We advise our clients to go paperless wherever possible and whenever practical.
Dallas, TX (PRWEB) January 12, 2012
So the decision has been made to go paperless. Congratulations! Finally that filing cabinet of papers in the guest room can be eliminated. Or maybe a small business has paper files, receipts, inventory lists, reports, etc. are filed away, but they're usually hard to find when they're needed. Worse yet, is a business that is now required by law to provide documents through some sort of electronic distribution means. The problem is that most businesses have what seems to be endless folders stored in a warehouse or that back room no one is using.
Whether in an office or at home, the ubiquitous paper giant looms over everyone and promises to rob them of precious time and resources. Most are in a hurry to get this problem and discomfort under control. Choosing a good electronic document system and even some new hardware, like a fast scanner, may be necessary to get started. There are several factors involved when selecting a solution. "Without proper preparation and consideration of all your needs, you may select a paperless tool that cannot grow with you", says Don Hunter, Senior Vice President of Operations at PaperErasers Systems.
"Our clients usually run into 5 pitfalls when they're considering a tool to help them with online document storage in an office or at home", says Don Hunter. Below are 5 pitfalls and some meaningful advice Hunter gives his customers:
Pitfall 1. Doing more work to be paperless than necessary - PaperErasers advises clients to go paperless wherever possible and whenever practical. The company emphasizes the practical because there may be situations where trying to go paperless will cost too much time or money. Most people are too busy to sort through piles of paper and determine what information is important to keep and what should be discarded.
Therefore, look for a paperless solution that can offer hands on service to capture and shred the current paper mess. More importantly the solution should be able to help you, "keep the effort going" with a simple method to continually capture documents in regular intervals.
Pitfall 2. Letting paper pile up - When looking at a mound of paper covered in a month's worth of dust it becomes very difficult to imagine that the information there could be important. The problem is that people often don't review paper as it comes into their hectic lives. One of our customers had received a $13,500 check from an unfortunate accidental death case. Funny thing is that she discovered it only after sorting through four months worth of mail in her office.
Again, identifying a solution that can provide physical assistance with sorting through paper is a must. The right solution can provide on-site professional support or a paperless mail service for important documents. Also consider using the “keep or discard” method. As soon as a piece of mail or other paper is received, decide immediately whether to keep it or discard it and stack them in two separate piles. A little bit of this everyday beats waiting until the paper piles out of control.
Pitfall 3. Using too many tools at once - Scanners, cameras, smartphones, cloud resources, computer and phone software are everywhere. So much so that many become overwhelmed with the resources and often cannot settle on the best one. The new paperless user winds up with a fragmented and sometimes duplicated electronic filing system.
It is necessary to determine what functions are most important and prioritize the tool selections focusing on those that provide most of what is needed. For example, some online document or cloud based solutions seem great because they often offer a great deal of storage at a low cost. But, some of the same challenges exist as with paper, documents are hard to find because they’re imbedded in folders or they are hard to share with people who need them, etc.
A good solution should capitalize on today's technology using enhanced search and distribution capabilities. The right solution will offer a way to email documents to colleagues, clients, or vendors or provide limited user access so they can retrieve information whenever they wish. Stay clear of those solutions that force the email receiver to open a webpage back to their site. This is a cumbersome advertising ploy and many IT departments will not allow their employees to access these sites. A direct email transmission is best.
Pitfall 4. To store on the cloud or to store onsite - That is the question. Both choices offer considerable benefits, but come with an equally disturbing number of challenges. Storing at home or in the office is very safe when using an encrypted hard-drive and a frequent, consistent backup schedule is implemented. The solution is often a one time and low cost outlay for hardware. The challenge is that like most electronic devices, no one can predict when they are going to fail. And it is just a matter of when, not if. That failure is notorious for happening when least expected, like two days before the next scheduled backup.
Portability and mobility become difficult. If the user is out and needs a file that’s on the hard-drive in the office, well tough luck. Or, if the computer or hard drive is stolen or damaged in a fire or flood, all bets are off. The latest statics show that after flat screen TVs, today's burglars are coming after computer equipment. Laptops are particularly risky and prone to theft or loss.
On the other hand, online document storage offers a sound solution as long as paying a regular monthly fee is acceptable. Cloud systems rarely lose data and they are very secure. Check for those that are used in larger businesses or financial institutions with government recommended security protocols. The cloud solution should be robust but easy to use.
A system that does little more than duplicate the physical file cabinet method of storage and retrieval is becoming outdated. If scanning through a long list of file names and remembering the specific folder location is necessary, that important insurance document might as well have been sitting in the back closet. The best cloud solution will have several methods to retrieve documents including a keyword search, a "document type" search, or even user name and client name search for business solutions.
Pitfall 5. Printing stored documents rather than using alternative read or share methods - This has got to be one of the most confounding challenges with going paperless today. Many professionals are still printing documents to review, approve and route throughout an organization. Although this style takes up precious resources, it is a very challenging habit to break. Everyone in the organization will need to commitment to the idea of embracing a no waste attitude. If done successfully, hundreds or thousands of dollars can be saved in printing equipment and services.
A good solution will help with tools like allowing on screen review of multiple documents at once. As stated earlier, the solution should offer a complete sharing system and even a way to route documents for approval throughout the company as necessary.
Anyone can learn to review documents without printing them. Over a short period of time most will find it easier to scan through information on a screen rather than print. Running a quick search for keywords in an online document is so simple on screen as opposed to scanning through printed pages for those keywords.
PaperErasers is the most comprehensive online document management service that allows businesses and households to reduce paper workload by more than 90%. Users can quickly and easily capture, manage, archive, retrieve, and distribute mission-critical documents, eliminating the need for filing cabinets, storage facilities, scanner-copiers, fax machines, and paper files. Users can also take advantage of the Paperless Mail service to capture data and eliminate the workload involved in going paperless. PaperErasers operates out of Dallas, TX. For more information visit PaperErasers.com or call 1-888-614-2510.