3 Easy Steps to Kickstart Your Electronic Document Management Journey

IBM i, Windows
Kick start your journey
November 14, 2016


Electronic document management is a journey, not a destination.

Sure, you may have a destination in mind—for instance, getting all of your organization’s documents digitized. But there’s so much more to it than that. There’s documents and forms and processes and time and money and so many other things to think about.

And that’s why it’s so easy to get overwhelmed.

It’s time to make document management simple.

Let’s start with what you know: your organization’s current system for managing documents isn’t exactly perfect today. If it was, you wouldn’t be here. But at the same time, you’re at a loss for how to begin looking for a better system.

For one, there are endless varieties of documents to consider. Documents vary by purpose (accounts payable invoices vs. maintenance reports). And documents often exist in various forms that will require different strategies to handle (paper vs. electronic).

Plus, there are other facets of document management to consider as well. Processes are likely involved with many of your documents. Information on documents might need to be manually entered into a back-end system. And creating documents might involve following ancient practices (i.e. pre-printed forms).

On top of all that, you’re bursting with questions. Is going paperless realistic? What do these documents actually mean—and what do they cost? Can you recoup the start-up cost of implementing a document management system?

All in all, there is so much to consider—and that means a lot of information to go searching for. But instead of searching, you could just:

Start here.

Simply follow the three steps outlined below to gather the crucial information you need to begin your document management journey.  

Step 1: Get the Document Management Guide

The first step in your journey is to understand the document management lifecycle.

Documents start in the “capture” phase, live most of their life in the “manage” phase, and periodically enter the “distribute” phase.

Capture is by far the most complicated phase of the document management lifecycle. Having a variety of document types means many moving parts to capture each type of document in your organization. Plus, there’s the matter of preparing documents for easy retrieval with indexing.

Manage is the primary phase of any document’s life. It’s where your documents live happily in a digital system where you can always immediately find them whenever they’re need. Bonus: you can finally kick those filing cabinets to the curb.

Distribute is a phase documents enter every now and then. Some documents need to be distributed for approval upon creation or arrival. Occasionally, documents are called on long after they’ve been stored and need to be delivered to a customer or vendor.

To complete the first step of your journey, read up on all three phases in The Document Management Guide

Step 2: Find Answers in the Document Management FAQ

Now that you understand the basics of the document management lifecycle, you’re ready to take your second step: getting answers.

For one, you might wondering if it’s actually possible to go paperless. After all, how can you possible stop everyone at your organization from printing documents anyway?

Maybe you’re curious if scanning documents would be enough to take care of your document management problem. Perhaps you’re wondering how a document management system keeps documents secure. Or it might be that you already distribute documents by email and you’re not sure how document management would improve that process.

By reading the Document Management FAQ, you’ll find the answers to all of these questions—and more. 

Step 3: Figure Out Your Document Management ROI

You know what the document management lifecycle entails. Your burning questions have been answered. And now it’s time for the third step: finding out your potential ROI from electronic document management.

Numbers are an important consideration for upper management. When you don’t have numbers, it’s nearly impossible to prove that document management is worth the investment. So, give upper management the bottom line.

Use the ROI calculator to determine your potential savings in five key areas:

  • Paper use
  • Employee time
  • Filing cabinets and outsourced document scanning/storage
  • Departmental processes
  • Human error

With numbers in hand, you’ll be able to make decision on the right document management approach for your organization and you’ll be able to sell it to your management team.

What Now?

Document management needs to be the right fit for your organization and your unique processes.

That’s why every demo at HelpSystems starts with a conversation about what your organization is doing now and what part(s) of document management are most essential to your company. Perhaps you want to start by capturing all paper documents. Your documents might already be digital, but you’re looking for a way to securely store them and retrieve them more quickly. Or maybe you want to start with a specific department, like accounts payable.

Whatever your needs may be, a HelpSystems solution is there to help you along your electronic document management journey.


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