Tips for Moving from Paper to Digital Document Management
Digital document management is a system used to store documents and information in a manner that:
- Reduces file search time
- Reduces the potential of lost files
- Increases file retrieval rate
- Frees up expensive physical office space
- Increases security by making it harder for files to be lost, misfiled, seen or stolen
- Backups can be easily and cost effectively stored in both remote and separate locations
Tips for a Successful Move
1. It Isn’t Necessary to Be Completely Paperless
When we imagine moving from a paper-based document management system to a digital system, we think completely “paperless” is the goal. It isn’t. Don’t be misled by this term and then deterred from making the move. In moving away from paper-based processes, the aim is to decrease paper use rather than remove it completely.
2. Plan in Advance
Don’t attempt to make the transition too rapidly. Plan well ahead and get key leaders on board. Share the plan with your leaders who will, in turn, communicate with their teams about the process and outcome you are aiming for. Consider where the process could get stalled or derailed and have solutions planned to get back on track with minimal disruption. Take the process one step at a time, and at a pace you and your company can manage.
3. Determine What Data Will be Converted
All your data may not need to be digitized and entered into the new system. You may have paper files that still need to be retained or aren’t regularly accessed. These can remain stored in paper format.
4. Destroy Paper Records
Unless it is required that they be kept indefinitely, paper records should be destroyed at the end of their lifecycle. Keeping them longer poses an unnecessary security risk. Following the retention periods established for your paper records is a vital part of the move process.
5. Use the Services of a Professional Scanner
The enormous task of scanning your paper records at the right file size and image quality requires trained professionals and sophisticated equipment. Due to the slow and cumbersome operation of small business scanning equipment, a DIY approach will cost you far more in the long run than having an outside organization digitize your files.
6. Operate Digitally Whenever Possible
An easy way to move from paper-based to digital document management is to, whenever possible, stop creating paper files. For example, forms should be completed either digitally or online rather than in paper form. Share files electronically, rather than printing paper copies. And encourage all communication to be done digitally.
7. Review Regularly
Take the time to review how well you are transitioning from paper to digital and look for places to improve if you aren’t satisfied with your results. Talk with staff members to evaluate the challenges and celebrate their successes. Schedule training sessions to keep current and new employees up to date with your digital document management process.
8. Get Professional Help
Pacific Records Management provides scanning for any size project so you can digitize your desired files quickly and efficiently. We will also store your paper files offsite and make them available on short notice with our scan on demand service. When you are ready to make the move from paper-based to digital document management with our knowledgeable professionals, give us a call at 800-685-9034 or complete the form on this page.