Alfresco Document Management – going paperless
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” ― Albert Einstein
They say a messy desk is either a sign of a creative and productive mind or that of an unorganized and confused mind.
I am not going to take sides here – I have friends in both camps, and they seem to be equally efficient in finding things in their own world.
One thing I will say, however, is that whenever documents involve more than one person, a properly indexed document system beats any paper-based system, and allow me to tell you why.
ENTERPRISE SEARCH VS. SEARCHING PAPER
Way, way back, when books were books and they contained all the knowledge that society needed at the time, we used to have to read to find information. If we had a good memory, we would remember where we had read this or that passage, and we would be able to retrieve it relatively painlessly. But we still needed to know where the book was.
As our needs became more complex, we looked beyond those books, to loose leaf agreements and papers of all types, and as the volumes of paper grew, we needed to find ways to better organize them.
But no matter how hard we tried, we could not search for a document without holding it and reading it. Even describing what was in a box was hard to do, and generally not good enough to ensure a quick and accurate search.
As we highlighted in one of our recent blog (https://www.parashift.com.au/2017/06/29/alfresco-document-content-management-solves-shared-drive-nightmare/), electronic versions of documents can be searched and found with modern tools, both rapidly and accurately, which translates directly to improvements in time efficiency.
But to move to a paperless organization, we almost need an epiphany – a moment of “enough’s enough”. So what does it take to go paperless?
THE BUSINESS CASE
The first step is to understand the impact that paper has, not only on your company and the wasted time and costs, but on the world as a whole.
The statistics on the use of paper are nothing short of staggering. According to the Paperless Project, paper costs are counted in both wasted time and in real dollars:
- $120 billion is how much companies in the US spend on paper forms, most of which are out of date in less than 3 months.
- 10,000 sheets of paper is how much the average office worker will shuffle every year.
- 45% of these sheets will be discarded, either as rubbish or as a source of revenue for some recycling company.
- 20% to 40% of time is spent looking for documents – that’s 1 to 2 days per week.
- Each misfiled document costs $125 to find and file.
- Each lost document costs anywhere between $350 to $700.
- Large organizations are estimated to lose 5 documents every minute.
True story: by digitizing their entire invoice management process, one of our clients not only are saving time finding and retrieving invoices, and of course saving on paper and toner, but they are achieving real costs savings from valuable storage space: in Australia, the Tax Office requires businesses to keep evidence of transactions for a period of at least five years, and that means all these invoices had to be kept in boxes in a secure area.
The business case for going paperless through a document management system DMS would be incomplete without an understanding of how much of your business is at risk if a disaster destroyed your paper records – contracts, leases, tax documents, etc. We covered this quite extensively in our blog https://www.parashift.com.au/2017/04/04/disaster-recovery-plan-quick-affordable/
BENEFITS OF DIGITAL DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT
1. Your files are better organized by being centralized
2. Through that centralization, you can better share information
3. You can reduce expense, which means an increase in profits.
4. You can work from anywhere because you do not need immediate access to paper copies.
5. You can recapture wasted time spent searching and recreating when you can’t find your documents.
6. You can respond to your clients, communicating better and delivering sooner
7. You can find and retrieve your files sooner.
In our next blog, I will explore the steps to help you bite the bullet and go paperless. We’ll look at selecting a storage solution, deciding what to keep and what to ditch, scanning, OCR’ing, and all the aspects of managing the process.