7 surprising benefits of using a document management system
It's no secret that the digital era created seismic shifts in all areas of business. Some of these shifts prove beneficial, like high-speed cloud computing. Other shifts prove a constant source of stress, like hackers and data breaches.
One area where you can benefit is in the area of document management. With every department using standard forms or generating specialised documents, it's no small feat keeping track of all them.
A document management system can make this ongoing pain point a little less awful for your HR team. Let's look at some of the main benefits you can expect from a DMS.
How do you keep important and sensitive documents safe? Locking them in an office or file room only provides limited protection from physical theft. One careless employee can leave all your documents exposed to any random visitor.
Storing them on your company's private network is an improvement, but a network is only as secure as the people who use it. Let one employee fall prey to a phishing scam and the network is an open book.
A document management system largely removes these concerns by encrypting files and locking them behind another layer of security. Only your employees can access the files.
That leads us to the next benefit: access control.
2. Control access
In security, access control is all of the ways you prevent unauthorised access to a location or information. For digital security around information, this usually takes the form of permission roles.
Each employee or permission needs access to certain documents.
The new janitor might only need access to the employee handbook and some job-related checklists. The business owner needs complete access.
Assigning permission roles protects your documents and organisation in key ways. You protect from internal data breaches by strictly limiting who can access the people system.
You also protect from external breaches. Only a small number of people possess rights to all the sensitive documents. That reduces the odds that exposed credentials will cause a catastrophic breach.
3. Available 24/7
In a time of remote work and remote teams, employees often need documents at odd hours or from atypical locations.
Let's say Jill is in charge of finding a new IT person. She's working from home because her son is ill. She needs the updated job description to post the position on the relevant job sites.
If that document only exists on paper, in a folder at the office, Jill is done for the day. If that job description is in a document management system, she can simply log-in remotely and download it.
Maybe the company employs a graphic artist based in London. That artist's day may start six hours earlier than your business opens. If she needs an updated project brief, a DMS makes that simple.
4. Enhanced collaboration
Collaboration is an essential component in today's business environment, but it's a challenge when it means multiple people changing a document. It's easy for a team to end up with four or five versions of a document and no two versions match.
A DMS solves this problem maintaining a master document in one place. All changes end up in that document, so everyone's work remains intact.
5. Time and space saving
Ever said or heard someone say, "I know we created a document for X purpose. Do you know where we put it?"
Employees waste substantial working time and money searching for and making new versions of documents. If all important documents exist in a DMS, it saves time. Employees can simply look it up.
Pro Tip: Work out a file naming convention early to support digital search functions.
A DMS also saves you a lot of space. Digitising documents means you can destroy the old paper versions of many documents. That frees up office real estate for other, more productive uses.
After all, many organisations need entire rooms for file storage.
6. Greener office
Creating and maintaining paper documents comes at a high environmental cost. A company must manufacturer the paper. That means fossil fuel usage for raw material and finished product transport, as well as electricity usage.
You need multiple printers on-site, all of which need ink or toner cartridges. Those all come with manufacturing and transport costs. Ink production and use also increase the amount of volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere.
Constant paper use and document creation mean a substantial amount of paper waste. Even in companies that use strict recycling policies, a lot of paper still ends up in the waste bin.
By making most documents digital and housing them in a central location, like a DMS, you cut down on all of those environmental costs. You end up with a greener office. You can even tout it as a green initiative for your organisation.
7. Cost saving
Every document you print costs you money. It's not a lot on a per sheet basis, just a few cents of paper and ink. Stack up thousands or tens of thousands of pages, though, and it becomes a meaningful number.
There are also less obvious costs. The printers themselves cost money and they add to your electricity costs. You also buy fewer office supplies and can do away with your folder system.
Less document printing means fewer printers. It also means a lower electricity bill over time.
You also reduce costs with improvements in efficiency. The less time employees spend looking for documents or making new versions, the more time they spend on valuable work.
Parting thoughts on the benefits of using a Document Management System
A company needs a document management system that offers benefits that align with company needs. For example, most companies need cost reductions, waste reductions, and efficiency improvements. Better data security and improved collaboration help as well.
That's why we include a document management system in our HR software. It helps your organisation save time and money.
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