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ECM: Your Secret Weapon For Sensitive Document Control

Posted by on Mar 6, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

By Thomas Schneck • February 17, 2016 On a daily basis, your business creates and handles hundreds of documents. These documents detail processes, convey product specifications and provide instruction to other employees as well as customers. Numerous documents – regardless of their context – flow into and out of your organization every day with one thing remaining constant: Various people inside and outside your organization need access to them. How do you control what is done with these documents? An inconsistent and undisciplined approach to managing sensitive documents and protecting confidential information could put your business at risk. What NOT To Do When Approaching Enterprise Content Management At the start of any software project, do not let the technology determine policies in your organization. In terms of ECM technology, be sure that the method of sensitive document control makes the most sense for your business. Establish document control principles and practices in advance of implementing an ECM system. Processes and policies inform the development, distribution, approval, editing, storage, security and destruction of documents in your organization. The technology should be an added layer to these processes once they have been established throughout your business. Where To Start With Sensitive Document Control Policies So, how do you start creating practices and processes around how your business creates, manages and maintains documents? To help you get started, below are a set of questions to ask about your documents and how your organization handles them: How do employees create new documents? Who authorizes or establishes that need? How are new documents maintained once they are drafted? Who needs access to these documents, and where are they located in the business? What standard document types are currently floating around your business? How do you limit the amount of document versions or duplicates? How do you know which version is the canonical document? Are documents always dated with approval, review and revision dates? What evidence is available for document approval? How do you know what changes were made to a document? How do you restrict the use of documents – from access to copying to printing to emailing? Where ECM Enters The Document Lifecycle After you establish the policies and practices to manage the documents flowing through your business, it’s worth taking a look at some ECM features that increase your level of document control: Access Rights: Establishing levels of permissions for specific groups of users makes it more difficult for authorized people to access documents. Audit Trails And Reporting: Document transparency is critical for control. Who has accessed which document at which time? In terms of compliance, being able to quickly produce a report that lists all users who have accessed the document and what changes they made is extremely powerful. Archiving And Purging: Instead of worrying about when to dispose of documents, establish document retention rules at the outset and alleviate your organization from the risk of holding onto expired documents for too long. Disaster Recovery: Creating backups of documents enhances security and storage by ensuring that your organization’s information is off-site and secure. Digital Signature: Provides forgery-proof, two-factor identification that also ensure no changes have been made to a document after it has been electronically signed. Avoiding Out-Of-Control Document Risks Document control is important in any line of business. Whether you’re concerned with protecting confidential information or establishing better regulatory compliance procedures, you need extensive document controls. At the end of the day,...

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Handy Business-App for All Smartphones

Posted by on Mar 6, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

By Mary Williams • February 17, 2016  Mobility has been top priority at DocuWare for many years. At CeBIT 2011, the ECM developer launched DocuWare Mobile for Apple iPhones, which was the first mobile solution on the market; apps for Android and Windows phones quickly followed. Since 2014, DocuWare’s PaperScan app has been turning smartphones into powerful mobile scanners. With PaperOrganizer, the app added two years ago, users are storing all types of documents in a smart, well-organized manner right in their online file cabinet. With DocuWare Mobile, the third generation of their mobile app, working remotely is now even easier and more comfortable. Click here for the press...

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How To Lessen Small Business Stress With Better Document Management

Posted by on Mar 6, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

By Thomas Schneck • March 02, 2016 How a business handles its documents says a lot about its ability to thrive in its current form as well as grow into a mature, competitive entity in today’s marketplace. In small businesses, specifically, multiple employees are handling multiple responsibilities. Every minute proves vital and valuable. Taking time away from one’s main duties to look for a document that may be misfiled adds hours to the day and employees to the payroll. Let’s look at a small business approach to document management – and what changes are necessary for scaling the business in an efficient, cost-effective way. Common Document Repository Applications For Start-Up Businesses As business owners begin growing their business, they quickly see the need for online document storage and retrieval applications, like Dropbox and Google Drive. In the small business world, these applications occupy an important role in grab-and-go digital document scenarios. These online file-sharing applications are useful for storing digital files, including document templates and other reference materials. However, once the business grows from five to ten employees or collaboration becomes a crucial business function – whichever milestone appears first – a document management system is a vital addition to the business. Online File Sharing Vs. Document Management Software While online file sharing centralizes documents, it does so in silos – without any visibility into who touched the document, what changes were made or where the document stands in terms of “readiness” within a workflow. As a business grows and creates digital workflows stemming from documents, the need for a central system to collect these documents and point out operational bottlenecks proves hugely useful to keeping the work moving and the business running efficiently. At first, these kinds of digital file storage applications are extremely useful repositories for digital documents, and some situations warrant their use. These kinds of applications, however, do not aid the establishment or regulation of digital workflows and company-wide collaboration. Efficient Document Management Is All About Process When business information is stored in multiple document repositories, and this information needs to be shared between employees, it’s essential to begin an early integration of such technologies rather than accumulate more of them. Whether businesses are looking to take advantage of early pay discounts or to leverage business research that has helped one client in order to help another, they need a system of organization that facilitates this flow of knowledge exchange. Instead of using various technologies to store sets of information – client data, business research, sales details and emails –resource-savvy businesses should aim to centralize this information through one system in the pursuit of more efficient processes, faster collaboration and more profitable transactions. The ability to grow a business is rooted in the right processes and the right systems, and implementing document management software early helps put these processes in place. Answering Common Business Document Management Needs When looking for software, businesses may find a variety of attractive options. It’s important for a business to approach its document management software purchase as a partnership. Ask of the company behind the software: “Will you be around long enough to help support us through our growth phases?” Establishing better document management processes is an advantage for a business of any size. Yet, doing so presents certain complications, because changing these processes is always a paradigm shift. Companies that are with you through the long run...

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Trouble With Invoice Processing? Try A Software Approach

Posted by on Feb 15, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

By Thomas Schneck • January 07, 2016 Have you ever thought that paper-intensive processes might be reducing your company’s profitability? Invoice processing is an area where overworked staff, manual processes and paper-caused chaos create a ripple effect throughout your organization that keeps you from being efficient and doing what you do best. A document management system that integrates with your accounting system is one way to bring a digital advantage to your accounting operations. Decreasing Time-Sensitive Tasks With Invoice Processing Software Searching through filing cabinets. Even though invoices and related documents may be filed correctly, it still takes time to look for the documents, remove them and return them after use. Digital access through invoice processing software gives your team complex search features to find and locate all relevant documents with breakneck speed. Matching purchase order to invoice. Verifying line items against what was received is a manual, time-consuming processes. In a digital file space, these items are automatically linked and matched in the system. So, recalling one item instantly recalls the other, which reduces the amount time dedicated to digging for documents. Matching the delivery ticket to the invoice. Sometimes invoices come in multiple times, causing confusion in accounting departments as to which invoice they should pay. In a digital filing system, the delivery ticket may also be automatically attached to the PO and invoice for proof of receipt. Workflows may be structured around these digital documents to ensure receiving personnel verifies that the correct items were received and undamaged. Getting approval to pay invoices from departmental management. When a PO is submitted to a vendor, the vendor sends accounting an invoice, but accounting has no idea if it’s able to pay that invoice or not. Accounting is under incredible pressure to pay invoices on time while also avoiding double- and over-paying invoices. Putting these items through an electronic workflow shifts the responsibility to department managers to approve invoices and speed up invoice payment. Ensuring fast payment of booking and general ledger entries. Sometimes buildings and departments share invoices. For example, the electric or Internet bill may be shared by everyone in a building, and some of these items require approval from various departmental managers before being paid. Some items are automatically paid by percentages, but other items need manual attention for budget concerns. This process payment may be automated. Unlocking Hard And Soft Invoice Processing Savings Breaking Down Hard Cost Savings: Storage Space – New companies have lots of floor space dedicated to storage for tax, compliance and legal reasons, and reclaiming that space reveals a significant ROI in facility costs. Paper – Processes that are paper-based generate a lot of printed copies using paper, ink and time to file and retrieve. Postage – Every invoice and statement sent via paper requires postage. With digital documents, invoices to customers are emailed in an automated workflow. Breaking Down Soft Cost Savings: Early-Payment Discounts – A digital invoice ensures you take advantage of early payment discounts and avoid late fees. Improved Vendor Relationships – Digital workflow invoice approvals allow for prompt payment, which could lead to favorable price quotes in the future. Efficiency – Digital files help employees do as much as they can with the time that they have. Speed Up Invoice And Accounts Payable Processes With Digital Document Management A digital document management system that’s integrated with invoice and...

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5 Ways Document Management Enhances Enterprise Collaboration

Posted by on Jan 6, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

5 Ways Document Management Enhances Enterprise Collaboration By Thomas Schneck • December 24, 2015 The modern enterprise is a complex institution with hundreds – if not thousands – of employees, scores of departments and more moving parts than a luxury wristwatch. Document management happens at all levels of an enterprise: Business deliverable being created, reviewed, edited and approved by multiple individuals Departmental managers keeping track of expense documents and reporting Accounting departments tracking invoices against POs With the right tools in place, the entire enterprise can work more effectively and collaborate on a whole new level. Here are five ways modern document management tools enhance enterprise collaboration. 1) More Effective Document Distribution: Imagine you need to distribute a newly updated employee handbook to your entire organization and each individual must sign a document to acknowledge receipt. One option is to print hundreds of new handbooks, have managers collect signatures from each employee in their department, and then have HR compile managers’ lists and record the data. Or, the organization could send an electronic notification that the employee handbook has been updated, provide a link to the revised material and use an e-signature to acknowledge receipt. Which is a better use of time and resources? When important enterprise documents are centralized in a modern document management system, your organization saves time, reduces printing costs and operates more effectively. 2) Instant Notifications Ensure The Best Information:If a monthly sales forecast is updated, it’s likely certain people in your organization need to know immediately. Modern content management solutions enable employees to subscribe to a document and be notified when changes are made. Truly effective enterprise collaboration requires that kind of access to timely and accurate information. 3) Streamlined Editing And Version Tracking: The right electronic document management tools enable enterprise collaboration while also improving workflows. For example, if your marketing team drafts a press release and has technical questions that the engineering department needs to confirm, these updates to the document may be recorded and stored electronically. This ensures that everyone’s feedback is tracked and archived. It also ensures that everyone is always working with the latest version of a document eliminating costly mistakes. 4) Parallel Workflows Save Time: Have you ever had to wait for a document that required your signature? Today’s digital document solutions support parallel workflows that eliminate unnecessary waiting. Documents may be electronically distributed so that everyone can sign without waiting for others to sign. This parallel approach makes enterprise collaboration more nimble. 5) Email Tracking And Central Storage Make Enterprise Collaboration Easier: It makes sense that John in sales can’t access the email inbox of Sara in customer support. But when multiple people in your organization touch the same customer across multiple interactions, it’s helpful to have access to all previous communications with that customer. This can also help move business forward should one colleague be out of the office sick or on vacation. A document management system with email tracking and central storage enables such access. When people are empowered to work collaboratively across one easy-to-use system, it makes them more productive and deliver better customer service. The ROI Behind Electronic Content Management:It’s clear that modern document management solutions enhance enterprise collaboration, but is there additional ROI? Absolutely. Consider how much time your employees could save by eliminating duplicate data entry. Think of the...

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System Requirements for DocuWare Clients? A Browser is all you need.

Posted by on Dec 15, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

System Requirements for DocuWare Clients By Markus Koelmans • September 25, 2015 DocuWare is a powerful document management system. Yet you don’t need anything more than a current browser installed on a client to use it. No need for complex and tedious software installations at each workstation. With DocuWare Client, a browser is all you need to access the program’s full functionality. To retrieve stored documents, send them by email or edit them, your client PC will only an internet browsers. The operating system doesn’t matter (Windows, Mac OS, Linux). Not much is even required of the client’s hardware. DocuWare Client is simply accessed by opening it from the Internet via browser. That’s all you need to access all of your file cabinets and documents. More Power: DocuWare Client plus Desktop Apps If employees in the accounting department, for example, should immediately scan invoices on-site and import them into the file cabinet, you’ll need DocuWare Desktop Apps. For this, the client computer must meet the following requirements: •    Operating System: a regular Windows version, Windows 7 or higher. DocuWare also officially supports Windows 10 with the next release (version 6.8). •    CPU: min. 4 * 2.0 GHz •    RAM: min. 4 GB (8 GB recommended) •    Hard Disk: min. 2 GB hard disk capacity for programs During import and scanning, important processes can run simultaneously in the background, such as the extracting of fulltext. This makes it easier to find imported documents later. More processing power from the client computer is needed for these background...

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8 Tips To Integrate Content Management With Enterprise Processes

Posted by on Dec 1, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

8 Tips To Integrate Content Management With Enterprise Processes By Thomas Schneck • November 12, 2015  There’s some groundwork that needs to be laid before your enterprise jumps headfirst into implementing a content management system. Regardless of how you choose to implement or the software package you’ve picked, there are some key considerations you need to make before integrating content management software into your current processes. Prioritizing Pre-ECM Implementation Tasks Priority #1: Examine the current state of the organization by asking the following questions: Are processes documented in detail? Is documentation current and do they meet the objectives of the enterprise? With the added advantages behind a content management system, do opportunities exist to streamline these processes? Priority #2: Consider the regulatory and compliance requirements of the processes mentioned above, and ensure the ECM system is built around these controls first. Processes should be compliance-ready; avoid trying to retrofit compliance requirements on top of existing processes. Priority #3: Formulate an implementation plan to maximize success. Focus on matching enterprise needs to software deliverables, and ensure user adoption is a main focus of the plan. 8 Tips To Ready Your Organization’s Processes For Change Below are the steps outlined in Kotter International’s “Model Of Effective Change” to help ease the impact of organizational change: Increase Urgency: Examine your market and competitive realities to identify current crises, potential crises and major opportunities. Build Guiding Teams: Assemble a group with enough enterprise power to lead the software implementation. Get The Vision Right: Create a vision to direct the overall transition, and develop strategies to achieve that vision. Communicate For Buy-In: Use every communication channel possible to discuss the new vision and strategies. Demonstrate new behaviors and processes by example. Enable Action: Eliminate obstacles to change, and alter systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision. Encourage risk taking and nontraditional ideas, activities and actions that support the end goal. Create Short-Term Wins: Plan for visible performance improvements, create those improvements, and reward employees who lead and are involved in the improvements. Don’t Let Up: Use this increased credibility to change systems, structures and policies that align with the new vision. Hire, promote and develop the employees who are inspired by and want to implement the vision. Make It Stick: Articulate and emphasize the connections between the new behaviors and enterprise success, and create the means to ensure leadership development and succession. An ECM Post-Implementation Content Lifecycle Example In today’s enterprise organizations, delivering information to customers through content is increasingly important. While speed to publication is critical for these enterprises, getting the message right is equally important. Yet these two priorities are often in conflict. For example, marketing, sales, and research and development departments may work together on a press release for an upcoming product lunch. Through an ECM system, these departments collaborate: R&D notes that a technical detail needs updating, while sales modifies pricing based on a strategic pricing meeting, and marketing alters the product description to fit the changing competitive landscape. Instead of waiting for each department to add its input, each department can alter the document alongside other edits without stepping on toes. An ECM system supports parallel workflows to allow multiple parties to work together simultaneously and ensure publishing standards and checks-approvals processes are maintained. Content generation that formerly took weeks is trimmed to a day-and-a-half. Prioritizing Pre-Implementation Technology Considerations   Define Metadata: The metadata associated with each document helps improve...

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Is Your IT Infrastructure Ready For ECM Software?

Posted by on Nov 21, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

By Thomas Schneck – You’re ready to reassess the way your organization shares and manages content. You’re ready for enterprise content management software. The normal office environment – passing around documents using in-trays and baskets while storing documents in filing cabinets – no longer suits the strategic needs of your organization. Instead, you want information to be controlled and flow over your network while ensuring documents are stored and shared securely throughout the entire organization. Enterprises are championing ECM software for its strategic benefits along with improving productivity and cutting operational costs. But, what considerations have these successful enterprises had to make when implementing ECM software into their current network and IT infrastructure? When ECM Software Enters Your Enterprise A content management system is much more than the electronic storage of documents. As you’ve likely seen through your old method of storing documents, electronically adding documents to folders in a shared digital space does not necessarily create organization or efficient retrieval. Content management metadata – including date of storage, document owner, document type, access rights and more – is assigned to uploaded documents and content files to enhance and simplify the retrieval process.This information is recorded automatically when the files are saved and used by the system’s search database during searches. When a document is retrieved, it may be viewed as a thumbnail and launched in its intended format for further use. This document life cycle management and electronic cataloging process is what makes enterprise content management systems so powerful for companies looking for content organization and accessibility. The Drivers Behind ECM Software Pursuits Enterprises that pursue content management software usually do so for two reasons: strategic competitive advantages and tactical savings. These competitive advantages may include: Better customer service Ability to enter new markets Improved regulatory compliance Stronger inter-organization collaboration Sharing and distribution of institutional knowledge Tactical savings seen from ECM software include: Elimination of bottom-line operational costs Faster revenue collection and increased cash flow Utilization of corporate digital content templates Opposition usually takes the form of questioning whether the investment is worthwhile when it could be used for another initiative. However, documented use cases and the initial risk analysis should provide enterprise organizations with the information to suggest what might happen if the software is not purchased, such as hiring more employees to handle additional business and extended exposure to compliance risks. Where IT And ECM Infrastructure Meet Enterprises researching an ECM software initiative need to consider how they anticipate running the software: Is the software standalone or a hosted solution? Is it running across the existing network? How is remote access secured? Is data being stored on physical office services or an offsite data center? Outside of considering how to run the software, your IT team helps with the actual network, systems and data integration. It provides role-based security that passes credentials from one network and system to another. Your IT team also ensures that navigating between systems – ERP and CRM systems, accounting and HR software, etc. – is as fluid and easy as possible. When IT Sees Software Red Flags As you consider various ECM software packages, involving your IT team helps ensure there are no hang-ups at the outset. Typical scenarios that IT teams help enterprise companies avoid include: A complicated installation process Extensive customization No out-of-the-box integration capabilities Restricted API access Systems architecture that is not services-oriented The most common mistake prevalent in the ECM space today...

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6 Paper-Based Processes Killing Your Productivity

Posted by on Nov 16, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

6 Paper-Based Processes Killing Your Productivity By Thomas Schneck • November 11, 2015 Many enterprises waste time and money controlling and managing documents, but do you know where they would be if they could just see through their paper-based processes? Looking at the context of document and process inefficiencies is the key to prioritizing and improving document management workflows. Below is a list of recommendations for how to stop document mishandling and create a list of processes inside your enterprise to start digitizing immediately. Common Document Management Failures In Enterprises Finding Documents: Traditional filing systems require physical access, and time is often wasted looking for a document that was manually misfiled. Or, the document you’ve been looking for has been sitting on your desk in a stack of folders all along. How do you get to the information you need, and is it stopping you from doing bigger, better things with your time? Passing Documents Back And Forth: How much of your business processes hinge on the movement of paper? People sit at desks waiting to receive approval forms with a lot of wasted time in between. Through the use of digital documents, approvals move from one person to another in an instant so work can be accomplished faster. Losing Documents: Even the best paper-based filing systems are brought to a complete stop when a document is lost. Whether the paper became mixed into the wrong pile, or worse, ended up in the garbage, the only thing for sure is now there is an added expense to try and recreate this lost information. But with a digital document that’s fulltext searchable, you’ll know in an instant where your information is stored. 6 Paper-Based Processes Worth Digitizing Through ECM Software Purchase-To-Orders: Every enterprise has policies about who is allowed to purchase at what level and what approvals that person needs for certain purchases. All of this may be automated through paperless workflows: a PO is put through to accounting personnel and that order is assigned a number which is then put into the accounting or ERP system. Plus, in paperless, digital workflows, discrepancies between POs and invoices are caught automatically. Employee On-Boarding: From the first day at an enterprise, a new employee’s onboarding process is very paper intensive, from filling out health insurance forms to direct deposit slips and emergency contact information. Today, information collected on electronic forms may be used and replicated across all necessary documents while automating delivery to the corresponding departments, whether inside or outside the enterprise. Content Approval: Paper-based processes are usually linear. When an employee is done reviewing one document, that document goes to the next person in the chain. Remove the linear nature of that document chain, and all responsible parties receive the same document in their inbox at once for faster, more efficient approvals. Compliance/Safety/QA: Too often, these kinds of documents are passed around the office with a coversheet carrying names and corresponding signatures. But digital workflows ensure documents follow a correct process path and that the correct affirmations are made before moving on to final approval. Audit Preparation: Being audited is a time-consuming process. Auditors tell you what they want to see and how they want to see it. In a paper-based process, this can mean traveling to an offsite facility to find every record relating to a customer or business entity. With electronic document management, these documents may...

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Tips To Cut HR Data Entry And Onboard Employees More Efficiently

Posted by on Oct 30, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Tips To Cut HR Data Entry And Onboard Employees More Efficiently By Thomas Schneck Today’s human resources (HR) professionals shuffle a lot of paperwork: applications, background checks, health benefits, retirement plans and more. The value of your HR department is in hiring the best candidates possible and streamlining the onboarding process. Limitations in technology go beyond impacting who and how you recruit. Improving the way HR processes paperwork increases departmental efficiency, while spending too much time on administrative tasks and paper-based filing holds back company-wide initiatives. So, how does document management for human resources professionals help organizations become more agile, more strategic and more competitive in the marketplace? Streamline Onboarding Through Document Management When a new employee starts at your organization, they spend a lot of time completing a variety of documents, often times with a lot of their basic information being repeated on different forms. HR professionals spend even more time reviewing and processing these documents. In a document management system, however, the use of electronic forms helps to streamline completing these documents: when an employee fills out a field, all other relevant fields are also populated. Then, these forms are split into different workflows and assigned to the responsible HR professionals. This relieves the HR department from countless hours of reviewing paperwork and focuses HR on processing the documents as quickly and efficiently as possible. Electronic forms may be used across the entire human resources landscape, including documents related to employee screening and selection (resumes, applications, reference forms), onboarding (benefits, emergency notification forms), talent management (performance reviews, certifications, promotions forms), general information (salary, medical records, discipline forms) and others (unemployment, disability, safety forms). Increase Storage And Document Security In every organization, personnel files are confidential – from salary information to health information and benefits forms. When the most security you have is a filing cabinet, the larger your organization grows, the more your paper-based security becomes flawed. Managing sensitive information becomes much simpler with easily searchable and retrievable documents. Security settings may be applied to each document for a transparent and controlled audit trail. Clearly see who viewed each document and how the document was changed. Plus, key executives may view relevant information digitally without needing to create more documents. Improve Data-Driven HR Decisions When your executives have easy access to essential HR documents, they gain a comprehensive view into the life of an employee, including all performance, disciplinary and salary information. This kind of document management empowers executives to easily evaluate employees and make organizational decisions – restructuring or reallocating, for example – faster than ever before. Human Resources Document Management: Spend More Time On High-Impact Tasks Empowering and enabling employees is a competitive factor for organizations focused on future growth. Keeping and delivering documents electronically may be a selling point in some situations. Generally, with the right document management software, your HR professionals and your organization as a whole spends less time on managing documents and more time on developing...

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