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More than just digital storage – from archive to knowledge hub

Filing and archiving – this is what digital archives have been about for a long time. However, current concepts in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) show completely different ways of using digital filing.

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To be honest, and because it’s so obvious: If leading invoice processing, contract management or document management applications permanently populate this archive, it should be the perfect basis for a company’s knowledge hub, right? It immediately becomes clear why this approach is worthwhile. In a nutshell: It’s all about employee satisfaction and time savings, a plus in entrepreneurial flexibility and ultimately hard cash.

Capture the results of document-intensive processes in the digital archive

Whether ECM, intelligent information management (IIM) or document management systems: These systems are dedicated to the primary challenge of processing and storing the daily flood of documents in companies in a compliant manner. Usually audit-proof, GDPR-compliant and other similar requirements. A sophisticated archive such as easy archive has of course been able to do this for years. So this challenge is already done.

Documents well organized in the digital filing system

In addition, the problem of user-friendly, accessible storage has also been solved. Authorized users need answers to urgent questions? Sure, and at any time and regardless of location. A modern, digital filing system also solves this problem. With easy archive, this is solved via descriptive properties for the document and customizable schemas. Users can file documents according to content and logical criteria. The result: for authorized employees, searching is a thing of the past – finding is the present. A modern archive therefore ensures that all receipts, data and documents can be found quickly.

Search times of 3 hours per day – why you don’t want that

As Jürgen Kurz from Büro-Kaizen GmbH found out together with the AKAD University of Applied Sciences Stuttgart, the “digital search” is one of the brakes on efficiency. As before, and increasingly so, it must be said. The study has been conducted regularly for more than 10 years.

This means that employees spend almost an entire working day per week on research alone. Frankly: Nobody really wants to put their employees through that. Perhaps a small practical example here of how it works better.

Structured, digital filing – how it works better

At any rate, this is shown by real-life examples from our satisfied customers, such as rail vehicle manufacturer Talgo. As Stephan Korte, Head of Production and Operations, Talgo (Deutschland) GmbH, explains about digital filing: „The mechanics and electricians fill out the documents in the workshop, sign them and then return them to the disposition department“. „All that remains is to scan the order slips and store them in our easy archive, which is connected to IBM Maximo and our ERP system (…). We can now view the documents directly from these systems, and make searches using metadata such as the rail car number or order number or using keywords.“

When we talk about scan-in here, the first association is naturally “flatbed scanner”. But far from it. The camera of a standard smartphone is enough to capture a document quickly. Automatic workflows for classifying and appropriately filing documents in the digital filing system do the rest. So documents always end up in the right hands. Perfect for the knowledge hub. Stephan Korte states: „Thanks to easy archive, we aren’t only able to respond to inquiries more quickly: since we only need a fraction of the time that we used to spend on additional searches in the archive, some maintenance and repair work is faster and more efficient – which is extremely important for the profitability of our workshop operations.“

Digital filing as a knowledge hub

There is no need to speculate further about the importance of user-friendly storage as a knowledge hub in companies. Current studies also show that the data storage of typical ERP/ECM systems often results in data silos. On the one hand, this stands in the way of a company’s flexible development. On the other hand, it inevitably leads to uncertainty, loss of time and demotivation among employees. And this obviously applies across age groups and continents.

poor search results

According to the “Workplace Relevance Report 2023” (companies from the UK/US and over 250 employees): “When a customer — or a boss — calls for information, the pressure is on. But when the right information can’t be found, it creates anxiety. Just over six-in-ten feel less confident about either the quality of their work or about sharing the information externally (61%), with a significant increase in those feeling less confident about the quality of their work since last year.”

Well, this is “just” a feeling. Nevertheless, its practical consequences should not be underestimated. Search times of three hours per week alone, including irrelevant search results, speak for themselves:

Finding relevant information - only where and how?
Finding relevant information – but where and how?

The knowledge hub in a practical example

Mature, good search functions and location-independent access to the digital repository are certainly two essential elements for a functioning knowledge hub. The following customer example in particular shows that this can be realized. Especially in combination with leading applications for invoice processing or HR management etc., it is almost child’s play with careful planning.

Off to the cloud and towards the knowledge hub

Amey plc is one of the largest infrastructure management companies (building construction, civil engineering, facility management) in the UK. 16,000 employees and a correspondingly large number of business documents need to be managed. For example, a good 12,000 invoices per month and countless HR documents for digital filing. Both have a high administrative cost. No wonder that Amey plc gave content and process digitization a high priority early on. The collaboration with easy started back in 2002, and from then on everything was pretty easy.

Efficiency gains even in volatile times

In 2019, Amey prioritized the goal of moving to the cloud for more flexibility. The switch was made at exactly the right time. Good timing. When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020, Amey had digitized most of its accounts payable documents and all HR information. Authorized personnel quickly had easy access via the cloud. EU GDPR-compliant, of course. Employees from the relevant departments switched to working from home without any problems or interruptions.

As Stephen Butler, Senior Application Support Manager at Amey plc, states:  “The fact that we can track down any document at any time and from anywhere is transformational, and made the difference between critical business functions being able to maintain continuity during lockdown or not (…).“ The transformation to the cloud has paid off for the company, so much so that Amey does not quantify it. However, employees also have a consistently positive experience of the degrees of freedom gained through the knowledge hub. “Users can now simply ‘Save to easy’ using their laptops or other devices from home, which meant the sudden call to work from home didn’t affect their workloads,” Stephen notes.

The archive as a knowledge center – leveraging potential

Overall, it is clear that the archive plays a central role as a knowledge hub in the modern corporate landscape. The potential in the context of leading applications such as incoming invoice processing, contract management or HR management is considerable. However, the intelligent integration and use of archive solutions not only enables efficiency gains. In fact, digital filing in the cloud leads the way to greater entrepreneurial flexibility. Keyword “location independence”. This also has a positive impact on employee satisfaction. Even opportunities for better compliance, traceability and strategic decision-making become possible. In short, companies that make optimum use of their archive’s knowledge resources position themselves as flexible, data-driven organizations that are up to the challenges of the digital era.

Audit-proof archiving made easy

asy archive is the powerful archive – whether on-premises or as an SaaS solution – for documents and records from document-intensive business processes. As a solid basis, you can use the archive via the digital interface for seamless integration into business processes such as incoming invoice management, HR processes or contract management.

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