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Online document management and the paperless office: dream or reality?

There’s no doubt that a paperless office could offer a whole host of advantages and converting to digital file storage is an unbeatable way to reduce inefficiencies in workflows, increase productivity and save on the costs of buying paper and ink. However, although the idea of a paperless office seems like a no-brainer, the majority of businesses still rely on paper.

Not only do most businesses still rely heavily on paper documentation, the annual growth rate for the amount of paper used by an average company is, in fact, growing. Unfortunately there’s no denying that businesses print more than they’ve ever done before so with this in mind, is a paperless office a realistic goal?

The advantages of online document management

A reliance on paper or switching to digital both have pros and cons. Connectivity is one of the many benefits of digitizing paper documents and the ability to access data from anywhere at any time can be particularly liberating. Digitizing documents allows colleagues to connect whether they’re working from home or on a business trip abroad and this, in turn, allows for the seamless integration of contractors or freelancers into the workflow as and when required.

It goes without saying that cutting down on printing will reduce your overheads but it’s also worth considering the often overlooked costs of document storage and disposal. Storing thousands of paper documents can prove to be very expensive indeed, especially if it involves investing in extra space to keep them in. This is one of the main reasons why increasing numbers of companies are choosing to store their files in off-site servers as not only does this take up a fraction of the space, it reduces the cost of destroying sensitive information.

‘Searchability’ is yet another major benefit of going digital. Just imagine being able to search through hundreds of documents for one particular piece of information – all at the touch of a button. This alone is can prove to be the one thing that persuades a company to convert. But if all these benefits are so great, why do so companies still choose to rely on paper?

Secure online document management solutions from Pro-Doc

The risk of losing valuable information is a big concern for many companies and with this in mind it’s understandable that many still find the stability of paperwork reassuring. However there are solutions to this and here at Pro-Doc we provide safe and secure document storage solutions, designed to provide complete peace of mind.

In conclusion it’s safe to say that the majority of office tasks are much easier and quicker when they’re done digitally. The most realistic approach to the paperless office could be a web-based organisation which works hard to keep its paper use as ‘light’ as possible. This approach gives space for digital systems to correct inefficiencies in paper-centric workflows and systems, whilst avoiding pushing paper out of the picture altogether. At the end of the day, if it’s better and more efficient to do something digitally then go for it, but if not, feel free to stick to pen and paper.

 

rolls of legal documents

Document management storage advice for legal firms

The challenge of document management for legal firms

Keeping on top of that never-ending mountain of paperwork is something of a headache for most businesses but for legal companies, storing and managing files and paper documents is a real challenge. Document storage has been an issue for the legal community for centuries but thanks to the wide range of services now offered by many firms, managing documents is now more of an issue than ever before. However, having effective document management strategies and systems can make all the difference in terms of security, productivity and profitability so here are a few ideas to help you keep on top of that paperwork mountain:

Carry out a document ‘stock take’

A document management strategy will only work if you know what documentation you already have and this means identifying where everything is stored and how long you need to keep it for. The majority of legal firms we work with keep a wide range of hardcopy and electronic documents alongside client files, such as staff timesheets and personnel records, for example.

It’s important to bear in mind that each different type of document will need to be retained for a specific period and you’ll need to familiarise yourself with each retention period – a spreadsheet can come in handy for keeping track of this.

Get rid of any documents you don’t need

Knowing what to keep and what to get rid of is vital and if you’ve been reluctant in the past to have a good clear out, it’s worth bearing in mind that holding on to documents longer than you need to  can increase your risk of a privacy breach and your liability. The best way to destroy unwanted legal documents in bulk is to use a secure document shredding service – so much quicker than sitting hunched over an office shredder for hours!

Ensure you have a storage plan

The ideal document management storage plan for your business will protect the information you hold, whilst ensuring that it is easily accessible to those who need to use it. Provided you have the right storage solution, your documents (physical and electronic) will be safe from unauthorised access, easy to locate and quick to retrieve.

Using a document storage service such as those offered by us here at Pro-Doc is one of the best ways to counteract the risks and costs posed by storing your paper documents on site. We can scan, store and archive your documentation, allowing you to view and then order your records whenever you need to.

Scanning for secure document storage and accessibility

Document scanning is another highly effective strategy that is designed to allow easy storage and accessibility. Access to scanned documents is only allowed to authorised users and when files are converted into a digital format using Optical Character Recognition, the can be searched by the author, client name, the date created or text within the document.

Contact Pro-Doc for advice and information

At Pro-Doc we offer a range of specialist legal services, including legal copying service, e-discovery services and e-disclosure services. If you would like to find out more, or to discuss your requirements, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for a chat.