Electronic Management System
The goal of a paperless office continues to get closer, due to the rising popularity of digital document management systems. Document management systems use scanners to make digital copies of every document. These documents are coded to attach them to specific files or accounts and optical character reading, OCR, systems provide insight into the contents of each page. From the time it enters the organization, the digital version of the document is stored and filed for future use.
From the moment the document is scanned, it becomes accessible from any computer by an authorized employee. Compare this immediate access to a traditional paper file, which has to be housed in a file cabinet or room and then must be must be requested, retrieved and delivered to an employee. During its use that paper file can not be accessed by another employee, nor is it easily tracked during its journey. Electronic documents can be retrieved immediately, shared and routed to any employee who needs it.
When a document is scanned, OCR examines the text and creates a digital version of the contents. This text is stored with the document, creating a file that can be searched by any employee. If a company needed to find every file that mentions a particular client, they could search the document database for every mention of that name. This turns ordinary files into huge databases of information that can be used for marketing, audit and management purposes.
The switch to electronic documents can be a tremendous cost-saving opportunity for most companies. The cost for filing cabinets, supplies and the real estate required to store them on site is substantial. If a company uses an off-site storage facility the cost to store and retrieve files is equally expensive. Add to this the cost for filing clerks and the downtime required to find specific files and the price of a manual filing system is substantial. With digital systems, there is a cost for the scanning and filing technologies, but once digitized, the cost for data storage is quite low.
The difficult task of securing confidential information is simplified with a digital document management system. Whereas paper files need to be stored in secure cabinets and controlled using a manual access system, electronic documents are easily encrypted with access controls using passwords and an authentication system. Electronic files never go missing, nor do they easily fall into the wrong hands.