Document Dynamics

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How COVID-19 has shone light on the benefits of a document management system

How COVID-19 has shone light on the benefits of a document management system

These advantages are more important now than ever

Bansaree Millward

It’s been a year since the UK government told people to “start working from home where they possibly can”, and a lot has changed since then. The impact of COVID-19 can be seen in most aspects of life, including travel, education, retail/high-street and employment. The following statistics demonstrate the extent of this impact:

  • Findings from the World Tourism Organization show the number of international tourist arrivals from January to December 2020 fell by 74% compared to the previous year (2019: 1.5 billion vs 2020: 381 million);
  • According to the Atlantis Group, COVID-19 represents the most significant challenge to education globally since WW2, with research conducted in November 2020 finding more than half of students surveyed said that their well-being and mental health has worsened as a result of the pandemic;
  • Due to UK national lockdowns resulting in the closure of non-essential shops, data from November 2020 shows that high-street footfall is at 45 percent compared to the same period last year;
  • Research from the International Labour Organization found that in 2020 labour markets around the world were disrupted at an unprecedented scale; finding 8.8% of global working hours were lost relative to the fourth quarter of 2019, equivalent to 255 million full-time jobs.

The effect on employment can also be seen in the way people work. Jobs that were previously carried out in offices for years are now being done remotely (where possible), resulting in businesses and employees having to adapt the way they work.

Tasks that previously would have taken minutes could now take much longer (for example, printing a document and handing it to a colleague) and things previously taken for granted (colleagues in the office to ask a quick question to, in-person collaboration needed for creativity etc) may not be as readily available or easily done.

However, during all the changes and uncertainties that this last year has bought, the benefits of an automated document management system have been emphasized. Businesses and employees were suddenly faced with challenges to complete routine processes whilst working from home.

An example of this is that supplier invoices which were usually posted to your office no longer had anyone to receive, scan them in and process them. The ease a system brings to day-to-day duties and the overall benefits of the streamlining of business processes have been amplified.

Document access

When the UK government told those who could to work from home, there was uncertainty around how long this would last and when offices could be next accessed. For the businesses that rely and call on physical paper-documents stored in their offices, this was a huge concern.

With a document management system, the reliance on paper decreases as these systems can capture, store, and retrieve documents. This is a huge benefit when working remotely as this lets business processes carry on as usual without disturbance, even without physical access into the office.

For example, our solution, Zetadocs, allows suppliers to send invoices via email rather than receiving them by post. Zetadocs then lets users drag and drop these invoices directly into the relevant Business Central records (these invoices are simultaneously stored in SharePoint). Not only does this improve customer service, but also provides full document visibility. Find out more about our supplier invoice processing solution here.

With less reliance on paper-documents, this also reduces physical space taken up by filing cabinets, reducing storage costs associated with retaining paper documents. Our solution will let all relevant employees ‘access the filing cabinet’ by storing documents in an electronic archive that can be accessed remotely. Furthermore, in the unfortunate event of a disaster (fire, flood etc), documents will be protected, resulting in better backup and disaster recovery protection.

Ease of collaboration

One of the most difficult things to keep as ‘constant’ as prior to working from home is collaborating and working together. Turning around to talk to or going up to a colleague’s desk to ask a question or run something by them isn’t as easy to do now.

Using a document management system can make sharing information simpler. Documents can be captured from different sources (customers, suppliers etc) and can be accessed by multiple internal employees, meaning information can be accessed instantly.

For example, Zetadocs Capture ensures that all relevant inbound documents relating to your financial processes is available on screen to authorised staff by capturing incoming emails, faxes or scanned documents for central storage with automatic linking into your finance system.

This provides greater document visibility, allowing different people and departments across the business to see the same documents at the same time, which whilst working remotely is extra important.

Increased security

During this pandemic, the use of video conferencing/calling software has exponentially increased, with Zoom recording over 300 million meeting participants per day in 2020 and Microsoft Teams having 75 million active daily users in 2020. With this increase, personal data safety is more important now than ever.

Document management systems reduce the occurrence of physical security breaches. With respect to sensitive information, storing this in a secure network can stop this information getting into the wrong hands, including office break-ins or even accidentally by employees. These systems can also leave an audit trail of who viewed a document and when, and record if anything was modified, providing further control.

Zetadocs uses a central electronic archive to remove the inefficiencies caused by documents being spread across different systems and locations, in both paper and electronic form. This archive may be on a SharePoint server, on SharePoint Online (Office 365) or in network folders on your file server, ensuring immediate access with enhanced security.

Take advantage of these benefits now

COVID-19 has impacted most lives across the globe, and as a result, people have had to adapt the way they live. Working from home has been one of these major obstacles, and if you’ve been working remotely, you’ll have most likely experienced first-hand the difficulties this can bring.

With this shift in working habits, it is likely that long-term changes to usual work routines will occur, potentially resulting in a combination of working from the office and working remotely. Guarantee your company’s document management process is ready for this change today.

It is certain that COVID-19 has highlighted the benefits of a document management system, including overcoming physical location barriers, enabling collaboration with instant access of documents across departments and increasing security.

Our document management system, Zetadocs, will provide all these benefits and more, helping you to streamline your business processes.

Book a demo with our team or get in touch with us today to discover how our software can benefit your business.

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