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March 16, 2010

The Three Stages, Other Document Management Issues Explained: Podcast

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Sabrina Stratford, a sales manager at Sagem-Interstar (News - Alert), recently had a chance to speak with TMC’s Michael Dinan.
During a podcast interview that’s available here, Stratford addressed the issue of how a company knows it’s ready to move to document management. No matter what the vertical, Stratford said, they typically see their customers “advance through the same three stages.”
She noted that while everyone talks about the “paperless office,” in all likelihood nobody’s really going to get there: “But certainly everybody’s using less paper.”
According to Stratford, that’s as much of a money saver and productivity increaser as for any other reason.
“So the first phase,” she said, the first step in reducing paper, is digitizing it. Usually that means moving to a fax server, “so you can send faxes from the desktop.” After that come scanners, “or many times people move their electronic files, they import them directly into a document management system.”
But the bottom line, she noted, is that “they’re digitizing their paper,” so everything stays “within the security of your computer system.”
Once they’re digitized, Stratford said, “We see them move into phase two,” which is the need to get organized. Sometimes an office will go digital but there’s no repository, no process for the scanned documents: “They’re just scanning away and suddenly everybody realizes that you can’t find anything you scanned,” or you’ve got everything saved into a C drive: “It becomes very hard to manage that information.”
Phase two then: Controlling access to your digital files, with the ability to archive and search.
For phase three, Stratford said, a company goes from digitized documents, to searchable documents, to automated processes, what you probably refer to as “unified communications.” If your documents are indexed they become actionable, she said, and you can integrate them with your e-mail systems, legacy systems and business apps and find other ways to improve productivity.
“That’s about as close to paperless as we can probably hope to get,” she added with a chuckle.
Listen to the full interview here.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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