Has your business gone digital? If not then it really can’t afford to stick to its traditional methods, especially in today’s competitive modern age. But what does digitizing really mean and why is it so important? It’s not just about scanning a few documents and using more computers, but involves completely rethinking and streamlining your process management systems so that you can work much more efficiently. It requires an initial investment of time and resources but there are lots of advantages to be gained in the mid to long term.
Easy access materials
Once your materials – files and images, etc. – have been transferred to digital formats, it will be much easier to access them on your computer desktop than having to physically search through filing cabinets and boxes. This is even more important if you are working across multiple sites, as digital storage makes it much easier to keep up a fast and efficient working pace without having to wait for couriers or postal orders. Digital materials are also much easier to organize and amend as needed.
Better security management
You go to a lot of trouble to manage the cyber-security in your business, so why are you still working with paper documents that can be stolen or mislaid? Even if you want to keep paper copies post-digitization, you can place them in secure long-term storage, rather than moving them around all the time and putting your sensitive information at risk. With digital materials, you can control who has access to certain files even when a number of people are working with the same ones. You’ll also have the option of storing materials off-site when they’re not in use, using a cloud-based specialist security company.
Simpler contract management
The usefulness of digitization isn’t limited to internal processes, it can also make it much easier to work on materials with people outside your organization. When Keith Krach created DocuSign he recognized that a major concern for many companies was the processing of contracts, which are often passed back and forth between different sites during negotiations. Now it’s possible to sign them remotely and the whole process can be facilitated without face-to-face meetings – much easier when working with companies based in distant locations or when two or more very busy people need to sign.
Smoother sales management
When sales records are digitized it’s much easier to cross-reference orders, opening up a multitude of useful options. You can analyze your buyers’ demographic data such as their location, or you can identify items commonly bought together, a really helpful insight for any salesperson. Where consent is given, you can create customer profiles that allow you to personalize the customer experience, making it more appealing to buy from your company. In the long term, digital sales records are the most practical option if you are managing sales online.
Reducing the environmental burden
Business printing can be tremendously wasteful and the high turnover of paper materials contributes significantly to environmental pollution. If you want to cut down office waste, going digital is the obvious step. While recycling is helpful, it’s much better to not print anything unnecessary in the first place. Even if you need to keep paper copies of some documents, you do not need to print hardcopies of every file and there are plenty that could be stored digitally.
By making the move to digital and paper-free systems, you will not have the same postal costs or delays and can expect your day-to-day processes to speed up considerably. In all these cases, digitization is a real money-saver. It also means you can expect more in return for the money you spend on salaries, as your employees will not waste time looking for files when they could be working with them. In practice, it quickly helps to create a more productive work environment, resulting in a greater return on investment and a more profitable business.
If the worst happens
Digitization gives you much better options when it comes to document storage. It is vital, of course, that you have digital back-up systems and hard-copies, but these should not take up too much space and, by storing materials in more than one location, you can make these files more secure. In the event of a fire, flood or similar disaster on your premises, you won’t have to worry about trying to piece things back together after vital records are lost – you can get up and running right away.
In the long term, digitization is inescapable. Everybody else is doing it and, unless you get on board, you will struggle to keep up with your competitors. The sooner you do it, the easier your conversion from paper will be and the sooner you can start reaping the rewards of digitization – so why delay?