Five Signs Your Document Management Needs a Tune-up

Document management tune up

Every business manages documents. Whether you use a file cabinet, an overstuffed hard drive or a cloud-based server farm, in one way or another, document management is a big piece of every business that can — and should — be operated with maximum efficiency.

Here are five telltale signs that a business has a suboptimal system for document management.

1. You Still Have "Data Entry" Personnel

Data entry costs

If you have an employee who spends more than a few minutes a day manually entering data from invoices, purchase orders and expense reports — you should consider scanning and digitizing all that paperwork. Document scanners and software can automatically recognize names, addresses, invoice numbers and amounts, and flow the data straight into most financial applications.

* Source: Coopers and Lybrand Study


2. You Are Paying to Store Paper

Whether you have files on site in rows of filing cabinets, in boxes at a storage area or professionally archived by a third party, you are paying to hold on to paper. At three square feet per letter-sized file cabinet, you're probably paying way too much.

You Are Paying to Store Paper

3. It Takes More than 5 Minutes to Retrieve a Document

Once your archives are digital, finding a document is a simple keyword search. Unlike paper files, you can search by names, dates, keywords or associated terms. Even if you don't have a precise record number or name, you can still find what you're looking for.

More than 5 Minutes
More than 5 Minutes to Retrieve a Document

* Source: Coopers and Lybrand Study

4. Files on Your Server are Named and Organized by Hand

Whether you’re scanning to file or creating and saving files from applications, relying on hand-curated naming conventions and file structures is a risky and expensive proposition. Humans — even the most conscientious of us — rarely follow naming and indexing rules 100% of the time. Plus, most OS-based file structures don’t make good use of metadata, which is crucial for finding things quickly.

Document management software solves both problems and delivers a whole host of tools that improve efficiency. Scan-to-file jobs go straight to the right folders and people, based on the rules you set up. Workflow — including trafficking, assignments and approvals — is baked into the file and filing structure. Every step is programmatic, traceable and clear.

5. Document Security Involves Turning an Actual Metal Key

Paper feels secure, especially after you read a few stories about hackers making off with critical data. However, a file folder of papers is actually far less secure than a well-encrypted hard drive. The paper itself can be destroyed by fire or water. Getting the data is as easy as breaking a lock or, more commonly, borrowing the file from someone’s desk for a quick photocopy or picture.

It costs $120 in labour to recreate a lost document (If it can be recreated)


Digital content can outlast paper and be protected. Cloud-based servers feature robust encryption and built-in redundancy. If you need even more security, store your data on multiple, encrypted hard drives or flash drives and place them in several secure locations like a safety deposit box or vault. No hacker can touch a file that isn’t connected to network.