Monday, May 30, 2011

Too Small to Succeed at Electronic Document Management

One Size Fits All?
Randy Davis, Vice President Sales and Marketing Operations

We've heard it ourselves in talking to prospects: "We're too small to benefit from an electronic document management (EDM) solution." Sometimes the prospect means "we don't process enough paper in a month," or "we don't have the technical staff to implement and support an EDM solution."

Whatever the reason, experience shows that "too small" may not be a good excuse to keep from making the move. The document management "suit" is not "one size fits all."

Consider this:

According to Ken Neal, a Certified Enterprise Content Management Practitioner and Director of Corporate Communications, for Océ Business Services, "In a recent industry survey, senior executives involved in document management indicated that document scanning has a high impact across the greatest range of business goals that include reducing costs, increasing competitive advantage, enhancing regulatory compliance, and improving customer service."

In fact, scanning paper into a document management solution can provide even small companies with hard benefits (reduced paper storage and management costs, improved service, compliance and audit support, disaster recovery) and soft benefits (competitive advantage).

A compilation of studies* (including Gartner) put together by lists the following as making Cloud services, including document management, appealing to small business. Cloud services are mainly:
  1. Affordable
  2. Accessible
  3. Usable
* (Thanks to Rachel Delacour of Bime Analytics for pointing out this "Infographic")

Here are some things to consider if you think your office is too small:
  1. Are you storing paper records on premise? If so, can you find needed records in seconds? Are documents safe from prying eyes or unauthorized removal? How will those records be quickly replaced if they are lost or destroyed?
  2. Are you paying to store documents? This includes preparation, the cost of storage, file folders/boxes, transportation, retrieval and duplication.
  3. Does your office look like it could qualify for "America's most cluttered office"? Running a business is hard enough. It's just easier to run a profitable business and service your customers if you can find important documents quickly. Besides that, staff and customers alike associate a messy office with sloth and inefficiency. There's just something about decent organization that makes people feel better about where they work or do business.
  4. Are you under legal or moral obligation to protect or retain records for years and prove that you are doing so?
Counting the Cost
I will be frank here. Scanning documents and storing them in an electronic document management solution is not without up-front and on-going effort and cost. It's not a magic bullet. You may have to buy one or more scanners. You may need to create a barcode-based document identification system to help automate filing (this is easier than you may think). You may need to create a different (and better) process to capture, route, authorize and store documents. You may need to train someone how to use a PC.

The question that only you can answer is, "Will my business and staff benefit from changing the way we do things now?"

Eyes Wide Open
If you think that is possible, taking advantage of an electronic document management solution can go easier if you go in with your eyes wide open and after doing some homework.

Dan Antion, vice president of information services for American Nuclear Insurers, shares "8 Secrets of an Effective Content or Records Management Implementation":
  1. You are not too small for Document Management.
  2. Document Management offers value beyond the obvious.
  3. Document Management is not a technology project.
  4. Management support is required.
  5. Document Management includes costs that are not obvious. [Scanners? Training?]
  6. Document Management technology doesn’t have to be expensive.
  7. Education is important and available.
  8. All vendors are not created equal.
(Dan's full discussion can be found at's Digital Landfill, dated June 23, 2009.)

Call to Action
If you are a small business, hopefully this has given you a few things to consider on your way to a more efficient office. Start today the first step of evaluating your document management processes. At worst, you may discover some ways to make your existing processes better. At best, you may find that electronic document management can help you run a better business and prepare for the growing demands of instantly accessible digital information.

Do you think a company can be too small to use EDM? Share your comments.

(If you find these discussions interesting, please take time to Follow this blog. Also, consider following us on Twitter: or tweet us @egistics. Thanks!)


  1. Very interesting article, I will link to this post!
    Document scanning & management is very important, not only for large businesses & organizations but also for firms which highly depend their operation and functions on documents.

  2. Yes, you are right, cloud services are mainly affordable, accessible, usable and secure. But my experience says that it can be expensive for a small organization and anyone that can’t use this technology.
    electronic document management


We welcome your comments and expect that our conversation will follow the general rules of respectful civil discourse. This is a moderated blog, and we will only post comments from bloggers 13 years or older that relate to topics on the CloudDocs Blog. We strive to review comments for posting within one business day. You are fully responsible for everything that you submit in your comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain. We do not discriminate against any views, but we reserve the right not to post comments. We do not post comments that are off-topic, spam, or overtly self-promoting.