Document Management Systems: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need

Document Management Systems: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need

In America alone, offices use 12.1 trillion sheets of paper each year. A ream of 500 sheets is 2.5 inches thick, meaning the 24 billion annual reams of paper stacked in one pile would be over 950,000 miles tall—enough to stack to the moon and back nearly twice over—and that’s just in the United States! 

Twelve trillion sheets of paper are a lot to manage, so why do so many businesses struggle with an outdated document management system? Document management doesn’t have to be the chore it was 10 years ago because document management systems like FileCenter take the unnecessary guesswork out of managing your paperwork.

Key Takeaways:

  • Businesses’ record-keeping needs are growing
  • Electronic document management systems are revolutionizing the way businesses manage their paperwork
  • FileCenter’s powerful document management tools can revolutionize the way you do business.

The Need for a Document Management System

The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper each year. Managing all that paperwork takes up 60% of the average employee’s time, but despite the incredible expense and difficulty of managing those documents, only 17% of businesses have made the jump to going completely paperless. 68% of small businesses say they use digital documents, but 44% say they’re intimidated by the process. Sales departments are leading the charge, with 62% using digital documentation tools, but other departments are falling short.

62% of sales departments use digital documentation tools as part of their document management system

Every department in your business uses documentation, but keeping track of your vital paperwork doesn’t have to be the chore it was 10 years ago. Small business document management systems like FileCenter take the guesswork out of organizing and managing your paperwork.

What used to be a full-time position can be accomplished with easy-to-use software that scans receipts, converts PDFs, automates document storage, and much more. Paper has been around for 2,000 years, and people still use it today because it has several advantages, but the horizon of electronic document management systems is fundamentally changing the way people do business.

Advantages of Paper Systems

Although more and more businesses are utilizing digital documentation, paper documents are still an essential part of business. Understanding the advantages of paper and electronic document management enables you to find the right balance between electronic document management and physical filing.

1. Flexibility

One of paper’s biggest advantages is its flexibility. Paper documents can include handwritten notes, drawings, sticky notes, stamps, etc. Adding a note to a paper document is as easy as pulling out a pen and making the necessary changes. The versatility of paper is what’s made it a staple of business for millennia, but it’s also one of its greatest downsides.

Handwritten notes can be difficult to read, impossible to index, and easy to lose in a filing system. One of FileCenter’s most helpful tools is the ability to add notes, highlights, and edits to PDF digital documents so you can take advantage of the flexibility of paper along with the convenience and efficiency of electronic document management.

2. Tactility

The one thing technology hasn’t been able to improve on is the physical touch of paper. Many businesspeople enjoy the tactility of paper documents and the speed they can flip through files. 

The tradeoff for the tactility of paper is that it isn’t searchable, editable, or able to be duplicated without losing fidelity. For certain types of paperwork, such as contracts or loan documents, physical documents may be preferable for some businesspeople, but other types of paperwork are better suited to electronic document management.

Advantages of Document Management Systems

While paper documents have their place in modern business, you can efficiently and effectively manage an increasing number of documents with an electronic system. There are several major advantages to electronic document management systems that users should be aware of as they assess their needs:

1. Backups

One of the biggest advantages of a document management system is that files can be backed up in the cloud or stored in secondary or tertiary locations with the click of a button. Backing up paper documents requires making physical copies and doubling or tripping your costs.

The average business spends $8,000 on paper each year, over $600,000    on labor costs spent filing paperwork, and over $1,200 just on rent for the square footage filing cabinets. Are you willing to double or triple those costs just to stick with a paper system? Electronic document management systems allow you to back up your files with a few clicks of your mouse for only the cost of the space they take up on a hard drive.

2. Permanence

The average paper document is photocopied 19 times during its lifecycle. Each time they’re copied, paper documents lose fidelity. They become distorted, blown out, and lose resolution every time you duplicate them, but you can indefinitely copy digital files with no quality loss.

FileCenter uses Optical Character Recognition to convert documents into searchable PDFs so that you can duplicate even paper documents with complete fidelity.

3. Searchability

There is nothing more frustrating than needing a specific piece of paperwork and not knowing where it is. Paper systems rely on tedious and error-prone manual sorting and filing, so finding a specific document sorted improperly can take hours. Document management systems allow you to not only organize your files the same way you might in a physical filing cabinet, but they also allow you to index and search your files based on the text of the document as well as metadata and comments added to the document.

4. Remote Access

77% of business owners say they want to be able to access documents remotely. As Covid has accelerated remote work, being able to access documents from anywhere is more important than ever. One of the weaknesses of paper systems is that paper is only accessible from one location without making expensive physical duplicates, but document management systems allow files to be accessed from multiple secure locations concurrently. 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, only 30% of employees worked remotely all or some of the time. In 2021, that number had grown to 48%, with 19% of workers working remotely all the time. Accessing documents securely from remote locations is a benefit of document management systems that paper systems can’t compete with.

48% of workers work remotely after the COVID-19 pandemic

5. Automation

In the digital age, automation is augmenting human labor in nearly every field. “Document Manager” used to be a job title, but in the modern age, you can accomplish many tasks that used to require hours of labor with sophisticated yet easy-to-use software.

FileCenter allows users to automate the most tedious tasks of naming, converting, and routing files, saving businesses labor and employees frustration.

Why FileCenter?

Document management systems allow you to take control of your paperwork so you can spend your time on the things that matter. FileCenter has a sophisticated suite of software that can do everything from scanning paper documents into editable PDFs with Ocular Character Recognition technology, converting text PDFs to images and other file formats, indexing files based on metadata and text, and compatibility with cloud and Microsoft applications.

If you’re ready to save time and money on your document management system, see how FileCenter can cut down some of your most expensive and tedious work. Download a Free Trial or Schedule a Demo today to reclaim your document management and put technology to work for you.