Efficient document storage is a critical component of any modern office environment. But while there are a number of storage solutions to choose from, digital document management continues to reign supreme. Today, digital document services are more popular than ever, since going paperless allows agencies to organize, store, and access documents in a snap. In addition, digital files take up minimal space, and don’t require the use of expensive off-site storage. Although no system is perfect, digital document management comes pretty close, offering users a wealth of benefits to keep their office polished and performing its best. 

digital document management

3 solutions for digitizing your documents

Whether you’re somewhat familiar with document digitization or you have no idea where to begin, there are a handful of solutions to help you tackle this transformation. When it comes to digitizing your files, your agency can decide between scanning its paper documents, installing on-premise software, or using a cloud-based solution for the ultimate in accessibility.

1. Use traditional filing with paper documents

If you have a traditional filing system with a small quantity of paper documents, you can actually digitize your files using a scanning app on your smartphone or tablet. Alternatively, you could also opt to use a desktop scanner instead (albeit a more tedious approach). Keep in mind with a physical scanner, you’ll have to take into account the size of paper it can handle, the speed at which it scans, whether it scans in color, and the final resolution it yields. So while scanning documents yourself might be a sufficient way to kick off the digitization process, it can become quite the undertaking if you have a large volume of papers or irregular file types.

2. Install software on-premise

Document management software is a great substitute for rooms full of filing cabinets, as it creates an electronic archive any permissioned user can access and edit. On-premise management systems require agencies to install licensed software on their own computers or network, meaning relevant information is stored solely within their office on designated servers. The catch is, you’re responsible for maintaining current versions of the software (which often includes additional fees for updates) — and you’ll need IT staff who can oversee both the software and hardware elements, as well as your data and security features. 

3. Use a cloud-based solution

Cloud-based document management supplies everything you need for file processing and storage, including ongoing maintenance and upgrades. Typically, an agency just has to pay a periodic fee (based on the total number of users), and then the third-party provider handles all the necessary data backups, security details, and more. Cloud solutions allow you to manage digital content from a centralized location, access content in the cloud anytime/anywhere, and even ensure regulatory compliance with records retention schedules. Simply put, cloud-based digitization makes record keeping easier and more effective than ever before.

cloud-based digital document management solution

8 benefits of using a cloud-based digital document solution

When you replace your paper-based processes with digital document solutions, you have the power to revolutionize your entire agency. That’s because cloud-based document management offers a wide range of benefits to your business, from tighter security and smoother compliance, to cost savings and faster retrieval. With advanced digitization, your office can ramp up its productivity levels and start seeing measurable results in no time at all. 

1. Tighter security

When documents are digitized, it allows you to define the accessibility level for each person at your agency. More specifically, you have the option to limit users and password-protect your files, which significantly increases security as compared with traditional filing systems. This enhanced security protects you from data leaks, and safely manages your most confidential information. All that is to say, cloud storage security truly serves every department of your organization, by ensuring employee records are never inadvertently compromised.

2. Easier compliance

All personnel records (or similar documentation) have a specific retention schedule which indicates how long your organization must retain these files. In other words, these schedules dictate when you can release or destroy files that have become expendable. Once you digitize your records using a cloud-based solution, it’s notably easier to comply with these timelines and abide by all the legal parameters related to employee files. Better compliance also lends itself to better audits, and can help free up some extra space within the cloud, too. 

3. Cost savings

Paperwork is often the largest overhead expense for an organization, seeing as it’s referenced on a daily basis. And with so much paperwork in tow, it’s no wonder many agencies require ample storage to try and organize it all. Going paperless, however, reduces storage costs in a big way, since there’s no longer a need for additional office space or an off-site location to house everything. Digitization cleanly and easily stores all of your files in the cloud, saving you tons of money to then be utilized on other value-added endeavors.

4. Disaster protection

Another amazing benefit to the cloud is the ability to back up digital documents and protect your files from a potential disaster or unauthorized user. Like it or not, paper records are at risk of being stolen or corrupted, as well as being ruined in a flood, a fire, or other unforeseen occurrence. The good news is, cloud-based services can be trusted to safeguard your most important information in the event the worst does happen. This type of protection provides notable peace of mind, and it’s much less vulnerable than relying on paper records.  

5. Faster retrieval 

Without even realizing it, digging through paper documents can eat up a large percentage of the workday — not to mention, it doesn’t always guarantee accuracy. Fortunately, digital document management supports lightning-fast retrieval for your records, freeing you up to focus on your core objectives. By working at the speed of digital, your agency can locate its records instantly, which translates to increased productivity, better organization, and plenty of time remaining for those projects that have been waiting on the backburner. 

6. Greater accessibility

Cloud document solutions offer wonderful accessibility that can give a welcome boost to your data flow (and overall workflow, as well). With digitization, your agency can cite relevant documents from anywhere, thus breaking through the barriers of time, location, and simultaneous use. On top of that, digital files can be searched based on keywords or tags, which means no more combing through stacks of papers to find a specific document; rather, you can look up any record in seconds, and keep things running smoothly as a result. 

7. Helpful automations

With the help of digital document services, your agency can automate its most complex and time-consuming processes. For example, you can incorporate automatic backups for your data to alleviate any fears of misplaced information. Cloud automations are a reliable way to optimize your document management and prevent the loss of data — which is something that cannot be said in regard to paper records. What’s more, automatic backups are especially important given the confidential and/or legal nature of your employee files. 

8. Improved relationships

These days, fewer and fewer people conduct business via paper, and instead have made the switch to digital document management. Once you make the upgrade for yourself, you can demonstrate to your employees, clients, and fellow organizations that you’re ready to meet their needs with the greatest efficiency and ease. In that way, cloud-based solutions improve your professional relationships, as those you’re working with (and alongside) trust that all private information is stored safely, securely, and with their best interest in mind. 

SCDOT

How 3 different agencies manage their documents

South Carolina Department of Transportation

For years, the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) stored almost a century’s worth of transportation maps and drawings in a 30,000 square foot warehouse. Not only were these historical documents susceptible to loss and deterioration, they were also incredibly disorganized and cumbersome to use. For these reasons, the SCDOT turned to Image API to help preserve their history by digitally capturing each detail in its original form. 

Image API customized the digital output so images could be loaded directly into the SCDOT’s content management system, allowing for seamless, simple access to every file. Moreover, the department’s costs were greatly reduced by eliminating the need for a robust storage facility. 

New York City Housing Authority

With documents spread out across separate office locations in all five boroughs, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) was having immense difficulty locating specific case files. In addition to taking up an increasing amount of space, the NYCHA’s paper files were susceptible to loss and damage, and presented a challenge to processing the paperwork required to provide services. Their team finally sought the help of Image API, who implemented cutting-edge imaging services to digitize and organize over 1.4 million documents for the NYCHA offices.  

By creating these electronic case files, Image API was able to free up thousands of square feet of expensive office space, scale productivity by eradicating time spent searching for files, and improve the quality of services the NYCHA can now offer their clients.

Texas Department of Insurance

Until recently, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) was spending more than $300,000 annually to store Workers’ Compensation files, an expense that was continually growing due to increasing volumes and the labor it took to manage 20,000 boxes of case files. Accessing documents was a daily frustration, and the staff was struggling to respond to record requests in a timely manner. Thankfully, the TDI called on Image API to digitize over 800,000 case files, all of which happened on an accelerated schedule to align with the end to their warehouse lease.

More than 50 million images were delivered to the TDI over the course of the project; in turn, the department was relieved of paying hundreds of thousands in storage costs, and was able to dramatically improve the turnaround time for its records requests.

Digitize your documents with Image API

Storing paper documents is a costly and time-consuming approach to records management, and yet, too many agencies are still relying on piles of paperwork to do business. As time goes on, paper files are becoming more inconvenient, obsolete, and outperformed by today’s technology solutions — that is, digital record keeping for your most important information.

For the last 20 years, Image API has been helping organizations of all sizes simplify how they work, by leveraging the power of intelligent digitization, cloud content management, and digital process automation. Image API has the experience and expertise needed to solve all of your paper-related challenges, and to streamline how you circulate and share your files. When you operate at the speed of digital, you’ll be well on your way toward maximizing your time, achieving measurable results, and adding value to your agency across the board.

Digital document solutions FAQs

How do I convert paper to digital?

Whether you’re somewhat familiar with document digitization or you have no idea where to begin, there are a handful of options to help you convert your paper files to digital records. In general, most agencies choose between manually scanning their documents, installing on-premise software, or using a cloud-based solution for the ultimate in ease and accessibility.

How do most companies manage documents?

Today, most companies manage their documents with digital document services, such as cloud-based solutions. Cloud-based document management offers a wide range of benefits, from tighter security and easier compliance, to cost savings and faster retrieval. With advanced digitization, your office can ramp up its productivity levels in a major way. 

How long does it take to digitize documents?

The time it takes to digitize your documents hinges on a number of variables: how organized your files are in their current state, the volume of paperwork to be digitized, and the method you’re using in the digitization process. With that said, partnering with cloud-based services will take much less time than scanning each of your documents by hand.

 

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About Image API

Image API is on a mission to fundamentally simplify the way people work–with the power and speed of digital.  Our team has been delivering innovative technology solutions that solve paper and process challenges for over 20 years.  We are ready–with the expertise, experience, and technology necessary to deliver your digital strategy.

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About the Author: Meredith Kane

Meredith Kane is a freelance copywriter based in Des Moines, Iowa, not far from where she grew up. She's been creating SaaS and B2B content for the last several years, which is largely focused on the practical application of today's digital solutions.