Comparing traditional paper stashing methods to an electronic filing system is like carrying around a one-thousand-card Rolodex instead of an address book on your iPad.
Hanging everything on a Rolodex is one way to file your customer index cards, but lose a card or forget to put one back, and you have a microcosmic example of how electronic files run rings around paper. Read on...
The horror history of paper files
So what’s your favorite filing method? Case files? By project? By customer? An extra copy for your chronological file just in case? Maybe you know someone who actually used a coding system that required a cross-reference sheet and a degree in cryptology to find anything. Librarians still use the Dewey Decimal System, while the books they catalog have ISBN codes that Mr. Dewey would have called “too arcane.”
Complicated or simple, paper files have one huge disadvantage: They can only be in one place at a time (more, if you crank up your copy machine and double your filing challenge). Their very physicality means that they can be put in the wrong place, be wiped out by accident or destroyed by fire, flooding or human malfeasance.
Besides all their inherent disadvantages, paper file storage is expensive and its return on your investment in producing, distributing, filing and archiving is low. When was the last time you needed to refer to a customer or event archived in a file dated, say, 2005? Or did all that happen in 2006? Is that file in the Harkings or Hawkings group?
You get the picture, but you still waste two hours and ruin a nice work shirt rummaging through those rickety file cabinets with file folders that are deteriorating and splitting. The first thing you notice is that someone left a bunch of files on the top of the cabinets. Your afternoon is going from bad to worse than bad…
The difference an electronic filing system makes
Fast forward to the completion of your paperless office-scanning project. When your company documents were scanned, a knowledgeable person familiar with your company’s operation made some key decisions on document indexing. Just as a database uses indexes for lightning-fast retrieval of one record from among thousands, scanning a document and giving it one (and, ideally, more) index words accomplishes what databases do best.
Those index words flag each document (and group of documents, which can be “batch labeled"). You find your files using the document equivalent of a Google search. You haven’t left your desk, and your good work shirt is clean as a whistle.
Some other advantages of electronic files
If you pay the bills for your business, you’ll love going paperless. You’ll feel pretty good about the drastic cut in paper production and printing costs and waste. You might even celebrate by placing a potted plant where those unsightly file cabinets used to defy your efforts to locate that one document among thousands that you need ever so much.
Want to learn more about going paperless? Contact us and learn about our electronic filing system that you access and manage online.