Many organizations are making the shift to remote work, creating a rise in the digital workplace and remote workforce. As a result, the landscape of business processes and operations is rapidly changing. Businesses need to find tools and systems to help their employees succeed.
One of the most important obstacles organizations face is how to give their geographically dispersed remote teams access to important records and data in order for them to complete their tasks and projects. According to AIIM, the 3 most important steps to ensure a successful digital workplace is by digitizing all records, streamlining and automating business processes, and determining how to provide remote access.
Whether you have microfilm, microfiche, or paper records, you should consider digitizing your records into digital files and importing them into a document management system (DMS). By digitizing your records, you’ll address some of the most important issues about remote work, such as accessibility, collaboration, and security. Once you’re able to address these issues through digitization, you’ll be one step closer to being a successful organization in today’s remote-centric environment.
Digitizing your records allows your employees to access documents from anywhere in the world. When you partner with a scanning company for your digitization project, your physical records are converted into digital files, making them accessible and shareable in just a few clicks.
Accessibility is especially important in the world of remote work. Your employees may not have the option to walk to where you store your records in the office to retrieve documents and make copies of them. And because some employees will be remote and others will not, they cannot physically exchange documents with their colleagues. Your employees could be dispersed across cities, states, and beyond. Geographic barriers make the ability to have remote access to records very important in today’s remote workforce.
With a document management system, your employees can access your electronic records because it’s virtually stored in one place. If you have an application like Digital ReeL, all your digitized documents are loaded into a portal that your employees will be able to access from anywhere as long as they have a device that has an internet connection. They’ll be able to access important data needed to complete their work from the comfort of their own homes!
By having your records digitized, you can improve your document management capabilities, streamline business processes, and create better workflows for your remote teams. Placing your digitized files in a single virtual records system reduces silos and centralizes your records storage.
Once you digitize your records, the flow of information will improve as people can easily send and share electronic records. The ease of information flow can make or break your team’s productivity in a remote working environment. Harvard Business Review cited a study that showed “that remote workers often feel cut off from the information flow they would typically get in a physical office.”
With teams dispersed, you need everyone to be on the same page. If information travels smoothly from all parties, you can keep your remote workforce updated and informed because all the information they need is at their fingertips.
Another way digital records can streamline your processes is by reducing your information retrieval times. A survey conducted by IDC claims that information workers spend on average 11.2 hours each week dealing with a variety of challenges related to working with documents. You can reduce this time if you organize and index your digitized files properly. By having a uniform filing system in place and knowing where to look, employees can locate the documents they need in a matter of seconds.
You can also apply optical character recognition (OCR) technology to your digital files to capture keywords and phrases and make them text-searchable. A way to look at OCR is that you don’t need to know where something is, just what you need. As an example, if you had your pension member records recently digitized from microfilm, but didn’t get member-level indexing, OCR would allow you to still search for a name, social security number, or other such identifier and locate the record in question. This can significantly reduce the time spent looking for records that aren’t indexed or aren’t indexed properly.
Digitizing records will create better workflows and increase productivity. It frees up your employee to focus on other important tasks, such as generating more revenue and providing better customer service.
Even though your teams are spread out, they still need to work together to get tasks done. To ensure this happens, they need the tools that can foster collaboration. According to Gartner, “content collaboration platforms play a leading role” in the remote work environment.
When your records are digitized, multiple people can access the files simultaneously, or at a minimum be able to quickly share the electronic file through a collaboration tool. Just having an already-digitized record reduces the wasted effort of finding a physical copy, scanning it at the shared office scanner or your own desktop scanner, naming it, then sending it.
If you’re using a document management application, any employee on the team will be able to see when their colleagues make a change or add notes and comments to a file. This prevents individuals from having different versions of a file, which could lead to missed information, duplicate work, or not knowing when it’s their turn to contribute. All updates and edits will be available for everyone to see.
Having an electronic document management system that fosters collaboration will ensure that everyone is on the same page and reduces the time spent waiting for others to make and send edits.
Security is a major concern of the digital workplace. How can organizations keep important data and records secure?
Many document management systems have a variety of features that allow system administrators a lot of control. Administrators can decide when and who can access each file, which devices are permitted access to the records, encrypt data, and restrict access to certain documents with password protection.
Another method to secure data access is for system administrators to implement an IP filter, or “IP lock.” An IP lock is when admins limit access to a particular system to the location of an IP address. So, if you have a remote worker, you can add an IP lock that only allows the employee to access your records system when they’re at their home (where the IP address is located). The benefit of this is that if for some reason their login credentials are compromised, access to the system would only be possible from your employee’s IP address.
Storing your digitized records in a document management system improves security by providing an audit trail of document access. You’ll be able to see which employees are in your application and when, which files they looked at and used, and other actions such as downloads, edits, and so on.
If you have sensitive information on your records, admins can redact sensitive information so that only certain individuals with the right security clearance can view the data. This prevents the wrong eyes from seeing information that they’re not supposed to see.
Finally, digitizing your records reduces the risks of losing important documents. The chances of losing and misplacing a physical file are higher than if it were a digital file. According to Konica Minolta, “between 2% and 5% of an organization’s files are lost or misfiled on any given day,” meaning that 1 out of every 20 documents is lost. Not only are your physical records losing value sitting in an empty office space, but your documents are also prone to deterioration, natural disasters, and security threats. Instead of leaving your physical records in an office, you can digitize your files and make sure they’re safely stored or backed up in a cloud-hosted environment that has the necessary security protocols in place.
No matter if we like remote work or not, it’s hard to deny that it’s here to stay. Now is the time to make changes to your operations and processes to support your remote teams. One of the best ways to start is by digitizing your records, especially if your employees regularly need to access information to successfully carry out their work. Digitizing your records is the starting point to your organization’s digital transformation as a whole, which will help you quickly adapt to any changes in the workplace and succeed in the world of remote work.
If you’re ready you digitize your records, call us at 800.359.3456 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll have one of our reps help you create a plan to digitize your records and create a remote-ready digital system.
For more information about records digitization, take a look at the articles below:
“10 Best Reasons For Document Scanning” covers the top reasons why an organization should scan their documents.
“5 Considerations For Choosing A Document Management System” goes over various components you should consider when you are on the market for a new DMS.
“Choosing A Partner For Your Secure Scanning Project” defines secure scanning and provides ideas on what to look for when you choose a scanning partner for your digital conversion project.