Introducing the Paperless Office

whiteboardHave you taken a close look at your office lately? Chances are, you’ll find stacks of paper everywhere. Documentation, Invoices, Orders, Service requests… the list could go on forever.

But it’s no problem. All the documents seem perfectly in order, scattered about in a controlled chaos. Until one day, you need one specific document from out of the thousands. And that’s when that seemingly controlled chaos becomes a nightmare. It’s like trying to find a specific needle in a stack of needles!

Enter the Paperless Office. Powered by a Document Management System (DMS for short), the Paperless Office keeps all documents neatly sorted and stored in your computer. This is (roughly) how it works: you take all those Invoices, Orders, Service Requests — all your paper documents — and:

  • You scan them one by one, either as they arrive (this author’s preferred method) or as they become needed;
  • You upload the scanned documents using your DMS;
  • You tag each uploaded document with meaningful tags that appropriately identify the meaning and content of each document;

And voilá! Next time someone in your office needs a reference to that document, that person won’t have to go scavenging for it through the chaotic stacks of paper, which never turn out to be as organized as one thinks. Instead, she’ll query the DMS for it, using the tags mechanism as a way to narrow donw the search, and once she’s found it (probably won’t take more than a few seconds), she can read it onscreen, print it, email it, do whatever she needs to do with it.

But a great DMS will do much more than just organize your scanned documents. A great DMS should be able to do things like mine your digital documents (PDF, Excel, Word, etc) for meta-data, which it’ll use to better sort them and later provide you with a dynamic Knowledge Base accessible to your entire organization. With a great DMS alone at your organization, you could start seeing real productivity benefits, even if you don’t have a dedicated ERP system.

This is why DMS and Knowledge Management (KM) are such central parts of a truly effective ERP. By organizing data and information, and making it widely available to everyone at your organization, you can cut down on the production/service time it takes to yield the same, or better, results. So next time you’re out trying to find ways to improve your organization’s productivity through software, think about the Paperless Office.

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