You’ve got a lot of paperwork floating around, and you’ve converted most of it to digital, but you still don’t know what to do with it. You’re in the process of researching different methods of organization. What you really need is a system that helps you store and retrieve everything on-demand without a lot of fuss. What you need is a document management system.
There are so many scanning services out there, that it shouldn’t be hard to find one that fits your budget and needs. You can try to scan everything in-house but, unless you have a high-quality scanner capable of high-speed scanning, it’s probably better to just outsource everything. A professional digital management company, like Micro Com Systems, will be able to take all of your existing digital documents, and your remaining paper ones, and convert them to a usable format.
These formats include searchable PDFs, Word Documents, and even text files. If you have images, they can be stored in most popular formats like PNG or JPG. Special optical character recognition software scans the image for letters, words, and sentences and then makes the entire document editable after it is saved.
Once the scanned document is saved, it’s time to store it. Here, you have options. Most document management companies offer hosted solutions so that you don’t have to store anything on-site. This is beneficial if you ever need to access files while you’re away from the office, or if you’re concerned about catastrophic failure of your own business server.
Of course, you could just store everything on-site, and use a third-party backup service to manage encrypted backups of all of your company’s files. The main benefit with this approach is the cost savings and control. You’ll probably pay less to keep everything in-house, though you will have to spend extra time securing and maintaining the database.
Networked drives can be connected to your company’s router so that you gain wireless access to documents throughout your company, across the Intranet, and when you’re traveling. This is the perfect solution if you plan to keep everything in-house.
If you’re using a document management company, then the company will provide a hosted solution for you. Usually, this comes with remote access so that your entire company can access what it needs, when it needs it – regardless of where any individual employee happens to be. This is a good way to protect valuable data from fire, theft, or server failure.
If you need more advanced document management services, look for hosted solutions that provide automatic e-mail notification in the event of any changes, user authentication for enhanced security, digital signatures, targeted and custom solutions for your industry, multimedia filing so that you can intelligently integrate video, images, and text-based documents, and enhanced data encryption for more secure emailing and remote document access.
Most document management systems combine data storage space with custom software that goes beyond simple filing. For example, you’ll be able to perform document auditing and set expiration dates for your documents. Unless you have a dedicated IT team, these services are usually worth the money – especially for larger companies.
John Wycliffe is an experienced data management software developer at Micro Com Systems. His articles mainly appear on business and technology blogs.