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Document Digitization: Unlocking Secure Access and Shared Value

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In today’s digital age, the need for secure and easily accessible documents is more important than ever. Both staff and customers expect a digital-centric experience, which includes instant access to documents.

Remote work and online data sharing are increasing. Americans value online privacy, but only 64% use privacy tools, and only 56% feel they control their data. Companies need secure systems to protect data and adapt to the changing work environment.

This post discusses the benefits of document digitization, including secure access and shared value. It also covers how businesses can get started with it and how outsourcing digital conversion services can help them.

What Is Document Digitization?

Document digitization is the process of converting analog information, such as physical documents and images, into digital format. This means scanning paper documents, photos, and other things and saving them on a computer or online in the cloud. Digitization and scanning simplifies accessing and sharing information because digital files enable quick searching and replication.

Why Digitize Documents?

Operational Efficiency

Digitization can significantly enhance business operations by automating specific tasks, reducing errors, and providing real-time access to information. It can also lead to more efficient decision-making and the elimination of paper-based operations, which often slow down business processes.

By embracing digitization, organizations can transform their operational resiliency, increasing efficiency and accuracy while driving innovation. This is particularly important in today’s fast-paced, tech-driven world, where businesses must stay competitive to survive.

Data Analytics

Analyzing digital documents proves to be a significantly more efficient and user-friendly process than handling traditional paper documents. The ease of access and organization that digital files provide allows for seamless monitoring and sharing of various crucial documents such as financial statements, customer information, and patterns in business activities.

Utilizing the information stored within your electronic records can offer invaluable insights that can ultimately lead to a deeper understanding of your company’s day-to-day operations. By leveraging the data retrieved from these files, you can make informed decisions that have the potential to propel the growth and success of your business to new heights.

Shareability and Collaboration

Digitizing documents facilitates effortless sharing and collaboration among team members. This method enables organizations to access real-time information and simplify their workflows.

By adopting this modern approach to document management, businesses can also improve their communication with clients and partners—leading to faster responses and better customer satisfaction.

Data Security

Physical documents are susceptible to loss, theft, and destruction. By converting these documents into digital format and securely storing them in the cloud, you enhance security and business resilience.

Unforeseen catastrophes and the growing trend of remote work can hinder the sharing of information. However, adopting document digitization can guarantee faster recovery times and minimize the potential for loss or damage.

Compliance

Digitizing and scanning documents is crucial to comply with regulations, as it allows for easy and quick access to important data. This process also helps maintain organization within a company and reduces the risk of data breaches.

Additionally, digitization helps businesses demonstrate their compliance with regulations during audits. By sorting documents and eliminating redundant ones, digitization also helps with document retention—ensuring that only relevant and essential files are kept.

Cost and Time Savings

Workers spend an average of 1.8 hours daily searching for data, which can negatively impact productivity. On a team of five employees, a productivity drain like that means only four might be genuinely productive, with one engaged in information retrieval. Digitizing paper documents can help streamline this process by allowing easier searches and freeing time for employees to focus on other tasks.

Scanned images also help reduce printing and delivery costs—making document management more efficient and eliminating the need for manual tasks. Additionally, storing documents onsite or offsite can be costly, but scanning documents can help save on these expenses and remove the need for filing cabinets. This allows businesses to focus on other essential activities.

Improved Information Governance

With scanned images, organizations can establish better control over their records. By implementing document management systems, you can receive features such as version control, access restrictions, and audit trails.

Overall, digitizing documents can streamline record-keeping processes, improve information security, and enhance overall compliance efforts within an organization. It can also lead to increased efficiency, cost savings, and improved risk management.

How to Digitize Documents for Secure Access and Shared Value

Choose the Right Tools

The first step in digitizing documents is to choose the right tools. Many scanning and digital document management options are available. Research and select one that meets your business needs. Look for features such as encryption, access controls, and collaboration capabilities.

Develop a Document Management Plan

Catalog hardcopy documents, prioritize which ones to convert to digital format, and securely store or destroy unnecessary documents. Having a clear plan will ensure consistency in document scanning and digitization, making it easier to find and share information. 

Prepare Files for Digitization

Before scanning, arrange your files in a logical manner, either by date or category. For precise scanning, make sure to remove any staples or paper clips.

Implement Access Controls

To ensure document security, it’s important to implement access controls for all digitized documents. This can include password protection, encryption, and user permissions. By limiting access to sensitive documents, businesses can prevent unauthorized individuals from viewing or sharing confidential information.

Train Employees on Document Management

Training employees on document management procedures—including scanning, organizing, accessing, and sharing documents securely—is crucial for successful digitization and preventing security breaches.

Who Is Responsible for Digitizing Documents?

The responsibility for digitizing documents for secure access and shared value falls on the document management team. This team typically consists of individuals from various departments, including IT, records management, and compliance. These departments manage document management systems, ensuring they digitize and securely manage all documents.

If your company does not have a document management team, you can outsource scanning to document digitization companies. These companies have commercial scanning equipment and specialized technology, such as optical character recognition (OCR), to index documents efficiently. Moreover, they handle all the technology-related aspects, requiring no hardware or IT maintenance from you. This could save your business time and money.

Real-World Examples of Digitizing Documents for Secure Access and Shared Value

Insulation Manufacturing Company Implements Centralized Document Management System

Edwards, Mooney and Moses—a top insulation contractor in the northwestern U.S.—faced challenges with their old manual paperwork system. The company worked with VRC for paperless solutions to improve work order and secure invoice handling, increasing productivity and saving time. Now, Edwards can easily manage their documents without the burden of labor-intensive paperwork tasks.

Nursing Home Transforms AP Processes with Digitization

Wachusett Healthcare, a nursing home operator, sought help from VRC to streamline their accounts payable process. VRC provided document imaging and AP workflow automation—enabling secure, remote access to digitized documents and faster invoice processing. The new system improved efficiency and accuracy and prevented cash flow issues from late fees and finance charges.

Takeaways

Digitizing documents is essential for businesses in today’s digital age. It allows for secure access and shared value, making it a crucial aspect of modern document management. Companies must choose the right tools, develop a document management plan, and implement access controls to achieve this. By doing so, they can improve document security, save time and money, and facilitate collaboration among teams.

Following these best practices will ensure businesses can securely manage their documents, providing value for your organization and its clients. Moreover, outsourcing to a document imaging service can be wise for companies looking to create shared value and start their digital transformation. For more information, reach out to us and speak with a VRC representative.

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