Document management makes accessing critical information quick and simple, as it provides a single point of access. With the addition of document scanning, a government agency becomes better equipped to manage, collaborate, create and distribute information. As the number of government documents continues to increase, a management system unifies paper and electronic files, allowing an agency to modernize, experience higher levels of efficiency and keep records secure.
Electronic Document Management Systems
Electronic document management systems use software programs that electronically manage the creation, storage and controlling of documents. The programs only let authorized users access the documents to carry out duties, such as printing. Features within document managing software generally include workflow management, document management, imaging and text retrieval.
Hardware included in an electronic document system is a scanner that captures electronic images of documents. If the management software contains Optical Character Recognition (OCR), the program may automatically index scanned documents and store the text found within the image. By pairing OCR with Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR), the software automatically captures additional data, making it simple to find a document using search terms.
Benefits of Document Scanning and Electronic Document Management Systems
- Streamline document management: As soon as an electronic records management system scans a document, it is immediately available to authorized personnel within the agency. Electronic documents reduce the need to file hard copies using an organization system with high risk for human error.
- Employee efficiency: Multiple individuals can access electronic files at the same time, eliminating the need to photocopy or share documents. If the agency’s electronic document management system includes an in-house scanner, staff members can quickly convert hard copies into digital files and share them. When the management system includes OCR capabilities, staff members can find electronic documents in a fraction of the time of searching through file cabinets.
- Save time and reduce waste: While government offices may never be paper-free, an electronic document management system can help an agency save paper and reduce waste. Distributing an electronic document via email or in a shared folder before a meeting, for instance, may eliminate the need to prepare files that include copies of the respective documents for each staff member.
- Cost savings: Scanning decreases the need to use photocopiers and fax machines to distribute documents, saving an office on toner, paper and maintenance-related costs. Scanning documents also reduces storage-related costs, such as filing cabinets, filing accessories and filing clerks. If the agency doesn’t have a legal obligation to maintain hard copies of certain electronic documents, it may be able to decrease the rented space needed to securely store hard copies.
- Added security: Electronic documents don’t require secure filing cabinets, locks or security personnel to keep them safe. When you use a reputable vendor and the right management setup, electronic records aren’t affected by disasters like floods or fires. With the right security protocols, access controls and encryption technologies, a government agency can prevent electronic records from going missing, incurring damage or manipulation, or falling into the wrong hands.
In addition to improving office efficiencies and enhancing document management practices, electronic document management systems allow businesses to easily remain in compliance with federal regulations. Polygon’s Code Blue® services complement existing government emergency management plans. Contact Polygon today to learn more.
[Photo by Kai Hendry via CC License 2.0]