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Digitalization of documents: a business investment decision with a future

To digitize or not to digitize? This is the query. Probably, since before, many organizations have been asking the exact same question without finding a correct answer; and this is precisely the passage of time that is working in front of them. Obviously, within this long period of hesitation, the file stack continues to expand. Jorge López, vice president and renowned analyst at Gartner Group, tried to answer the query at the CIO & IT Executive Summit 2013, which took place in September 2013, in Mexico City. He pointed out that “the key to effectively positioning yourself in the industry through scientific knowledge will be to be aware of the reality that digitization is not just something ephemeral, but a movement that is changing the future.”

From this unique point of view, the live cycle of the record is changed. Today, the document phases include: production, capture, storage, management, and dispersal. Similarly, the complications, better called advantages, that the business faces when applying digitization processes, are summarized below: cost reduction, increased production and safety, and green technologies.

In a company, cost reduction is completely related to digitizing your business documents. To highlight this announcement, we can take as a reference the “Study on the digitization of documents and the cost of preserving paper”, carried out by the European Union, Andersen Consulting and Gartner Group. This particular report means that storing a record in a standard paper file costs €6.53; and a company will be saving around 10.53 euros for each document that is not physically registered. In addition, the normal charge for the area required to store old files is 11,000 euros, against 114 euros in case the documents are stored electronically.

On the contrary, the increase in efficiency levels is pointed out in a survey carried out by AIIM Europe 2009 (the Global Community of Information Professionals), in which they explain that more than 15% of any room or office space is destined to paper files. This space and the rather chaotic file organization systems are often the reasons why it takes an employee an average of fifty minutes each day to search for and locate paper documents. The details demonstrated by these statistics can definitely create a terrible corporate image, decreased credibility, and even wrong business decisions.

Regarding security, it is usually not better to scan all documents. Each and every organization needs to determine what the most salient business documents are and these need to be scanned. Usually these are the newest, active, old and damaged files.

With many document management systems, multiple staff members can tackle a scanned document together, but only authorized people can view a scanned file. Quite simply, security is ensured, both by the specific admission permits and by the mere fact that the content of the documents can be sent in whole or in part, by email or any other electronic mechanism, without the need to send physical copies or wait to be sent. files to reach.

An office that will save paper is actually a green office that values ​​the natural environment. According to a survey conducted by Telefónica, one of the largest private telecommunications companies on the planet, a member of staff uses an average of 10,000 sheets of paper each year. If this figure is multiplied by the number of staff in a company, the result will be surprising.

The legal gap

One of the many aspects that limits the extensive use of electronic documents is really the legal vacuum around the process. As an example, in the European Union there is modest and clear legislation in relation to the legal credibility of electronic documents, although great efforts have been made during the last decade. Do you realize why it is so difficult to implement adequate legislation on electronic documentation in the European Union? Mainly because each member country of the EU needs to translate the corresponding European directive into a national law; and the most recent directives are clear about the purpose and not so much about the techniques to achieve this purpose.

In addition, there is a lack of homogenization between the different EU countries. For example, in Belgium, Spain, France and the Netherlands there is no specific legislation on the destruction of basic physical documents, while in Germany and Italy there are certain regulations that regulate this matter. A definite problem is in the UK, where companies are destroying their original paper documents due to the ambiguity of UK law. They do not have a specific law that controls the concept.

As one might believe, the duration of the custody of original paper documents is also not regulated in a general way, and each country specifies the corresponding authority that must determine the periods of custody of the documents. Being a fascinating fact, in Switzerland, for example, documents related to real estate must be kept for around 20-25 years.

The legal vacuum is convincing proof of insufficient legislative homogeneity, both at the international and national levels. After all, it is not sensible that, somewhere, the law regulates digitization and electronic archiving and, on the contrary, the destruction of the original files is not granted. This scenario is neither fruitful nor lasting. Appropriate officials must act now and evolve with technology to ensure an effective electronic business connection between markets and people.

Document solutions for all tastes and budgets

There is no way out that works for everyone. There are several document systems that include business document scanning, storage, retrieval and handling as an integral section of the solution and there are several other systems that focus on document scanning. Dedicated applications may be the ideal choice for businesses that want to scan large documents, but don’t need a complex document management system. On the contrary, in case a company wants to fuse a document management system in its document creation and generation processes and, due to this, needs more control, modular or comprehensive document management solutions are the best option. .

While end-to-end solutions were once too expensive, many document management software vendors have now lowered their fees, both because document management is becoming more common and to offer the many benefits of document management (mainly only available to large companies) to medium and large companies. small companies.

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