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What You Need to Think About Going Paperless Office

Paperless Office is as it sounds: a workplace in which you’ve limited or even eliminated the use of paper. This means going digital with your documents, and that can lead to a lot of benefits. It can save your business money, increase productivity, save space, make documentation and information sharing easier, keep information more secure, and make for an eco-friendly office.

Plan File Structure
Planning the type of file structure and how to organize documents is necessary. Brainstorm with key members of each department in order to develop a file structure that works across. You’ll also need a way to access and manage your digital documents such as document management system (DMS) which consists of software that enables you to perform tasks including filing, indexing, and document retrieval to more as workflow and process tasks.

Plan Search Strategy
you can convert documents into PDF documents and make them searchable, which can breathe new life into static image documents and paper. If PDF is the file type to used for paperless, PDF IFilter is needed also because it a plug-in that lets Microsoft search engines index PDF files so that you can search PDF file more easily. PDF IFilter provide search results for multiple file formats (.doc, .docx, .xls, .ppt, etc.) at the same time. If the information you’re searching for is located in different file formats , you can get all these files returned in a single search.

Consider Scanning Needs
Consider purchasing a document imaging system and task your service provider with scanning all your records, setting up the databases, and train your staff. A wide range of info-tech services has emerged to meet the demands of the digital transition, and they’ll help make the move to paperless smoother. After scanning, the documents need to be OCRed. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a software technology that enables you to convert scanned document into documents with “live text,” aka readable, searchable text that you can change, copy, edit, and basically do anything you regularly do to text.

Digital Document Storage
You can install your own electronic document filing system. The pro: it gives you complete control over your records. The con: you have to purchase, set up and manage the software, computers, file storage space, backup and other components needed for your DMS. Another option is to go with an online/cloud-based document storage service.
Cloud-based document storage options for single users and small businesses include companies such as Dropbox, Evernote, One Note, and many others. Mid-level cloud based file storage systems offer users the chance to develop a DMS with little or no IT investment. For very large organizations or for those who need very high levels of document security, there are major software packages that are feature rich, modular, and have tools for customization and direct integration with other software packages such as ERP systems. Keep in mind that those sophisticated features come at a price and may require devoted IT resources to maintain them.

Digital Document Conversion
When you use modern PDF document creation software, you can convert forms designed in any application to compact, cross-platform PDF files that faithfully preserve the look and feel of the originals. You can also create interactive forms that anyone with a free PDF Reader can fill out, save, and return online. Interactive forms can also be used to save input data directly into a central database.

Digital Signature Strategy
Most PDF software enables you to sign documents digitally. You can sign documents in a digital version that looks like your own handwriting and also includes information about the signer along with the date, time, and state of the document when it was signed. Secure digital signatures protect the validity and integrity of electronic documents, enabling your digital documents to become self-contained, portable and sustainable electronic records.

Information Rights Management (IRM) functionality
IRM gives your organization online and offline protection of documents and email messages and attachments, which often contain sensitive information by controlling who can access, send, print, or copy sensitive data.

Data backup Plan
Files get overwritten or deleted, drives crash, natural disasters occur. So, if you’re going paperless (and even if you aren’t), a backup plan is critical. The best backup strategies consist of a combination of local backup, network backup and remote backup. Local backup includes flash drives, external hard drives and media like CDs or DVDs. Your backup strategy should include local backup, network backup and remote backup. Network backup typically means a network-attached server (NAS) that saves copies of your data right on your network. A remote backup server stores your data in another geographical location and keeps it recoverable in case of a local data loss. That means if your office is in Chicago, you might keep your remote backup in Saskatchewan.

User Training
One way to reduce the curve is to adopt systems and software that have interfaces, features and functionality your teams are already familiar with. Providing employee training for the information systems you use is going to be necessary. No matter how well designed your paperless office system is, you won’t enjoy its advantages if employees don’t know how to use it. That’s why training should be mandatory but not optional. In this way you can help change old habits and introduce new, necessary skills for your paperless environment.

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