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How Digitizing Documents Gives Your Business a Competitive Advantage

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How Digitizing Documents Gives Your Business a Competitive Advantage

As of 2015, only 18 percent of companies considered themselves paperless. Three years later, with more communication being done online, this still presents a significant opportunity. Cheaper computer memory and faster internet speeds make clusters of filing cabinets obsolete.

Moving away from paper-based processes brings your company a number of benefits that can add up to strong competitive advantage. Here are just some of the ways that digital document management can help your company surpass its rivals.

1. Cut Expenses

With an emphasis on digital documents, you’ll save on paper, printers and copiers, toner, file cabinets, shredders, and all the equipment and office supplies that hard copies required. You’ll also save money on less time wasted in filing and retrieving documents, scurrying back and forth to the printer, and shuffling through desktop clutter.

Paperless processes will make your team more cost-efficient and add to your profit margin. This gives you more money to invest in business growth.

2. Longer Lasting

Hard copies stored at your business can be destroyed by fire, storm, leaky pipes, or even a spilled cup of coffee. Digital files are more durable than paper records.

As long as they are periodically backed up or copied to offsite storage such as the cloud, they can be available for analysis or review. This can be essential for companies like healthcare or financial institutions that must demonstrate compliance with federal regulations.

3. Added Security

Paper files can be removed, lost, or stolen. Enterprising thieves may sort through your trash to find useful information for committing fraud or identity theft.

Digital files can be password-protected and encrypted for a double layer of protection. In most modern storage systems, you can also set user-level permissions on who can read or edit documents and monitor access through network user logs.

4. Searchable Content

Documents become digital data that can be automatically tagged, indexed, and searched by software. This includes images, video, and audio files.

Searching data and gathering the information you need for finance or marketing studies can be done in seconds compared to the frustrating task of chasing paper trails. This is a significant advantage for manufacturing or retail companies that need current data to drive decision making.

5. Streamlined Communication

In other companies, they’ll be constantly organizing paperwork and carrying documents manually from point A to point B across the whole company. Digital storage allows files to be stored on an independent server where they can be accessed by anyone with the right permission.

Versioning programs allow you to track every change that’s made or roll them back when necessary so everyone is working from the same information. Legal firms, for instance, need to verify that forms are meticulously prepared before going to court.

6, Better Collaboration

Facilitating collaboration among teams or departments is easier when documentation flows easily and is updated punctually. A sheet of paper helps only one person at a time, while shared files can benefit all team members.

Centralized storage online can benefit teams operating at both a local and a global scale. With cloud sharing solutions such as OneDrive, you have a convenient and popular platform that works well with the productivity tools employees are already using.

7. Automated Workflow

With digital documents, you can automate a wide variety of internal processes. Tasks like distributing documents, attaching approvals or notes, data validation, updates, and work assignments can be done by the system.

This creates a smoother workflow and a more efficient operation. Companies that rely on documentation to organize efforts will find that digital formats make work easier and less stressful for a happier environment.

8. Better Informed

When so much of the workflow is bound up in paper, part of the day is wasted in searching through paper clutter or waiting on the right documents in the hope that they weren’t lost in someone else’s clutter. A system for digital document management allows you to find the right documents with a quick search.

This is a huge advantage for distributors and service companies. You can more quickly respond to requests from customers or check on the progress of different projects.

9, Improved Productivity

When less time is spent in the process of printing, distributing, and sifting through paper documents, you and your staff have that much more time to devote to important activities. The workflow moves faster and output spikes.

All of your capacities will increase and your timelines shrink. Your operations will provide greater value for the customer.

10. A Stronger Brand

When a customer’s perceptions of value are heightened, it raises the power of your brand. Vendors and purchasers will associate your company with traits like reliability, environmental responsibility, and high performance.

This creates more good feelings and experiences that will improve the impact of your content. The higher the visibility of your brand, the more you outshine competitors.

All the tools for making the transition to paperless operations are available. The savings in time and costs translate to lower costs, improved productivity, and better customer satisfaction. If you expect to stay ahead of the competition, these are three business principles you can’t afford to ignore.

Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today's business and marketing. When she’s not being all serious and busy, she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, and delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Tweet her @JazzyWilliams88.

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