When considering a document scanning or document management outsourcing project there are a number of different factors that will influence the success of your project, get it right and you can look forward to a paperless (or less paper) environment and reap all the rewards scanning and electronic document management offers your business.
This series of articles will lead you step by step to ensure you achieve your objectives and successfully implement electronic document management.
Defining Your Objectives
As with every business related project the primary objective is to establish a solid business case in order to validate the purpose and establish a return on investment, the following are some tips to help you achieve this. Document management provides many benefits to a busy paper laden office environment and the primary objective may be different for each business unit, therefore it is important to identify;
- Which business unit/units would benefit the most and
- Where is the fastest or most quantifiable return on investment
For each business unit try to rank the obvious tangible benefits, these may include;
Office space is expensive, disk storage however is cheap and falling by the day. Are their offices located in high rent areas that could benefit more than others?
Improved search and retrieval
Documents that are faster to find (if you can find them at all) and retrieve are cheaper to find. Think about the frequency and ease of access to your most commonly accessed documents.
Imagine that you were to lose all of your documents through theft, flood or fire. Which documents would impede the day to day running of the business or irreparably damage your business reputation.
What are the regulatory compliance issues that define your document practices? Are certain business units more constrained or at risk due to legislation?
Collaboration and distribution
Which documents are frequently shared with internal and external parties or are distributed frequently? What costs are involved with distribution?
Improved control and security
Is there a requirement to control access to confidential documents or identify how documents are being utilised/distributed?
Reduced off site storage
Documents stored off-site are expensive and difficult to retrieve, may be no longer required and attract a small but recurring cost year on year. Would a hybrid approach be cheaper? Are there particular documents with frequent retrieval rates?
Finance departments are frequently an obvious target for document management as there is often a very quick ROI. Could your organisation be benefitting from early payment discounts? Could duplicate supplier invoices be identified more easily? Having carried out the above exercise hopefully you will start to get a picture of where some intangible benefits may be gained although these are often a little bit more difficult to quantify until there is sufficient information in the EDMS and significant user adoption throughout the organisation. Without going into too much detail some of these benefits might include;
- Improved internal operations/business processes
- Gaining a competitive edge over your competition
- Improved customer satisfaction/retention
- Ability to repurpose information once locked on paper
- Develop a simple matrix to identify business requirements.
- Hopefully by this point we have established;
- Which business unit/units have the most immediate/obvious need.
- Which business unit/units will provide the fastest ROI.
When defining your objectives ensure you get everybody involved, especially the likely end users, not only will this decrease resistance to user adoption but will provide a multitude of ideas that may not have been previously uncovered. In the next article of this series we will be looking in detail at document scanning or more specifically document capture.