Document archiving done rightOctober 8 - 4pm
For a business owner or administrator, it has the promise of an infomercial. Save money, time and effort!
No old-fashioned filing, no lost material! But it’s no joke – for organisations, poor management of documents, whether paper or electronic, leads to big headaches. It’s expected that digital storage alone will double to two zettabytes by next year, and much of that material will at some point need to be retrieved or relocated.
A primary driver of this growth is the increasing need for record retention. In New Zealand, the Public Records Act 2005 mandates the type of records public offices must keep and for how long. The disposal of information is also covered by the Act.
Likewise, our justice system has increased its expectations; organisations must retain records for longer than before, and courts require organisations to be able to produce documents on request.
Happily, the ability to capture/scan paper-based documents has substantially advanced in recent years. For many organisations, the multifunctional device (MFD) is and will remain the primary resource for scanned documents.
Though these devices have in the past made hard work of the capture and processing of the paper documents, MFD software has evolved to the point that it is now enabling users to scan, digitise, route, store and optimise their business-critical information.
This improved ability to capture and codify documents has addressed one of the key former difficulties with electronic storage and management. It reduces the number of document management tasks, cuts down on human error, improves efficiency and is cost-saving.
One dominant element that is often outside the document management loop is perhaps the biggest business communication tool: email. Electronic mail contains key information, much of it pertaining to or referencing other documents. In many service-related industries (legal, accounting, consulting), an email is a key business document in itself.
Historically, many organisations have managed the need to retain emails by labour-intensively printing and filing them with the related ‘project’. Electronic document management systems (EDMS) are increasing the support for the filing of emails alongside the relevant transaction or project.
Elsewhere, there is rising awareness and acceptance of SaaS (Software as a Service). The advantages of a SaaS deployment for document management are compelling. It’s easy to get started with little or no capital outlay, and the client can start with minimum implementation and grow capacity as needed.
Equally important is the reduction in infrastructure management and back-up requirements, as these activities become the responsibility of the SaaS provider. When delivered as a service, document management offers cost benefits that can make it feasible, if not imperative, for many SMEs to consider implementing an EDMS.
At present, too many New Zealand organisations are holding critical documents in paper form, or electronically in informal Windows structures, with limited or no back-up.
The results of such a loose approach can be dismaying: companies can and do lose documents through flooding, earthquake and other damage, poor security, and informal and/or inappropriate disposal methods. Modern EDMS now provides powerful search and retrieval capabilities, supported by policy covering security and access rights. Just as important is the control it gives over retention and disposal of documents.
By Greg Twiname, Konica Minolta software solutions channel manager