Before Going Paperless

Four Things Businesses Need To Consider

By Matt Peterson, President and CEO of eFileCabinet – Submitted on 02/11/2015

Today, businesses continue their commitment to reducing costs and improving profitability through innovation. This mindset represents a paradigm shift from the traditional practice of cost optimization as a reactive process. As recently as a decade ago, cost reduction was seen as the fate of an under-performing organization, achieved by lowering overall personnel costs through layoffs or the discounted sale of inventories. In today’s knowledge economy, cost reduction is a key component of a company’s pro-active, agile, innovative, strategic, and tactical direction. On average, a home or small business will spend 3% to 7% of its revenue on managing documents and filing paperwork — a tremendous opportunity waiting to be addressed.

The Paperless Office: Fostering Innovation and Optimization in Home Offices

In order to transform the products and services they create, small businesses around the world focus on differentiating themselves from a large field of competitors in terms of the nature and quality of the services they offer. One of the most apparent roadblocks to this differentiation is the lack of large financial reserves that large corporations enjoy. Creating a paperless office through document management software can be a challenge for a home business, given the stringent budgets and operating income. As a small business owner, one of the tried and tested methods to free up capital for business development is through the reduction of overall cost. A paperless office represents a tremendous opportunity for a home office to lower costs.

Going Paperless and Its Considerations

Going paperless is no simple task that can be implemented overnight. Any small business that attempts such a transition requires a planned and phased shift that is bound to raise questions about the effectiveness of a paperless model for small business. Small businesses represent a tremendous opportunity because of their transparent and quick decision-making as well as a low number of employees. Even so, the transition from a paper-based environment to a completely paperless one can leave an organization feeling overwhelmed and scrambling for a starting point that hasn’t been defined clearly. Carefully planned, a paperless office transition can be managed at a minimum cost to the company while preventing any disruption to daily operations. As a home business owner, you stand to reap the short-term, medium term, and long term benefits of such a change. Here are some of the considerations that may help your organization on the road to paperless operations:

Start Small. Paperless operations can be overwhelming if your line and staff are unprepared for such a drastic change. As a business owner, it is vital for you to consider the financial impact that the transition to an electronic document management solution can have. One of the largest roadblocks on the road to a completely paperless operation is the challenge of getting started. Implementing a customizable document management solution may be easy, but before your organization can choose a cloud based document management software, you need to understand your organization’s reliance on paper for documentation and reporting. Starting small involves educating your employees about the benefits of a paperless environment, and simple steps to go paperless. This does not mean you invest in software or spend weeks or months installing an electronic document management system while the transition plan remains on hold.

Starting small helps your organization acclimatize itself to the actual process of using email instead of paper memos, using PDF and scanned documents instead of physical copies. Investing in a scanner for your office could help you back up records on your hard disk or shared drive. Some organizations use a combination of PDF files backed up in simple cloud storage software as a first step to reducing paper use.

First Steps. Using email to transfer digital copies of files and documents to internal and external stakeholders is a positive first step on the road to a successful transition. Setting a “cut-off” date for the cessation of paper operations and creating a file list of all important paper documents is the next step to a gradual adaptation to a paperless environment. Conservation coalition The Paperless Project estimates that the typical organization loses over 70% of its process-specific and operations-specific knowledge when an employee leaves. A simple way to start the journey to paperless operations is to create a project plan with milestones for each department and systematically scan all relevant documentation to a secure location. A consistent file naming and numbering system can ensure accessibility.

One of the challenges of such an arrangement is the maintenance of paper records of the past. You may be faced with a storeroom full of documents that need to be sorted, scanned, and discarded. In order to make your office truly paperless, all documents need to be converted into a consistent file format for storage.

Planning. Planning is the most important step in the transition from paper to paperless. Such a transition is fraught with the risk of losing knowledge or core physical documentation. In order to prevent such losses and manage the transition, it is important to create a systematic project plan that addresses the areas of:

o   Digitization of legacy documents

o   Hardware and Software requirements

o   Storage of old and new documents

o   Identification and classification of documents

o   Access permissions

o   Communication and training for employees

o   Staged transition to a paperless office environment

o   Go-live

If you are unable to make changes during regular business hours, the plan must account for weekends and after-hours work.

Infrastructure. IT and non-IT infrastructure are core components of the process of digitizing records as part of an organization’s drive to go paperless. Today, small businesses are faced with the choice to invest in cloud document management software or a local electronic document management system. A local or remote backup system ensures that a company’s files are stored on-premises or in a nearby data storage facility. A cloud-based backup and retrieval system improves accessibility and portability of data across devices and software environments. This means that you can access your files from anywhere in the world without a VPN connection. Additionally, a cloud-based document solution allows 24/7 access via smartphones and tablets so no matter the time of day or location, your critical files are only a few clicks away.

Security. This reliance on paper documentation, records, reports, and communication can place a significant burden on an organization. In large organizations, security breaches can compromise data leading to fines and liabilities worth millions of dollars. For home businesses and small enterprises, the lack of security for documents can mean the loss of years of data and documentation. A robust electronic document management system needs to address the risk of damage, downtime, or loss of data. In addition to requiring floor and shelf space, paper documents are prone to fire, water, and mold damage as well as the risk of loss or theft. Wherever your business uses and stores physical documents, you run the risk of them being misplaced, leading to the loss of knowledge and causing delays or defective work. Digitized files and access-controlled cloud-based company data can mean the difference between a safe environment for your company’s data and unsecured access to data.

Small businesses stand to significantly cut costs and secure their data and documents by using small business software for cloud-based document management. With home offices and small businesses growing in relevance as the future of the American economy, paperless office solutions can help you future-proof your business by saving time and freeing up capital: the two ingredients of growth. HBM

Matt Peterson is the CEO of Lehi, Utah-based eFileCabinet, Inc. Founded in 2001, eFileCabinet, Inc. began as a cutting-edge tool to digitally store records in accounting firms. As it grew in popularity, eFileCabinet developed into a full-fledged electronic document management solution designed to help organizations capture, manage, and protect their data. While the accounting industry was the company’s main focus at formation, it has since expanded to include numerous vertical markets. eFileCabinet, Inc. distributes its solutions both direct and through a worldwide network of Value-Added-Resellers and strategic partners that customize solutions to meet their clients’ specific needs. www.efilecabinet.com.

Read More or call 877-574-5505.

ShareFacebookGoogle+LinkedInTwitter

eFileCabinet Desktop Professional Review

PROS
Retention dating allows you to store or delete expired documents.

CONS
You may find the number of options overwhelming.

The Verdict: 9.75/10

An exceptional choice for small and medium businesses, eFileCabinet provides functions like scanning, tagging, workflow and cloud storage that are easy to use and robust enough for any end user.

Review

Document management software eFileCabinet Professional integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office applications and has built-in workflow and regulatory compliance. For its unlimited storage, huge template library and automated cloud backup service, eFileCabinet Professional document management software earns our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award

Features 10/10

Software company eFileCabinet offers several versions of its applications for both hosted and server-side document management systems. For this review, we considered eFileCabinet’s Desktop Professional edition. While it installs on your computer rather than being hosted in the cloud, it is priced as an affordable monthly service-style implementation.

The sheer number of options may be a bit overwhelming to the administrator, but the intuitive interface is simple for the end user to navigate. Once set up, the wealth of functions inside the software eases the workload for each user. You can use the easy drag-and-drop functionality to build your own paperless document depositories. You can also create new documents using the large and efficient document template libraries.

Workflow functions let you know what tasks are scheduled and who to send them on to. This software also has an automatic document backup system that saves both to an onsite folder and to the cloud. This gives everyone peace of mind that, even in the event of a local disaster, all company documents are safe and protected.

If yours is an industry governed by regulations, eFileCabinet offers many kinds of additional support to help you adhere to needed compliance. The software provides document controls, audit tracking, permissions, document retention procedures and sophisticated workflows that help you meet compliance standards.

Tools 9.4/10

An eFileCabinet software implementation provides multiple security and version control levels to protect your company. Software is backed up regularly to an internal backup site and to internet cloud storage. Your administrator can also specify a wide range of permissions for each employee that can, for instance, prevent certain employees from permanently deleting documents.

If you and your employees frequently work on the same document set, this document management software’s version control helps you manage changes to important company files. To work on a document, you open it, and if somebody else is already working on it, the program lets you know and prevents you from making changes to the file until it is free again.

If you are starting with a paper document, the first step is to scan it. You can activate your scanner through this program, saving you many steps. Immediately after a document is scanned, it becomes an image. The best applications, like eFileCabinet, follow scanning with optical character recognition (OCR) and PDF conversion while filing your documents. This makes the document every-word searchable, and it allows anyone the ability to view the PDF without having the application that created the original document. In eFileCabinet, you can also merge PDFs with other PDF files and split or separate the pages. This can all be done through the software, saving you time and some software installation.

Integration Compare 10/10

The ability to work inside the applications you are most familiar with through the portal-like eFileCabinet makes this a more convenient document control software than many of the others we reviewed. It integrates well with most programs, but this is especially true of the much-used Microsoft Office Suite and customer relationship management (CRM) application Salesforce. You simply open your file from inside eFileCabinet and pull it up inside its original application. You can then make changes or edits in the original program and save the document back to eFileCabinet.

You can also use QuickBooks to store all your financial documents in the same fashion. You can scan your receipts, bills and invoices through eFileCabinet and send them directly to QuickBooks. Bill paying and tax time are easy with all your information already organized. Your email is also easily integrated into the program. You can save your correspondences and receive all pertinent workflow notifications and version alerts by email.

Help & Support 9.8/10

If you need help getting started, eFileCabinet has a website with tutorial videos to help you understand the software and its capabilities. The videos are organized by topic. There is also a FAQs section, articles on setup and installation, and downloadable manuals. If you need more help, you can email, call or start a live chat. This document management software works with modern Windows systems but is not designed for legacy hardware.

eFileCabinet Summary: 9.8/10

Document management software eFileCabinet offers one point of contact for your document management needs. With features that include workflow, version control, regulatory compliance, automatic backup, retention scheduling and robust integration, this is a good software program for any small- to medium-sized business.

Read Full Article or call 877-574-5505.

ShareFacebookGoogle+LinkedInTwitter

Key Considerations for Document Management

Key Considerations for Document Management

By Rick Dana Barlow, Editor-at-large, March 2015

As healthcare data and information exchange migrates to electronic or paperless and cloud-based operations, it may seem like curses and curtains for traditional paper file cabinets. A crisis or disaster can destroy paper records; negligent staffers can lose, misplace or even steal paper records. Paper records may seem immune to computer hackers, but they are also vulnerable to all kinds of environmental problems that can destroy them. The alternative is a robust electronic document management system. Against this backdrop, what does the future hold for document management and how do healthcare organizations maintain its relevance and usefulness – whether “new age” or “old school” ?

Recent events underscore the necessity of a strong document management protocol. In one instance, a Brooklyn warehouse was destroyed by a fire in late January. It contained medical, legal and financial records from hundreds of clients. Documents found in the surrounding neighborhood after the fire identified the paper records as coming from New York City hospitals and healthcare centers. According to newspaper accounts, the documents included doctors’ notes, intake forms, pharmacy records, test results, wills, time cards, payroll records and checks and sensitive medical information.

In a Wall Street Journal report, a spokesman for North Shore-LIJ said the documents they lost consisted primarily of medical records, legal documents, personnel and administrative files, but the vast majority of the system’s files were stored elsewhere. According to a New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation spokesman, HHC is an early adopter of electronic medical record systems, keeps vital patient records in electronic form and did not anticipate the event would affect its patient-care operations.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) in January released “Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap Version 1.0.” The draft roadmap is a proposal to deliver better care that will result in healthier people through the safe and secure exchange and use of electronic health information. The announcement is important for any organization looking for a system that can grow with future government requirements. The draft roadmap calls for ONC to identify the best available technical standards for core interoperability functions.

Health Management Technology tapped into the mindsets of several industry experts to explore their outlooks for document management.

Read Full Article or call 877-574-5505.

ShareFacebookGoogle+LinkedInTwitter

Managing the Transition to a Paperless HR Department

Posted on February 20, 2015 by Mary Gormandy White, M.A., SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Once you have decided to implement a document management system (DMS) for the purpose of taking your HR department paperless and selected a system that meets your needs, the next thing you’ll need to focus on is managing the transition in your workplace. It takes a lot of planning and training to pull off this type of transition, and you’ll also need to adjust some procedures.

Procedure Changes

According to Matt Peterson, President & CEO of eFileCabinet, “One of the important policies to establish when going paperless is access permissions.” He recommends, “Clearly define who will have access to documents.”

This is not the only procedural change to consider, Peterson points out, “Workflow may also need to be determined.” He points out, “Choosing a DMS that offers automated workflow processes can enable process changes to go smoothly and effortlessly.”

Training Requirements

Peterson emphasizes, “Educating your employees and co-workers is key to a successful paperless transition.” He recommends, “Build time for training and education into your overall transition plan. Doing so will ensure a successful transition to becoming a paperless office.”

According to Peterson, it is important to “clearly communicate your transition plan” to employees and “provide processes and software use training for all employees.”

Planning for a Smooth Transition

“A seamless transition to a paperless office requires careful planning and management,” Peterson advises. He points out, “Going paperless is not a simple task that can be implemented overnight. However, with careful planning, the transition can be managed with minimum cost and without disruption to daily operations.”

For the process to go smoothly, Peterson indicates that you will need a thorough project plan. He recommends, “Create a systematic project plan that addresses the digitization of all documents, hardware and software requirements, identification and classification of documents, and a staged transition until the entire office is paperless.”

Worthwhile Project

Making the transition to a paperless HR department definitely requires quite a bit of work and time. However, the benefits of moving away from a paper-based department are well worth the time and energy required!

 

Read More or call 877-574-5505.

ShareFacebookGoogle+LinkedInTwitter

Should Your HR Department Go Paperless?

Posted on February 19, 2015 by Mary Gormandy White, M.A., SPHR, SHRM-SCP

HR departments everywhere are making the decision to go paperless. According to PaySavvy.com, going paperless was one of the biggest HR trends for 2014, and this is expected to continue to through 2015 and into the future.

Considering a Move to Paperless HR

According to Matt Peterson, President & CEO of eFileCabinet, “The entire enterprise will greatly benefit from the HR department’s decision to go paperless.” He shares insights regarding the reasons it’s important to consider a paperless solution for HR departments and how companies can benefit.

Reasons to Take HR Paperless

Mary White (MW): What are the primary reasons that an HR person might want to champion a paperless initiative?

Matt Peterson (MP): Human resources is an important part of every company and is home to some of the most complex paper processes in business today. HR professionals spend considerable time and labor processing corporate and personnel documents. In fact, the average personnel file contains more than 50 different records.

The moment a prospective employee applies for a job, their employee file begins and grows exponentially throughout their tenure as an employee. Storage and management of personnel documents and all the other important files necessary in a paper format is simply not a viable option for most HR departments.

Important Benefits to Consider

MW: What are the main ways going paperless can benefit an organization?

MP: The right DMS offers a simple, effective system that will electronically capture, manage, and protect business-critical HR data. Going paperless by utilizing a document management system (DMS) can:

  • Significantly reduce the time, labor, and resources needed to manage paper.
  • Improve organization and revolutionize productivity.

Immediate returns on your investment include:

  • Immediate access to all documents that will be centralized in an electronic cabinet.
  • The ability to respond to employee and management inquiries more quickly.

Security is another important benefit. The HR world is fraught with compliance regulations, including HIPAA, eSign, Department of Labor, IRS, and Homeland Security. Choose a DMS with sophisticated security and compliance tools for your HR Department.

Championing a Change

With so many benefits to taking HR paperless, you may want to consider championing this type of change in your organization.

Read More or call 877-574-5505.

ShareFacebookGoogle+LinkedInTwitter
1