloud can mean affordable monthly payments for services including the support you need to keep things up and running. Need to get those 75,000 invoices into the system? You won’t need more office space to expand your digital storage.

Additional mobility

The cloud is everywhere. Storing your information there means employees have access to your entire network (not just the documents stored on their laptops) wherever they go. Serving your customers better has never been easier – no need to wait for an agreement to be faxed from the main office, or for a signed document to arrive in the mail. Digital signatures and full access for mobile devices mean work is getting done even when you’re not at your desk.

Archiving and retrieval capabilities

Using the cloud for document management can make not only archiving but also retrieval and remaining compliant with retention requirements a breeze. Today’s solutions are scalable, and OCR/metadata functionality means users can easily find the document, or the part of a document, that they need. There are even solutions to automate archival requirements – documents can be destroyed at a set date, or users can be “pinged” with reminders when end-of-archive or review-required dates approach.

The System You Choose Is Important, Too

Multi-function devices (MFDs) are now the norm. A simple printer/scanner/fax machine may not be enough – if it doesn’t work with your system, it means you’re not getting much bang for your buck. Think of the next device for your organization as the heart of a content management system. It’s the on- and off-ramp for data: working with your system to translate documents into editable files or searchable PDFs; extracting information from scanned forms and barcodes; processing legal documents, adding Bates stamps and redacting classified information automatically as data is gathered. It’s a workhorse good for more than just manual labor.

But Don’t Forget the People

As important as technology is, it’s more important than ever not to forget the people within the processes. Choosing a partner in your document management solution development is critical. A good partner can provide everything you need – from storage, to integration with existing systems, to security and accessibility – and make sure it fits not only your business, but also your employees. Customizing a solution and providing great training and support can make adapting to a new system easier for your employees, and greater ease means higher adoption rates.

If you’re ready to make the fundamental shift towards a more advanced document management system, 5i Solutions Inc. can help.

5i Solutions offers modern cloud-based systems, customized to work flawlessly with your current setup and workflows. 5i can handle conversion of paper or other e-documents into a central cloud repository. The extraction of metadata is automated. Using the “what” and not the “where” to organize data means no more worries about finding the information you’re looking for.

With 5i’s Cloud Vault, your operational continuity and the safety of your data is assured. Information is secure, yet accessible 24/7 from anywhere—but only by those to whom you have given access. Encryption, penetration testing, and access level management ensure compliance with the security protocols and requirements you have to meet.

In short?  The time is now. And 5i Solutions is the how.

5i Solutions. One single, secure point of intake, access, and storage. One singular solution.

5i Solutions, Inc.

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