Document management software from a client perspective is not only a method of streamlining internal organizational processes; it is also an effective means by which external perceptions of the organization—primarily those belonging to its customers, clients, or beneficiaries—are improved.
DMS also improves customers’ and clients’ security, significantly reducing the chances of an information breach while making the sharing of sensitive files, whether to external clients or internal team members, a highly encrypted and secure process via a client sharing portal.
Document Management Software from a Client Perspective Means On-the-Fly Improvements
Furthermore, DMS comes as a mobile application with the best vendors, giving organizations the power to work on operations-critical problems through cloud-based technology anytime and anywhere without compromising security—problems that may otherwise have had to wait until getting in to the office the next morning.
From an environmental perspective, paperless organizations, particularly those using DMS as their paperless launching pad, benefit the environment, therein improving the public opinions of those privy to the organization’s ‘greenness,’ and can use document management software as a platform for public relations strategy.
What’s more, data increasingly suggests that more consumers prefer to transact business and receive electronic billing each year. For instance, between 2008 and 2014, banknews.com reported there was a 14% increase in the number of paperless bills sent to consumers—which client sharing portals facilitate.
The US also uses nearly 68 million trees each year to produce paper and paper-based products. Consumers went paperless before organizations, putting them ahead of the curve in adopting paperless initiatives.
The more consumers lean toward paperless lifestyles, the less inclined they will be to give their business to organizations lagging in terms of environmental considerations.
The environment is not to be viewed only from the public perception’s standpoint, however, as failing to go paperless also imposes operational costs: as oil scarcity, and therefore oil prices increase, so too do the costs of operating a paper-dependent business relying on traditional mailing and shipping methods.
Additionally, consumers place a high importance on not just the power to transact with more freedom and mobility, but also the option to do so via paperless means.
In order to streamline these processes for customers, you must psychologically “let go” of the form and medium of paper
In order to initiate customer benefits through DMS, an organization must realize that adopting a DMS solution requires that organizations’ employees do not overthrow preexisting processes, but rather let go of the medium by which these processes are conducted—the medium being paper.
The psychological dependence on paper may keep employees printing hard copies of files, creating a duplication of efforts that is cost inefficient, time-consuming, and purpose-defeating.
Unless an organization is upgrading from an older DMS solution, learning to refrain from relying on paper will be a psychological challenge for some employees, as they may feel it is not as “safe” if not in files’ traditional, tangible form despite a digital, intangible format being the most secure method of storing documents, and various governing bodies like the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) can confirm this.
Document Management Software from a Client Perspective
Emailing sensitive documents like W-2s and 1099s is a massive compliance problem that can compromise customer information, yet some accountants still rely on email attachments and content to effectively secure their information even though emailing such documents can result in significant fines and penalties from state and federal regulators.
The accounting industry is arguably the front-runner among industries that will make DMS use compulsory, but any other industry which has seen a high number of data breaches in 2015 and 2016, such as insurance and healthcare, may be susceptible to compulsory information management mandates, too, within the next decade.
Safeguarding client information is important, and if you are sending files with client information as email attachments via Dropbox, or backing up or transferring information using a flash drive or CD, you are using technology mediums with no built-in security features to simplify compliance—leaving you liable for any security breach that occurs, whether deliberate or accidental.
Even if employers are most concerned with the security of transmitting information to clients (via client-sharing portals), that does not bar employees from making internal breaches either by mistake or deliberately.
Remember: recent studies suggest roughly half of security breaches come from within the organizations where they occur, and this has left many customers and clients worried about how organizations are handling their information internally, and for good reason.
Emergent technologies like document management software have stimulated demand for legislation, insight, and compliance standards regarding not only how DMS changes information architecture, but how it streamlines organizational processes in an array of industries.
On average, small to mid-sized organizations are not in full control of roughly three-fourths of the information and data stored in their email content and other systems, which drastically increases the risk of noncompliance in a variety of industries.
Therefore, organizations are destined to fail audits, for good and bad reasons (and therefore lose customers), if they cannot better control their information via document management software and other workflow-enhancing technologies.
Furthermore, FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) is working in tandem with the national securities exchange to submit a National Market System (NMS) plan, which details how they would “develop, implement, and maintain a consolidated audit trail that collects and accurately identifies every order, cancellation, modification, and trade execution for all exchange-listed equities and options across all US markets,” to better trace organizations’ information pipeline.
If document management software and similar technologies become compulsory on an industry-by-industry basis to increase consumers’ information safety in the next decade, certifications and attestations as they are administered by regulating authorities will bring organizations to a customer retention crossroads—one where they needn’t retain clients and customers solely to make money, but also to abide by the laws.