Paper DocumentsIt’s estimated that some 40 percent of business activities are document-driven. And most companies spend as much as 10 percent of revenue on documents.

Even with all the buzz around the Internet of Everything, let’s face it: When you look under the hood, companies run on documents.

If your processes are the veins of your company’s nervous system, then the documents are the blood flowing through them.

Processes exist to ensure the right things are being communicated to the right people at the right time. But the documents actually do the communicating.

And more often than not, your documents contain business critical information.

  • Invoices communicate how much you owe and how much you’re owed.
  • Proposals communicate what you can do and what you will do.
  • Marketing materials communicate what problems you solve for your clients.

Even the most innocuous and simple documents can be fundamental to what the company is trying to achieve. They’re the most noticeable and manageable part of a company’s communications.

There’s just one massive problem: most companies don’t explicitly think about how they’re managing their documents. Especially when they’re growing rapidly.

Which means that during periods of intense growth, when communication matters more than ever and organizational habits are being formed, you may be missing opportunities to optimize the way 10 percent of revenue is spent.

For the most part, document management isn’t ignored out of negligence; it’s ignored because it doesn’t seem like a particularly big deal.

The role of IT in document-driven processes

If you’re running IT for a growing business, you’re probably spending all your time reacting to issues, accommodating new people and managing infrastructure at breakneck speed.

So if you see something like unused documents lying in printer trays, they understandably look like the least of your worries. But if you looked a little closer, they’d raise some important questions.

  • Are those sensitive documents just lying there unprotected?
  • Could someone miss a crucial version of a file because it’s lying in a printer tray instead of their desk?
  • Do employees have any idea how costly the waste of ink and paper is?

And that’s just for unused documents. The symptoms of broken document management actually impact every person and process in the company.

If you’re running IT for a growing business and you’re looking for a way to make a huge mark, document management is an important place to start.

Analyze where the documents come from, how they move and where they need to end up and you won’t just be improving things like printer placement and device policies – you’ll be impacting the way your firm communicates.

The first step is all about assessing the way you currently manage documents and understanding what works and what doesn’t. Start asking questions like:

  • Have we positioned our printers and scanners in a way that ensures the maximum number of people have access to them?
  • Are the processes that necessitate printing formalized? Or is printing typically a response to ad-hoc needs?
  • Which of our document workflows are predictable enough to be automated by a multi-function printer?
  • How many steps does it take for someone to scan a document and store it securely?
  • Do we have any security protocols in place to make sure sensitive documents are never left unattended in the printer tray?

Once you’ve carried out a thorough assessment of your document management landscape, you’ll realize how vital an area this is for attention.

From there, it’s just a matter of identifying the right solutions to those issues – determining what can be automated, what needs to be secured and who needs to be given control.

We help growing businesses assess their document processes all the time and they invariably find it’s a great way to impact the bottom line. But crucially, by fixing document management strategically, IT leaders win back crucial hours they would’ve spent reacting to smaller issues.

And in a growing business when smart IT leadership is most needed, nothing’s more important.

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