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10 Advantages of Electronic Document Workflow Automation

Mario ZulesWritten by Mario Zules on 31 May 2019

Documents are an essential component of any business. They not only promote accountability but also help facilitate the continuity of a business. While manual document management systems have proved their worth for some time and may be an option at the start of a business, manual processes can be a very cumbersome practice as the business grows. And this can take a heavy toll on your organization’s workflow and cash management activities.

That said, automation of workflow processes is no longer a “nice to have” but is a vital tool for survival in the ever competitive markets in your niche. What’s more, engaging an expert that is seasoned in workflow automation can go along in enabling you to improve productivity, and ultimately your company’s bottom line.

In this post, we will explore the advantages of electronic document workflow automation. If your enterprise is business by paper, this is a great read you might not want to miss. Let’s dig in.

1. Organization

Organization might just be what stands between your business and profitability. Routine business processes such as reviewing, approving, contracting and onboarding can be a headache in a traditional system. In fact, research indicates 53% of employees are looking for simple but robust ways to sign and route company documents.

Document management software is the real deal here, and when used well it drastically improves your workflow processes. The good thing about this software solution is that it ensures your team can access and deliver electronic documents in real time. You can also use this data to generate real-time reports and insights to help improve your business decision-making process.

Using an electronic document management system allows easy access to documents from any point of the globe, enabling a mobile workforce. Notifications get routed to the relevant employees to keep them on track with proper business operations. Communication is smooth, and employees are always in the know. They are updated in real-time on what is happening or going to happen.

2. Reduced human errors

Manual data entry is usually plagued with human errors that cost time and money. Workflow automation solutions help you eliminate human errors, thus boosting your business process.

With the right document management system such as OpenKM, most data will only have to be entered once, and in case of any errors, a simple adjustment eliminates the errors. Chances of work being routed to the wrong person or tasks being missed out are also reduced. You get timely notifications of any late actions, non-approvals, and overlooked tasks among others.

3. Easier access to data

We all know retrieving documents manually can be a time-consuming process. Time is money! Just imagine how much time you could save- and use it elsewhere productively- if documents were located quickly.

content management system comes with a search engine that helps you retrieve documents by simply keying in certain keywords or phrases linked to the documents. This also makes it easier to recover misfiled documents. You don't have to worry about losing documents anymore.

4. Reduce cost

Paper documentation is an expensive overhead. Hiring filing employees, renting storage space and frequent replacement of printer toners doesn’t come cheap. Paper documents are also associated with the human error risk factor, which can also be costly. Some mistakes have brought down businesses.

Workflow automation not only streamlines your business processes but also helps you cut costs. A business without printers, ink cartridges, and printer maintenance expenses is the world your company should join. Plus by going paperless you will be doing the planet huge favour; reducing the cutting of trees for paper.

5. Improved accountability and transparency

Manual business operations can be tricky to track. Keeping track of all your business operations and how employees handle every task can be mind-boggling. Even with the necessary help, still vital information can be missed out, which can be costly to your business.

Process automation integrated into a solid project management system enables you to assign work and easily monitor the progress of each project at the click of a button. Blockages and challenges in projects get quickly analyzed and workarounds put into place. Workflows can also be revised to improve efficiency.

With such enhanced capabilities in your workflow, accountability improves. You can monitor your employees’ progress and expose bottlenecks in your business.

6. Fewer redundancies

Workflow automation enables your business to spot redundant activities that cost your business time and productivity. For example, with all your data entry automated, you not only cut labour costs but also reduce the higher chances of human error in data entry.
In other words, automated systems give you a clear view of areas in your business that needs improvement, where to cut costs, and where to pump in more capital.

7. Easier collaboration

Business process automation also improves team collaboration. The communication tools built-in document management software enables ease of communication among employees.

Documents can easily be shared among colleagues and accessed from multiple locations. Work doesn’t have to be limited to office environments. You can monitor and track project progress in real-time. If you like you can also restrict project access to only those working on similar projects and in case of any changes, all team players get notified.

You also have the opportunity to access documents remotely. With an internet connection, you can access your documents at any time and any place. Your business is no longer limited to the office or office hours.

8. Enhanced security

The safest paper documents have been; is being locked in safes and filing cabinets. For a determined burglar getting through locks is a walk in the park. Documents also get misplaced intentionally and unintentionally when on route to a certain destination.
Electronic documentation has minimal human intervention. Therefore a document getting lost or misplaced while on transit is next to impossible.

You have access to the documents controlled at the folder level (for different groups or individuals). Access to such documents is restricted only to authorized users. Furthermore, you have an audit trail that tells you who accessed a document and at what time. You also see any modifications made to the documents, in case any were done.

9. Audit Trail

With an electronic document management system in use, you can track what tasks have been completed, by who and when. Records are kept throughout the process. Historical records play a huge role in the upkeep of your business.

You have access to all relevant documents, which makes it easy to comply with all government regulations. Mind you, non-compliance usually doesn’t end well for most businesses.

10. Better backup systems

7.5 % of paper-based documents disappear into thin air- never to be recovered. Without backup systems, documents stolen or destroyed in natural disasters like fire and hurricanes can cripple a business.

Electronic documents can safely be stored in hard drives and smartphones that are easily portable, and people can walk around with.

In case anything happens at the office, fire or burglary, your documents are safe with you. With document management system such as OpenKM you have cloud-based platforms with tight security backing up your documents and enabling you to access them from wherever you are.

Final word

Automation is no longer the future of business, but the way to go for today’s business. However, we do not necessarily mean that manual document management systems are “bad”, and businesses should immediately adopt workflow automation solutions. But one thing is clear; using a manual system in a digital word is a race to the bottom.

With an electronic document management system: your business process will be streamlined, revenue will increase, your employees will surely appreciate their work getting easier and efficient, and your business will grow.
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