Paperless– are you looking for ideas to make this happen in your office?

With an eye on becoming more organized and efficient, many small businesses are adopting a paperless office environment.Assisting in this challenge are document management systems, which allow you to easily sort, edit and distribute documents to others. These systems help businesses increase productivity, save time, operate in multiple locations, support remote workers, meet compliance requirements, reclaim office space and solve a wide range of business problems.

Using document management solutions is a great way to organize all of your paper and digital files in a central location, where everyone in the office has access.

“It’s a challenge for companies to keep up with all the paperwork and electronic files that come into a home office or business every day,” Pickard told Business News Daily. “It generally starts slowly — an email here, a receipt there, incoming invoices and customer correspondence. And before you know it, you’ve got a mountain of paper and no way to find the documents you need.”

Document management systems give you a framework for organizing all of those papers. These systems work in tandem with scanners, which convert your paper documents into digital versions.

When looking into document management, you will encounter several types of tools: document management systems, document management software and document management solutions. In reality, however, they all accomplish the same tasks.

However, a document management system is different from online storage, which simply provides a place for you to store a variety of documents. Document management systems do much more. They’re essentially electronic libraries that can be easily searched, shared and managed. Some of the specific functions you can use document management systems for include:

  • Storing various document types, including word-processing files, emails, PDFs and spreadsheets
  • Creating new files directly within the system that can be edited and shared with others
  • Searching an entire library of files by individual keyword
  • Sharing documents with co-workers, departments and clients
  • Restricting access to certain documents
  • Monitoring who is viewing documents and when
  • Tracking edits being made to documents
  • Retrieving previous versions of edited documents
  • Controlling and regulating when out-of-date documents can be deleted
  • Accessing, editing and sharing documents via mobile devices

When using document management systems, you have the option of installing and running them on your own computer or network or accessing them via the cloud. Many providers of both options offer various versions of their software, which vary by storage space and features.

Costs for document management systems vary greatly. On-premise systems typically require higher upfront costs, including a one-time fee for the software based on the number of computers it’s being installed on. Cloud-based versions typically charge monthly fees based on the number of users. These can typically range anywhere from $10 to $100 per user, per month.

Additionally, many on-premise and cloud-based options charge initial setup fees. This can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the number of users.

Since keeping things organized is critical for success, there are few businesses — regardless of size — that couldn’t benefit from a document management system. Any business that handles forms, correspondence, emails, files, printouts, personnel or client files, charts, data, or any other type of paper or electronic document can use this type of solution to become more efficient.

Compared to those that still rely on paper files and folders, small businesses with an overarching system in place to handle all their information operate at a vastly superior level of productivity.

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