Do You Need External Document Management Services?

Do You Need External Document Management Services?

Document management may not be the most glamorous part of business, but it is an essential and fundamental practice for any enterprise.

Whether you have two employees or two thousand, your business uses documents. While some businesses elect to manage their documentation in-house, this guide will explore why many organizations are turning to external document management services for their documentation needs.

Key Takeaways:

  • Document management incorporates both physical and digital documentation.
  • Digital documents are more flexible and harder to keep secure without an external system.
  • FileCenter uses advanced tools like OCR and encrypted sharing to help you make the most of your digital documents.

Document Management Overview

“Document management” can mean a paper filing system, but in the modern office, it has taken on a more holistic definition. Document management encompasses both physical and digital documents.

Many offices have realized the incredible benefits of a paperless office: less paper and toner expenses, less labor spent filing and retrieving paper documents, less clutter from files accumulated in desks and drawers, less security risk, and less hassle. Other offices still use paper documents for various reasons (for example, legal documents such as wills and eviction notices require wet signatures), but virtually every office uses digital documents in some capacity.

Because of that, external document management software has emerged as a popular option for present-day workplaces to keep their digital documents organized to the same standards as their physical paperwork.


The internet has revolutionized the way people access documents. While it’s opened entire universes of accessibility, it’s also ushered in new security threats that previous generations hadn’t even conceived of.

Because of the complexity and fast rate of change of cybersecurity, keeping a homegrown document management system secure is frequently too labor-intensive and error-prone for most businesses. Rather than try to take on the cybercriminals and bad actors of the world head-to-head, smart businesses opt for external document management services.

External document management services do the busywork of keeping up to date with the latest cybersecurity threats and enabling users to share documents securely so that companies can worry about the operation of their business rather than the ins and outs of document security.

Optical Character Recognition

One of the biggest advantages of external document management services like FileCenter is converting physical documents and images into machine-readable, editable documents.

While the text in Microsoft Word and on a typewriter may look nearly identical to a human reader, they could not be any more different from a machine. Computers can “read” the text in a digital document, which allows it to be sorted, analyzed, and—crucially—edited. When you scan a paper copy back into a computer, the computer can no longer “read” the text—it’s essentially just an image like any other.

Optical Character Recognition (or OCR) analyzes the brightness of the pixels of an image to make artificially intelligent predictions about the text the document contains. Based on the predictions of complex algorithms, OCR enables computers to “read” images of text, converting them back into a machine-readable format.

This ability is important for your business for many reasons. First, it allows you to make changes to PDFs and paper documents that would otherwise have been set in stone. It also allows you to search for documents containing specific text and analyze collections of documents based on shared characteristics.

OCR is one of the major reasons that external document management services have become as popular as they are today. While stand-alone OCR programs are available on the market, it’s the integration with other document management functions (like indexing, routing, and analyzing) that makes it truly powerful for businesses.

An example of how OCR converts paper text into machine-readable digital characters
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Remote Access

A paper document is secure as long as it’s locked in a filing cabinet. To access the document, you need the key, and you must be in the same location as the filing cabinet. If multiple people need to access the same document, you can opt for a complex system of taking turns or simply making a paper copy.

However, when you make copies of documents, not only are you exponentially increasing your paper usage, but you’re also multiplying your security risks. Now instead of one document, you have several documents that you still need to manage securely.

External document management services assist with this dilemma by enabling remote access to documents over a secure network. That means authorized users can access documents at any time and anywhere, but unauthorized users can’t see any information about the document.

Remote access also means multiple authorized users can view the same document without creating multiple copies. Not only is that good for security, good for the environment, and good for your budget, but it’s also good for your operations as this allows you to maintain a single source of truth across multiple users.

Cost Efficiency

Programmers have a saying: “Never spend six minutes doing something by hand when you can spend six hours trying to automate it.”

This sarcastic aphorism points out the tendency of the tech industry to sink countless hours into trying to find a newer, easier way to do things rather than follow a tried-and-true process. In document management, that could look like spending hours trying to make a homegrown document management system work rather than using the tried-and-true solutions from external document management systems. DIY is not always better, and this is especially true when it comes to document management.

Which is cheaper: using an external system or sinking weeks or months of labor into making an internal system work the way you need it to?

External document management systems can save you money in another way: by increasing the value of your digital documents, you can cut down on paper waste and expense. While worrying about the cost of a sheet of paper may seem like the epitome of frivolity, you may be surprised to hear that paper costs the average business nearly $50k per year between the cost of paper, storage, and labor.

While an external document management service can’t drive your labor costs down to $0, it can greatly improve the efficiency of your filing and retrieval processes and eliminate your paper expense.

Paper costs the average business nearly $50,000 per year
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Document Management Experts at FileCenter

Can your internal document management service convert PDFs into PowerPoint presentations with the click of a button? Convert static images of text into dynamic, editable files in a matter of seconds? Can it give you encrypted access to your files from anywhere on the planet?

FileCenter doesn’t just replace a filing cabinet. It enhances your entire business, all while saving you money and keeping you safer.

If you’re excited about revolutionizing your document management system but don’t know where to start, FileCenter can help take your company to the next level while also taking some stress off your shoulders.

To learn how FileCenter can help, download a free trial today.