Discover How Efficient (Or Not) Your Document Processing Is

25 March 2020

Digital Document Management

All companies, and we do mean that literally, process mountains of documents every day. Bills arrive in the mail, job applicants email their resumes along with their applications, quotes get signed and scanned... You probably know what we're talking about. Large numbers of internal documents in multiple formats can also be great sources of challenge and frustration. Be careful, this list of ‘real life’ examples could inspire some nervous shuffling behind your desk.

Paper documents; where do they all go?

Anything that exists solely in a physical format is basically untraceable. You have no idea what information is hidden in which tottering pile. Documents may end up in the trash or worse, in the wrong hands. Unlike with digital data, there's no easy way to generate smart insights. Many companies have started digitizing their paper files. Though this is a step in the right direction, it's very time-intensive. Some even hire additional staff specifically to stay on top of the paperwork.

Signing papers tends to lead to a lot of moaning and groaning as well. The signature requires physical movement to be able to set pen to paper, mailroom involvement or alternating between the printer and scanner.

Moreover, 80,000 to 160,000 trees are cut down each day to supply all that paper (Global Forest Resource Assessment). Reducing paper usage is good for the environment. One less pallet of printer paper annually makes a nice contribution.


Search and ye shall find (while losing time and money)

Documents end up scattered all over the place. You know exactly what you're looking for; just not where. Was it in one of those 23 different folders of Word files, in the cloud or the top left corner of your desktop? Cue a hellish search, usually right in the middle of a meeting or with a member of your team in urgent need of an essential document. Finding someone else's document can be even more of a challenge. To guess the right terms will require free association skills and a healthy dose of luck.

Moreover, each department is likely to have its own business application, necessitating constant switching between multiple applications to assemble the required information and documents. Centralized collaboration is nonexistent, and it's not exactly user friendly either.

Such quests take place every day, multiple times a day. Highly paid employees who spend fifteen minutes searching for a specific document can end up costing organizations a significant amount of money. Even if such costs are invisible, they definitely exist, and are a waste of resources.


Once you've finally found the correct folder, you get to guess the latest version. Working on wrong or outdated versions of documents can be another huge time and productivity sink. For example, you go through every detail of a presentation, only to discover that someone else already made all the necessary updates yesterday, just to a different version. Now there are two different versions being shared within the company. Within a week, they've multiplied to thirteen. All consistency is gone, everyone's wasted time duplicating the same task, and at least some of those thirteen versions won't align with the intended message and company branding.

Sound uncomfortably familiar?

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