6 Ways Digital Document Management Will Empower Your Business

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@sandra-lupanovaSandra Lupanova

SharePoint and Office 365 Evangelist

Where does your company fit with today’s paperless trend? If you’re yet to harness a fully digital business, you’re not alone. Research proves that organizations still struggle to reduce paper consumption. In fact, throughout 2023 and 2024, the paper output in the USA is expected to grow, which shows that workplace digitization is proceeding pretty slow.
Even so, the eventual switch to paperless is inevitable, and the earlier you make it, the sooner you will reap the rewards. Working with digital solutions such as SharePoint document management is not only easier and faster than managing hard copies, but also more secure. Not to mention—sustainable. 
Explore six business benefits of digital document management systems (DMSs) that make it worthwhile to abandon manual document storage and handling.

1. Instant Collaboration

Effective teamwork stimulates creativity and innovation and drives the bottom line growth. 
SharePoint and other digital document management solutions, such as Confluence, Podio, Hightail, or M-Files, integrate all essential document management, collaboration and retrieval in one centralized file repository. Through email, chat, and calendar integrations, they allow your teams to stay in the loop and keep productive any time, and from any place—also on mobile. 
In DMSs, access to all documents is granular and authorized, meaning that you can immediately decide which users can view and edit each file. Real-time co-authoring is a massive time-saver, as it allows stakeholders to work with files whenever convenient, without concerns about out-of-control review cycles, duplicate copies, and clashing document versions. 

2. Fast Document Search and Retrieval

If you’ve ever had to shuffle through a massive stack of papers to find a single file, or quickly fetch an attachment from an overflowing email inbox, you know that document retrieval can be extremely painful. An immense amount of time is wasted by office workers (according to some estimates, up to 18 minutes on average by each for a single file) on identifying, finding and retrieving key documents. This translates into considerable financial losses.
Electronic document management systems automatically index all documents and provide custom fields and tags to facilitate efficient data search, archiving and locating. Some of these solutions also leverage AI and machine learning to scan, analyze and fetch the required files based on provided keywords, driving further time and cost savings.

3. Regulatory Compliance

A failure to adhere to industry laws and regulations poses a damaging threat to any business. While different industries have various policies to follow, compliance standards share a few requirements that document management systems are designed to meet. They specify how to store, access, share and dispose of documents to ensure information security, especially for sensitive and personal data.
By offering features such as authentication and authorization, access control, data encryption, secure backup, and tamper-proof audit logs, DMSs allow companies to ease the compliance burden and meet common regulatory standards, including ISO 9100, FDA, HIPAA, SEC, GDPR, PCI DSS, and many others. 

4. Tightened Security

Many cloud-based document management systems offer airtight data security on multiple levels, starting from server security through data encryption to document access. 
Quality enterprise systems like G Suite or SharePoint require encrypted two-factor authentication to lessen the risk of compromised passwords, and they record every operation to provide a complete audit trail. They also allow administrators to impose user- and team-based restrictions on document transactions to prevent unauthorized operations and offer a range of disaster recovery strategies to quickly restore all files without impacting the business. 

5. Email Efficiency

According to the 2019 Intelligent Information Management Benchmark Report by M-Files, 69% of workers use email to manage and store business documents. This is unfortunate, considering that email is the least appropriate tool for that purpose. 
Operating on attachments and sharing documents via email leads to the scattering of electronic files, duplication issues, and inefficient retrieval. What’s more, with email, one may accidentally share or forward confidential details to an unauthorized person, or accidentally delete an important file. On top of that, relying on electronic messages for document management leads to email noise, resulting in a piling-up backlog, missed priorities, and communication chaos.

6. Huge Cost Savings

Cost savings are among the most compelling reasons behind many organizations’ moves to paperless document management. It’s estimated that every three years the document volume doubles, requiring more storage space. By replacing costly filing cabinets with digital document repositories, you can free up valuable space to install more workstations or save on office lease.  
Digital document management solutions also increase your bottom line benefits through the elimination of expenses on paper, printers, ink, maintenance, postal services, and document handling. They protect your business continuity and reduce operational downtime in case of accidents, disasters, and security breaches. Finally, by optimizing business workflows, DMSs may indirectly increase customer satisfaction, improve workforce retention, and enhance your services, all of which have a direct impact on revenue optimization. 

How to Make the Most of Digital Document Management?

Digital document management systems allow organizations to streamline collaboration, enhance work efficiency, and eliminate paper waste. They facilitate the flow of information across the company, providing secure, authorized, around-the-clock access to all documents from any place on the globe. Considering these advantages, document management systems are among the must-haves for any business.
Whether you are looking to get rid of all paper documents altogether or just improve selected processes related to document handling, there’s no shortage of DMS solutions on the market to help you achieve the above gains. Through customization, you can fine-tune your SharePoint or other document management applications in line with your organization’s needs and goals and immediately start capitalizing on improved efficiency and productivity.

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