A document management system allows you to store all of your business documents, physical and electronic, on the same network. Physical documents are converted to electronic ones using a set of document processing technologies, which can take a number of different forms. (Invoice processing just applies these technologies to your accounts department.) The resulting files may be Word documents, if you have more complex software such as optical character recognition, or they may be JPEGs, TIFFs and PDFs if they are straightforward scans.
The advantages of document processing are immense. Companies can literally become paperless, since everything can be uploaded and saved centrally, allowing anyone with permission to access it as they require it. However, itâs not a panacea, and used unwisely there are certain problems. One of the reasons youâll want to research using such a system is because it is more environmentally friendly, since it doesnât waste paper. Another is that documents can be found and shared efficiently.
However, there are knock-on effects to other parts of your business. Your IT infrastructure will need to be up-to-date and future-proofed to prevent issues. A common problem to anticipate is storage space.Â
Document processing turns physical papers into electronic files. The software involved does this in a range of ways and with a variety of results. Some outputs (file types) are more useful than others. So, for example, a simple scan programme might give you a TIFF or PDF. These file-types can be optimised â or they can contain a huge amount of unnecessary information. Where files are larger than they need to be (and they can run to many tens of megabytes) your storage space will fill up rapidly. Sooner or later you will have to do something about it to keep your system working. That might be adding more storage (which is reasonably cheap but can come with the complications of restructuring), moving to the cloud (with data protection issues) or carrying out a complex de-dup.
The solution is to think long-term when you are moving to a paperless system. Document processing technology should be chosen on your future needs, not just current ones or simple price level. Otherwise, your document management system will become overloaded and you will end up paying more for emergency storage. Invoice processing, too, could become over-complicated, with customer and supplier goodwill suffering as a result. Since this is something you probably wanted to address and streamline with invoice processing, itâs as well to ensure it doesnât become a problem further down the line when the new system has been implemented.
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