This post was published as part of our guest blog series by Altec, the provider of DocLink -- a robust document management and workflow solution helping businesses manage their document lifecycles from start to finish. We are excited to welcome them as a exhibitor at our annual INNOVATE 2021 conference next year, and thank them for this contribution to our nonprofit community!
Step One: Electronic Documents
The easiest concept to explain, and perhaps the most important, is the idea of taking printed, physical documents and turning them into electronic ones. To accomplish this, we simply need to capture an image of the document, either by scanning it or sending it to a virtual printer, then give that document meaning by adding index values. One of the powerful features of DocLink is its secure repository that allows you to bring in any type of documents or files.
By purchasing this simple, document repository system, a company could save significant amounts of time and money that would be spent storing and searching for documents.
Step Two: Output Automation
Being able to store and view documents electronically is huge when it comes to saving on storage costs, but the costs to send documents through the mail or via courier can get quite expensive too. The Output tool will automatically distribute documents via email, fax or print – or however the recipient would like to receive it.
Not having to separate, fold, apply postage and mail all of those documents is a significant benefit, and not having to keep track of who needs which documents sent in what format is a huge time-saving, increases efficiency, and offers your vendors and customers options to meet their needs.
Step Three: Workflow Automation
The next step in a paperless office environment is being able to route documents for approval. An invoice, for example, might need to go through several levels of approval before accounts payable can cut a check. Sometimes that even involves sending it to different approvers based on the amount or the vendor.
With workflow automation, once the invoice is scanned into DocLink, it can automatically be routed to the appropriate person in the approval process. Then after reviewing, making notes or coding, that approver can click a button to send it to the next step in the approval process. Workflow automation saves time while allowing for reporting and auditing of activity. Managing processes electronically minimizes the chances for error and gives supervisors the ability to manage to the exception instead of the rule.
There are even more advanced tools that could be added to the solution to automate indexing, create custom electronic forms, or make document accessible via the web or mobile for example.
These three stepping stones represent a strong, simple foundation that can be enhanced later through an extensive business process review. It is important to remember that document management is not an all-or-nothing solution. You have the ability to configure the solution to best fit the company’s specific needs and budget and add on as your needs grow.