IN THIS ISSUE
Is Document Management Green Technology?
Adapting to Business Process Change
News and Events
DocuVantage OnDemand® User Quick Tip
DocuVantage Talk: What's the Latest?
NEWS AND EVENTS
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Is Online Document Management Green Technology?
For years, document management vendors have been promoting web-based document management as one solution to improving your organization’s ecological footprint. In fairness, it is true that using electronic document management can cut down on the use of paper. Here’s how:
As we all know, legally, documents no longer have to be paper. Electronic documents can serve as your legal documents. There may be some caveats to this, but let’s just assume that this is the case. So the question is: “how do documents become electronic documents?”
If we start with a paper document, it can be scanned into your electronic document management system. Unfortunately, it started as paper so we’ve already lost some of the ecological benefit of going paperless. We haven’t lost all of it because electronic documents can be viewed online and don’t need to be copied to enable multiple people to use the documents at the same time.
If we start with an electronic document, it never becomes paper. Even better!
The “Green Factor”, touted by most document management companies, is in the reduction of using paper. This helps save trees which produce oxygen as well as removes the need for ink products and the other impacts of paper production. This is all true. And if we could eliminate the use of paper entirely it would make a tremendous impact on the environment.
A bigger impact on the environment is often unseen. Once you have your documents stored in an electronic document management system, they are accessed via a computer. Yes, I know that’s an obvious statement. But let’s take it a step further. If your electronic document management system allows for access via a web browser, then the computer does not have to be in your office.
Think about what this means. The biggest “Green” benefit is almost always overlooked. Your staff does not have to commute to your office to get their work done. That’s right, they can work from home. If you use electronic document management correctly, and allow your staff to work from home, at least part of the time, they use their cars less. Further, the average home is more energy efficient than the average office building. With less people in the office, there is less energy use at the office. Combined, these are two very powerful factors.
Less paper is important for a Green initiative. Enabling remote workers is an even bigger factor. Let’s answer the original question: “is document management green technology?” Yes it is. But that alone may not be enough to convince many organizations to adopt it.
So how do you get there? Unless your company is truly committed to a “Green” workplace, this won’t happen because of the ecological benefits alone. People implement web-based or hosted document management because it reduces costs and improves efficiency. Sorry, but the ecological benefits are usually not considered. That does not mean that they aren’t important; it means that other factors typically drive the adoption of document management.
So, if you would like to go “Green” with online electronic document management, call us. We’ll show you how this will reduce your costs and improve your organization’s productivity. Those results will get it adopted. And together, we can help make your organization more “Green” in the process.
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Adapting to Business Process Change
People adapt to their surroundings. We make accommodations based on the circumstances we find ourselves in. This is true in our personal lives as well as in our business lives.
As a company that helps organizations improve their efficiency through the implementation of online document management and workflow, the first thing we do with any potential client is to find out what their current state is. This leads right back to our observation, people adapt to their surroundings.
When we analyze the current state, we find ingenious ways that people get their job done. They look at the obstacles to accomplishing their daily tasks and they find work-a-round solutions. Over time, these solutions become part of the methodology on how things get done. Unfortunately, over time, circumstances change. What once was ingenious usually becomes just a process that has lost its purpose.
Let’s look at a specific example. At one government agency, they had to disburse copies of a document to multiple government organizations and to their citizens. The document was an 8-part carbonless form. When people filled out the form, the data rarely made it to the 6th page, let alone the 8th. The agency that we worked with kept the 8th copy. They basically were keeping blank, or almost blank, pages.
When they decided to get rid of their paper and move to an electronic document management system, they asked us to include services to scan the documents. This is where experience comes in; we analyzed their problem and asked them what they did with the top copy. It was a beautiful clean white original. It turns out they mailed them to another government agency. One ingenious manager hired a person to go to the other agency to copy the original page. they also started making a copy of the first page before sending. Over time, they stored both the copy of the original and the blank page. As part of the initial project, we provided scanning services and scanned the clean photocopy of the original page. Going forward, we scanned the original page before they sent to the other agency, eliminating the need to copy it the original.
So, did it make any sense to store the 8th and blank copy? Not really. But that was the way things were done. After the scanning project was started, they still saved the copy of the first page. Why? Because that was their process. ("we've always done it that way") Again, this is where experience comes into play. Once we were able to show them the reliability of electronic document management they no longer needed to make the backup paper copies.
If you look at your organization you will probably find that people have created all sorts of ways to get their jobs done. The only real solution to improving efficiency is to analyze what your organization really does and use that to determine what it really should be doing.
Creating paper copies might have been a good idea at one point, but looking at the entire process enables you to truly streamline your organization in an intelligent way. Finding the people with the ingenious ideas is helpful too. Get them into the process so they can look at the big picture. If they were ingenious before, imagine what they can do with some encouragement.
So people do adapt to their circumstances. Take advantage of that aspect of human nature to make your organization better.
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