Document storage has been a thorn in the side of many a department over the years. Documents can be stored on individual computers, in a folder that provides either too little or too much security, or in some other, random place that made sense at the time. Not to mention, when using a folder system, one document might meet the criteria for more than one folder. How do you decide which folder it goes in? Do you put it in both? Which folder holds the most updated copy? How do you tell staff where to find it?
I’ve worked in companies of varying sizes and have been responsible for filing systems of just about every kind. The hardest part of document storage, for me, was getting the staff to follow the filing procedures. There’s just too much to remember to ask every person in your organization to get it right every time. And there were never the admin resources to reduce filing duties to a key group of people that everyone went through. In smaller organizations or, better yet, smaller departments, document storage could be a breeze. But in larger organizations with high interdependencies across departments, it was often a nightmare.
This isn’t just an operational problem. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, inefficient filing systems can have serious financial costs as well. On average, companies spend,
- $20 to file a document
- $120 to find a misfiled document
- $220 to recreate a missing document
Additionally, more than 80% of documents created are never recalled. That’s a lot of time and financial cost that’s being lost.
So, what is automatic document storage and how does is improve your operations (and your bottom line)?
Automatic document storage is possible through an integration between your workspace and your storage space. This doesn’t have to be as expensive as it sounds. In tools like ALOE, a central document repository is included, and already integrated, into a project/legal operations management system. Any documents placed in the system are automatically searchable in your document repository by the type of document, type of work it relates to, stage of the work it’s in, or other criteria. Central repositories of this nature don’t rely on folder systems that reduce a file to who worked on it or what type of work it was, but rely on OCR technology.
A quick aside on OCR technology – this tech searches the text of a document and identifies any documents with certain key words, terms, or clauses. If you want to find all executed contracts with a warranty, you can run that search and find every relevant document in about 30 seconds.
If automatic storage is the way to ensure that your documents are stored without your staff having to think about it, the way it improves your operations and bottom line come pretty easily after that.
Automatic storage does not rely on your teams to store their documents. Whenever they work within the project management system, those documents are automatically stored. If they make updates to a document or create a new version, it’s automatically stored/updated. It will always be easy to find the most recent document. This removes the need to train staff in filing procedures and requires your team to remember only one thing: always work in the tool provided.
When documents are stored without reliance on the staff, their time is saved not only in filing the document, but in their ability to search for it. Staff transitions or PTO are not stressful because any person with the appropriate permissions can easily find historical documents and data. Your risk is also reduced significantly because you know where your documents are and that you can access them when you need – no more missing contracts or important papers. Finally, any time savings you can scrape together – even then it’s just a few minutes at a time, adds up significantly. Your team members can be released from the burden of time consuming (yet critical) administrative work to focus on high-value, revenue-generating projects.