We live in a digital world. The advent of high-speed internet, smartphones, and other mobile devices has made that even more obvious. Most people get their news from online sources rather than from newspapers and other physical media. While there is still certainly a reason to keep physical copies of documents, digitizing your files is becoming even more of a necessity.
Moving from paper to digital records and documents can seem like a hassle, but it comes with some big benefits. Learn more about the benefits of digitizing documents below.
Accessibility and Productivity
Modern life is increasingly mobile, never fully rooted in any single place. That mentality has extended into the workplace, where employees are more prone to traveling, commuting, or working from home. Digitizing your documents means that you always have access to them, wherever you are and from whatever device you have on hand. The increased accessibility allows businesses to pursue international expansion and reach clients they may not have been able to before.
That ultimately contributes to greater productivity. Workers do not have to waste time finding a physical copy of a document or waiting by the copy machine. Everything is immediately accessible.
Reducing in-office waste has become increasingly important as more companies and organizations focus on eco-friendly efforts. While you may not go completely paperless, digitizing documents can go a long way to reducing paper waste. Digital files allow for easy sharing with just a link, which reduces the need for printing physical copies for distribution unless absolutely necessary. That can help to save the environment and save on office supply costs.
Storage, Security, and Recovery
Storing physical documents is never an easy task. It requires many resources, like large file cabinets, manila folders, paper clips, and more. Physical document storage can also easily become cumbersome. Files can get disorganized as people remove and replace folders and documents. Physical storage also just requires a lot more office space. Your business may need a whole extra room for storing files and copies of files, which may not always be possible.
Physical storage also inherently comes with security and recovery issues. It is far too easy to misplace a paper document, and unless you have copies on hand, any sort of recovery can be a huge hassle. On top of theft, physical storage also comes with other dangers, from fires to natural disasters, that could lead to a complete loss of data and sensitive documents.
Document digitization can minimize a lot of that trouble. Digital documents are easily stored onto a local hard drive and/or uploaded to the cloud for easy access. All of your digital files can be kept in a centralized location, eliminating the need for bulky file cabinets. While cyberattacks, malware, and other security issues remain, most solutions for cloud computing in business center entirely around keeping your information safe. You can also modify credentials and have greater control over who actually has access to the files.
These services also offer easy recovery in the event of lost data. Recovering electronic documents can take just a few hours, where recovering physical files may not even be possible under certain circumstances.
Some of the best ideas and innovations come from natural collaboration with team members. You can, of course, accomplish this in an office space, but collaboration can be more difficult if you have team members who work from home or if your business is split between different locations and time zones. Digitizing your documents allows for easy sharing of ideas even when you are telecommuting. You can also simplify your client relationships by offering online contract signing. You can develop whole new strategies that allow for efficient electronic communication and collaboration via digital files, contributing to greater productivity throughout your entire business.
Costs and return on investment are important and meaningful concepts for any person or business. They ultimately translate to profits or losses. The undercurrent to all of the above: you will probably save money by moving from paper records to digitized records. The initial process of digitizing your files and uploading them to the cloud can seem costly, but the savings are almost immediate. You get the physical savings of spending less on paper, ink, staples, and other office supplies, along with all of the filing cabinets and physical storage necessary for basic organization.
However, there are also savings associated with productivity and efficiency. Document digitization means less time organizing and trying to find the right paper file or print out. Digital document management systems are easy to search through and naturally more efficient than physical paper processes.
Moving into more digital spaces can be intimidating, and there are certainly plenty of things that can stay within the local, physical realm. However, the transition from physical to digital documentation is a necessary and beneficial step for all businesses. With Xerox® Workplace Assistant optimizing workflow and document management is simpler than ever. Consult with an MRC associate to learn more!