There can be no doubt that digitalization is advancing. Most companies have the desire to go digital, but are still struggling with the implementation process. According to a Bitkom study, only 19% of small and medium-sized businesses have the right software in place to digitalize their office work. For large companies, this figure is already at 86%.
Having the right software lays the foundation for digital business processes. After all, formerly analog information must now be available electronically and work steps must be carried out digitally. A document management management system, or DMS for short, is paramount to achieve this.
In this blog post, you will learn what a DMS is and what benefits you can reap by using one. We also give you valuable tips on how to digitalize your business processes. First of all, however, we want to clarify why it’s important to switch to digital processes now.
Why Are Digital Processes Important?
In short, because they ensure the future viability of your company. 80% of the companies surveyed in our latest digitalization study believe their business is at risk if it doesn’t jump on board the digitalization train. In concrete terms, digital processes can help you achieve the following:
Meet customer expectations
Whether B2B or B2C, digitalization is currently working its transformational magic in every industry. You may have already noticed that the requirements of your customers have increased. Sooner or later, they will expect to receive invoices electronically and that your processes work together seamlessly and digitally. This is the only way to ensure that your clients are satisfied in the long run and continue buying from you.
Stand up to the competition
Markets are developing at a rapid pace. Old business models that have functioned for decades are now becoming obsolete and being replaced by new ones. For companies, this means that they now have to adapt continuously. Unfortunately, analog processes do not provide the necessary flexibility and agility. Those who want to hold their own against the competition must switch to adaptable, agile and digital processes.
Be attractive for qualified specialists
Talented individuals today expect modern, digital business processes. Analog workflows tend to be a deterrent, especially for the younger generations. In the war for talent, companies that still work manually will find it increasingly difficult to attract suitable employees. As a result, digitalization can make your company a more attractive employer.
Increase employee satisfaction
With Google, Alexa and Siri, even the home has now become digital. In comparison, entrenched, analog processes at work tend to be frustrating. On the other hand, digital processes ensure greater performance and, above all, flexibility. Your employees can easily work from home or on the road, which means that they can enjoy a better work-life balance and be more satisfied overall.
What Is a Document Management System?
The volume of data and information that has to be processed on a daily basis in companies has increased dramatically. Documents constantly arrive in electronic form via email or in paper form and must be processed and passed on. Without a systematic approach, these documents disappear into drives, email inboxes or files. The information they contain is then often no longer retrievable and is not used effectively.
A DMS helps you to manage electronic documents of all kinds. It is a database in which documents are stored in a structured format according to standardized criteria. They can then be retrieved quickly and from anywhere via an easy-to-use software application or a web interface. Instead of disappearing into an archive unused, information becomes an important business resource that enables you to make data-driven decisions.
What Are the Advantages of a Document Management System for Digitalization?
A DMS is not only a practical software application; it also enables the digitalization of your business processes in the first place. This means you enjoy the following benefits:
Implements digital processes
Almost all business processes either start with a document or create documents at a certain point. A DMS completely replaces the typical exchange of documents in paper form by transporting and processing them completely electronically. For example, you no longer have to send a document itself, but only the link to it in the DMS. All employees then access the same document and every change can be tracked. You can bid farewell to annoying copies.
Digitalization creates the possibility of completely automating certain processes and thus working much more efficiently. However, it is not possible to implement consistent electronic processes if media disruptions occur due to the use of paper. A DMS eliminates these and passes on documents in a precise manner to other existing applications such as your ERP system and the archive. This way, fully automated workflows can be created, e.g. for invoices, complaints and procurement.
Enables data-driven decisions
If documents and the data they contain are available in digital formats, analytics tools can evaluate them. This results in valuable insights that enable informed, data-driven decisions. Furthermore, you can even completely automate decisions within processes by using artificial intelligence.
Searching for a document in an archive often resembles searching for a needle in a haystack. However, no one has time for this when customers or colleagues urgently require an answer. Thanks to a DMS, tediously searching for paper documents can become a thing of the past. Simply enter a few keywords in a search mask and the desired document will appear on the screen. Rapid access to information makes it possible to work more efficiently.
In a DMS, information is available around the clock. Since the documents are stored on a server, they can be accessed from anywhere – even via mobile apps and in offline mode without an internet connection. With the help of this cloud connection, employees from different departments can work together more flexibly and easily. The transfer of knowledge works in a seamless manner.
Ensures data and legal security
Paper can fade and disappear, but digital documents stored within a DMS are protected against data loss. In addition, every change is documented and versioned so that transparency and traceability are always guaranteed. Most document management systems are also connected to an archive system that automatically complies with retention periods.
How to Digitalize Your Business Processes Using a DMS
It can seem overwhelming at first to think about all the processes in your company that have to become electronic. That’s why we’ve compiled four valuable tips to help you make digitalization work better from the outset.
Start off small
We recommend introducing a DMS step by step. Use it first for smaller routine processes until you gain some experience, e.g. receiving invoices. This will allow your employees to get accustomed to this new way of working. As soon as they become familiar with the software, you can extend it to other processes.
Become familiar with processes and optimize them
In general, you will only be able to effectively digitalize processes if you know all the work steps, interfaces and stakeholders. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that processes that do not run optimally in an analog format will also cause problems in a digital format. For this reason, it is crucial that you first take a critical look at all previous processes and determine the current status. Only then can you begin to optimize them and map them electronically.
Involve employees at an early stage
Your employees often know best what works in the daily workflows and where the problems lie. You should therefore involve them in redesigning your digital processes as early as possible. If your employees are allowed to participate to a certain extent, they will be more likely to acceptthe new tools and working methods.
A solution for the entire company
Digitalization is not often controlled from the boardroom. Individual departments implement isolated solutions that help the respective area, but do not benefit the entire organization. This undermines the benefits of a DMS, because many processes are cross-departmental. For example, invoices pass through the procurement, controlling and accounting departments. For this reason, look for a solution that works for everyone and provides interfaces to all leading ERP systems.
What the Life Cycle of a Document looks like in a Document Management System
A Document management system (DMS) is the prerequisite for introducing digital documents and processes in a company. Many companies would like to finally bid farewell to paper and introduce digital, automated processes. They have realized that traditional working methods such as storing documents on a hard disk no longer meet the increased requirements for the availability of information.