Records management is critical to maintaining productivity and efficient functioning within any company. As the business keeps growing, managing records can become more and more difficult. Having a scalable records management system in place supports business intelligence and benefits decision making for management.
With multiple sources of information, be it paper-based or digital, developing a strategy for cataloging, storing, and accessing everything is essential.
So how can one streamline record management? Here are some practical steps to consider:
Managing and storing physical files can be difficult and costly. A single sheet of paper may not seem like it takes up much space, but storage space for physical documents can stack up very quickly. When you include the space necessary to open them to access the contents, a standard 4-drawer filing cabinet takes up about 17 square feet. That space costs money. An organization with 500 employees can save an average of $4k annually in file cabinet real estate space by digitizing paper documents. Physical records don’t just occupy more space, but they’re also more vulnerable to getting lost, misfiled, or damaged in natural disasters or accidents.
Another big benefit to opting for a digital records management system is that the majority of documents created today start off in digital form. Still, some important records, especially historical and archival records, may only exist as a physical paper document. Digitizing with IntelliScan can help you quickly transform physical records into complete digital assets - not just simple scans. Today, when every organization is exploring digital transformation, high-speed scanning can play a foundational role. IntelliScan delivers accurate and dependable document digitization for incoming and archival information assets.
Similarly, Exela’s Digital Mailroom solution puts IntelliScan technology to work digitizing incoming mail items (or other documents) for fast and easy distribution to remote workers via an electronic medium. This not only facilitates better communication, but also easily integrates with digital records management systems for a more streamlined process.
A study by the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) found that, on average, 62% of the information that must be managed in an organization is unstructured. That makes this information much more difficult to find, let alone quantify or put to proper use. In order to effectively manage this unstructured information, it first needs to be classified and categorized.
There are a number of ways to classify records, and many will likely fall into multiple categories or tags. Documents can be categorized based on function, specific client or project, file type, security level, among many others. Effective record classification allows for clear and efficient filing, retrieval, archiving, and even, when necessary, destruction of documents.
This can be a daunting and potentially time-consuming process, especially if you have a large backlog of uncategorized documents to organize. However, digitization and automation technology exists that is capable of significantly reducing this burden. Optical character recognition (OCR) and intelligent character recognition (ICR) technology allows scanners to capture data from the document as it’s being scanned, allowing the system to automate categorization, aggregation, and routing quickly and accurately.
Additionally, Exela’s OpenBox data capture, classification, and indexing solution can be paired with the IntelliScan line of scanners to create a powerful end-to-end document digitization and information extraction platform.
With OpenBox, the often laborious manual identification of document types and pre-sorting of documents before scanning are avoided, providing efficiencies over manual tasks that are otherwise time-consuming and error-prone. OpenBox can handle structured, semi-structured, and unstructured documents and avoid costly integration with specialized platforms for specific document types.
Organizing Electronic Storage
Reorganizing your network workspaces can have a huge impact on how efficiently you’re managing your documents and records. Work with team leaders and your IT department to develop a shared network of folders that follows a logical hierarchy and structure designed to best meet your business’s workflows. Having a company-wide standard for how files and folders are grouped is a critical foundation for successful long term digital records management.
Often, file organizational file structures will be built from the top down. This can start by categorizing files based on the year they were created, the department from which they originated, or the purpose they served. IT professionals are often great resources for determining which of the various existing directory structures would best suit your business. For some industries and record types, there are also regulations and compliance requirements that must be taken into consideration as well.
Implement Naming Conventions
Keeping documents organized and easy to find and identify becomes so much easier when you implement and strictly enforce company-wide document naming conventions. The chief identifier of any document is its name, and when done effectively, you can actually include a great deal of information within the names of your documents.
Naming conventions stipulate what information should be included in the filename, as well as the order and format for each piece of information. Information like the date the document was created, project identification number, and descriptive keywords for the document’s content can all be included, making the purpose of the document clear without even opening it.
You can even include version numbers in the title, though, as anyone in creative services will tell you, adding “Final” to a document’s name is just asking for more revisions.
Disorganization and inefficiency can be extremely costly for any business. A solid records management system can go a long way toward maintaining the order and structure necessary for your business to grow and thrive. And thanks to digital technology, records management can be handled with less effort, improved efficiency, and greater peace of mind.
Find out more about how Exela technologies can help you get a handle on managing your records and documents.