Electronic document filing practices will be redefined in 2017, perhaps even becoming the year where information management is turned on its head. The following features will likely be of specific importance. Be sure to include them in your documentation strategy moving forward.


Revamped Zonal OCR

Zonal OCR updates, which work well with frequently used forms, will serve accountants and tax professionals interacting with tax applications like Lacerte, for instance.

Additional Zonal OCR (optical character recognition) features that allow document segmentation and structuring prior to scanning and storage, will also lend usability to document management.


SOHO Inclusion in Enterprise Technology

Many enterprise technology vendors are refocusing their strategies to better accommodate economic trends and worker preferences.

Although these trends are difficult to forecast, developers and business tech companies are hanging their hats on an increasingly dispersed workforce.

To increase product reach, several electronic document filing vendors will extend their product bases to individual workers, and for good reason: an increasingly decentralized workforce has increased workers’ demand for independence, but workers do not want this newfound independence to detract from collaborative ability and connectedness.


Digital Asset Management in Electronic Document Filing

Digital asset management treats content as a financier would treat traditional assets, and this aspect of electronic document filing comprises everything that makes information an asset.

Essentially, it helps organizations manage the rights, permissions, and uses of content as they pertain to rich digital media. Some of these rich media types include but are not limited to music, photographs, animations, infographics, and other various multimedia content.


Simplified Records Management for Improved Electronic Document Filing

Records management entails the automation of archiving, retention, and compliance policies for legal, regulatory, and industry-specific guidelines.

These retention features can be applied to entire predictive coding structures, not just individual documents, which is useful from an electronic document filing perspective as there will be more information to manage for mid-sized organizations.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of records management is creating and trusting technology to ensure the appropriate retention schedules.

Part of effective records management also includes how records are managed in transit and at rest.

However, it’s worth remembering that the technology has emerged to reduce the mistakes associated with human error—these mistakes are far more prevalent than those made with the automation features of electronic document filing.

Much psychological research points to automation as a key in overthrowing decision-making fatigue at work.

Software like electronic document filing, which automates processes not only saves time, but automates the mundane, repetitive tasks that leave most employees depleted of their energy, focus, and ability to perform.

Essentially, the automation of business processes that electronic document filing provides frees up room for employees to expend their energy and focus on processes that require more high-order thinking, making them inherently more valuable to their organizations.

In addition, when less exhausted, employees are less prone to human error, making the records they manage safer from a human factors perspective.


Better Role-Based User Permissions

Relevant to document and content security, role-based user permissions ensure the integrity of an organization’s information inasmuch they allow access to files only for certain members.

Given that over half of all data breaches are the byproduct of internal employees’ behavior (those who work for the organization whose data has been breached), role-based user permissions can, if used correctly and intelligently, drastically reduce the probability of a data breach.

This makes sensitive information accessible only to a select few, who may then divulge what is necessary to other employees on their own terms.

Role-based user permissions differentiate standard users from users with permission to access certain files within a DMS, and these permissions can be specified quickly, efficiently, and without error to an electronic document filing administrator or manager’s liking.

Depending on how a hierarchy is built with the role-based user permissions feature, administrators can call the support teams of their vendors, and assign auditor licenses to external auditors, which are different than the user licenses an organization retains with enterprise technology.

In many respects, role-based user permissions automate the managerial and administrative process—saving their users time and money.

Role-based user permissions provide “viewing only” access to organizations in any industry subject to internal or external auditing, ensuring that auditors will not mistakenly alter the information.

Audit trails will also show which changes have been made to which documents and by whom, including who has viewed the information—all three of these being legally relevant to software administrators.

Role-based user permissions are generally not feature specific, but rather are viewing and editing specific. For instance, any user can use the versioning files button, but not any user can view certain versions of a file if otherwise specified by the software administrator’s designations.

Essential for compliance-centric industries and their organizations, guest auditor access (a useful component of role-based user permissions) allows administrators and managers to provide external auditors with guest access to the DMS solution on a “read only” permissions basis—which, in many cases, is all an auditor needs to fulfill his or her duty.


A Concluding Note on the Future of Information Management

Although the tendency to use outdated information mediums for managing documentation are still widely in use today, human resources professionals, business consultants, and efficiency experts are warming up to the idea of relying on technologies that change the modern office environment, including those that enable remote work forces. By 2020, most small to mid-sized enterprises and companies will likely be using some form of enterprise content management or document management services. What will you do to keep up with the efficiencies these document management software features render?