There are as many hidden paths to profit as there are visible ones, but we certainly can’t expect those who travel these hidden paths to share their glorious secrets, so we’ll tell you instead: the hidden path to success involves overcoming the document management deficit that every business faces.

A particular paradigm shift is occurring in the world of enterprises, and it signals a change in discussion from technology’s power to the application of its power—particularly the power of products and services available for the enterprise market. Although some have pegged this discussion as a byproduct of sophisticated software marketing, it’s more easily traced to small business owners’ profits from enterprise software.

After all, many small businesses in the manufacturing, accounting, insurance, healthcare, and financial services industries are enjoying unreasonably easy profits by way of the reduced operating expenses, freed up time, and less paperwork that document management software provides its users.

And the most unfair aspect of it all, you ask? Well, the fact these small business owners aren’t sharing the secret to their document management success. However, we don’t blame them. It’s supposed to be lonely at the top, right? It’s hard to play a game of keep-up when competition plays its cards as close to its vest as it does successfully.

If your business belongs to the accounting, financial services, insurance, healthcare, or manufacturing industries and is now trailing behind competitors you were once neck-and-neck with or even ahead of, it’s very likely they are using cloud based document management software or a similar technology to unveil hidden paths to profit.

So, without further ado, here are five surefire signs your organization is losing revenue and market share due to a lack of document management technology:


Professional Development Becomes Stunted

Every manager has been there: Employees aren’t improving their skill sets, yet attempt to justify “earning” a raise by stating how “long” they’ve been at the company.

Although this is an irritating conversation to have in light of his or her underdeveloped skill set, it doesn’t necessarily stem from the person asking for a raise so much as it does the operational processes that have kept these employees from professional growth, and, therefore, has lead to their discontent and frustration as workers.

Technology is a horrifically untapped facilitator of this professional growth, especially if you put it like this: The average worker in a paper-dependent office spends 30-40% of his or her time looking for information lost in email content or filing cabinets.

Best case scenario, this means 78 8-hour days of work are wasted annually per employee; worst case scenario, 104 8-hour days are wasted annually per employee.

From there, you can extrapolate all kinds of numbers regarding how mind numbingly dumb and unfathomably wasteful reliance on paper truly is—even when looking at your lowest-paid employees, let alone the top-notch C-suite knowledge workers of your organization.


Your Office is Crammed with Filing Cabinets

An office chocked full of filing cabinets may not render palpable losses on the balance sheet, but it does reduce efficiency and real estate space, drawing into question how much small to mid-sized businesses could save if they decided to rely on cloud-based document management software and work remotely.

This is why enabling companies to forego expensive commercial real estate costs entirely advances the remote workforce inasmuch as it empowers smaller organizations to profit. With these advantages, cash flow can be directed to operating expenses that actually drive revenue, not paper-pushing.


Your Employees Are Unmotivated without Document Management

If you wake up begrudgingly to go to work, knowing that the day will unfold as one in the film “Office Space” prior to its protagonist’s revelation, you’re probably a demotivated employee.

However, for the sake of self-esteem and truth, you needn’t deem your lack of motivation as the culprit for under-performance on the job. Sometimes a lack of the proper technology and training for this technology can culminate in one massive sense of demotivation.

Visible signs of these employees are easier for managers to spot when they know what to look out for: slouched shoulders, strained gaits, and tired expressions often accompanied by the printing, mailing, faxing, scanning, and storing of—yes—you guessed it, paper.

Document Management Software helps sidestep these boring trivialities that detract from workers’ progression. What’s more, once employees are “in the zone” and motivated, they are susceptible to the benefits of psychological flow, and therefore wellbeing at work. This is why any human resources manager asking his or her employees to rely on paper to be efficient, happy, and productive within the workspace needs to take a step back and reassess the organization’s processes.


Time-wasting Conversations Make for a Document Management Deficit

Everyone enjoys a good talk at the water cooler, but that doesn’t mean the office lacks some specific conversational perks. However, document management software prevents the conversations employees would rather not have, many of which entail having to tell a boss or coworker that you forgot to print, sign, ship, or fax a specific document, resulting in a document management deficit.

What’s more, the conversation can become even more awkward if you have to fess up to having lost a specific document worth hundreds of dollars to your organization. If that weren’t awful enough, employees can lose their jobs for mishandling or losing specific documents—particularly if these documents retain sensitive client information, resulting in yet another way to have a document management deficit.


A Document Management Deficit Includes Software Training

Although document management software is intuitive, trying to use it without proper training is the equivalent of buying a meal at a restaurant and forgetting to eat it: It just doesn’t make sense and is extremely wasteful.

Simply buying document management software doesn’t equate to leadership and employee buy-in to its efficacy, either, and without incentive to learn about the software, training will be difficult, too.

To ensure the longevity of return on investment, it’s important to make overcoming a document management deficit part of the standard training routine for all new and preexisting employees, and also to incentivize dethroning the shared drive as organizations’ shared, centralized information repository.

This is why an effective gap analysis of cloud-based technology is sometimes needed mid-way through document management software adoption, and can be useful in correcting issues with the system.