The concept of a digital office is being used with increasing frequency, since it is one of the main requirements for companies to be competitive in the new digital economy. In this blog we have already dedicated a post to this new concept of the workspace, and we have also tackled in detail the idea of a paperless office, which consists of eliminating printed documents and substituting them with digital documents.
On this last point there are numerous studies that deal with the considerable costs, often inadvertent, in the excessive use of paper. Therefore, although digitizing all of a company's documents is an arduous task that should not be underestimated, to do so will result in significant savings. Additionally, it is a significant step forward in the digitization of processes, and not only to improve the order in an office, but also to increase employee productivity.
In this post we explain the best organized strategy to digitize documents.
This post is also available in Spanish.
The costs associated with the use of paper documents
According to a PwC study, organizations spend around 19 euros in filing a printed document. And when it goes astray, which is what happens to around 7.5% of documents, recovering it can cost up to 113 euros more.
These and other figures are often difficult to calculate in the context of the majority of companies, where it's normal to see enormous piles of papers accumulated everywhere. But today, there are numerous websites that allow us to calculate approximately the cost of all the paper that we use, a material that we often continue to think of as infinite and irreplaceable for our daily work.
Freeing ourselves from paper allows companies to reduce their printing costs, storage and shipping costs, saves space, decentralizes documents and allows employees to access them faster and more securely, and even makes a positive contribution to the environment.
This wide variety of advantages makes many companies overlook two important details:
- That the paperless office cannot be implemented overnight.
- That even in a rapid transition, you should not forget the volume of paper available to us cannot simply disappear.
How to digitize all of the documents in a company?
Implementing a paperless office requires incorporating new protocols and technologies to work digitally, but it also requires a strategy to digitize documents in three steps:
- How do we transform paper documents to digital?
- How do we store them?
- And how do we access them once they are digitized?
1. How do we transform paper documents to digital?
The first step requires deciding who will be responsible for the digitization process, with which format and what technology.
While scanning documents is not as widespread a practice as the use of a word processor or a conventional printer, it's always best to limit the number of team members performing this task in order to ensure a consistent format for the resulting files. In this way, it's recommendable to choose 300 dpis resolution, scan in black and white and for the end result to be saved in a PDF format.
Regarding technology, it's important to choose a single software solution among all those available in the market. In making this decision, you should take into account if the people responsible for the digitization task are going to be physically in the office - in which case, they can use desktop scanners or multi-use devices, that can also be used as printers - or if they are going to do it from a different location, in which case it's recommendable to use apps that allow to scan documents through a smartphone's camera.
It is also important to consider the convenience of incorporating in the scanner an OCR analysis, which allows passing a printed text to a digital one through character interpretation, and it also offers the possibility to perform hypertextual searches through the document, once digitized.
2. How do we store the digitized documents?
This decision mainly revolves around choosing a cloud storage solution and deciding if it needs a secure physical backup.
There are many storage platforms in the market, but the main points to keep in mind when selecting one of them should be:
- The possibility to create different access levels, so that some users can read and edit documents while others can view them only in “read-only” mode;
- The multi platform compatibility, which allows document access regardless of the device, whether it be a laptop, desktop computer or smartphone;
- Its security level, in order to ensure the documents’ integrity and confidentiality in accessing them.
3. And how do we access documents once they are digitized?
Once the storage system for the digitized files has been decided, a simple, self-explanatory and flexible folder should be agreed upon, in which it is important to distinguish between two types of documents:
- Those we digitize only for filing purposes, and which we will access rarely;
- And the documents that we access more frequently, such as contracts, invoices, etc. which should be easy to find -- ideally no more than three or four clicks to access them.
In Signaturit we are strong advocates for the paperless office, and that is why our solution allows to eliminate paper in all processes that require a signature in a document or contract: documents can be created from the start in a digital format, and with Signaturit they can be signed from any device - smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. And once signed they are stored directly on the cloud. In this way, teams that have to manage all of these documents can do so decentralized and via multiple platforms. Remember that you can try all of Signaturit’s features for free for 14 days. Click here.
This post is also available in Spanish.