The most common business functions where going paperless has improved productivity includes legal, accounts payable, logistics, human resources onboarding, customer loyalty programs, mortgage origination and records management — anywhere mundane and information intensive processes exist.  Organizations have also gone paperless to compare documents on the PC instead of printing and manually comparing documents line by line. According to a recent AIIM survey, these areas have decreased paper volume by as much as 63 percent, yet whether documents were scanned to digital or born digital, digital documents still present challenges in managing content and transforming data into business value. Following are ways organizations can maximize efficiency with their digital documents.

Make Every Document Searchable to Action All Your Information

The biggest driver for digitizing documents is the need to improve searchability and shareability of business documents.  AIIM’s survey found that 51 percent of organizations want better search and share capabilities from documents, and 46 percent want improved processes productivity. Enterprise capture technology with combined OCR and PDF capabilities addresses the challenges employees face when pulling content from business documents so they can share it with others or repurpose it in other places, like in presentation slides and reports. Using OCR/PDF technology enables them to easily copy select elements such as tables, charts, pictures or text from documents. It eliminates the need to manually copy content or process the whole document – just select the content wanted to copy and software will extract and recognize it for immediate use.

Batch-Recognize Incoming Documents So They Are Ready When You Are

Another way to maximize efficiency with digital documents is to batch-recognize incoming documents. Within your OCR/PDF enterprise software, set up “watched” folders to automatically batch-process incoming business documents. Local as well as network, FTP and email inbox folders should be able to be configured as hot folders, or you can also create custom, one-click tasks according to your own document-processing needs, and then share those tasks with your workgroup. There are several applications where this can enable knowledge workers to gain anytime, anywhere content and improve collaboration.

Convert All Documents into Workable Formats

A common challenge is that once documents are scanned, they are forever bound in their format. Think tables, charts, forms and images of text. When documents are digital and in workable formats, they have the ability to be edited and updated from within any complex document layout, including text, tables, charts and pictures. This enables more flexibility to turn the content into Microsoft Word templates and use Word’s ability to track document changes.

Share More Securely

“Sharing securely” is often viewed as an oxymoron since many organizations implement stringent policies to ensure digital documents are secure and meet compliance at the impediment of efficiency. In fact, the AIIM survey found that records security and compliance is one of the drivers organizations want from new capture technology. To maximize efficiency while keeping information secure, redacting sensitive content has become commonplace.

Another way to protect documents is to add passwords and encryption to documents to safeguard contents. Within business development roles, personnel can safely exchange documents and information with potential partners and acquisition targets. And, engineers can add an extra layer of security to documents that contain product specifications, product roadmaps and intellectual property of all types.

Archive with Confidence

Over 40 percent of respondents to the AIIM survey published in the e-book, “Paper at the Gates: Driving Digital Revolution with Modern Capture,” stated that reduced physical storage space was a business driver for scanning and data capture. To archive with confidence, save documents in PDF/A format so they are compliant for long-term archiving. The PDF/A format ensures that documents are completely self-contained with information necessary for proper display of the document – including links, fonts and color information – embedded in the file. By doing this, every department can securely archive its documents, from legal case files to marketing plans to financial reports, for future  reference, auditing and inspiration. Well-archived documentation, articles and specific information is much easier to find and track. Additionally, date tagging documents allows systematic periodic checking of documents to ensure data reliability.

Although digital documents are increasing within organizations, enterprise-level OCR/PDF software enables organizations to better organize, search, excerpt, share, edit and archive documents quickly and easily. Whether its customer, industry or internal company information, opportunities to gain value from data will never be missed.

Slavena Hristova
Slavena Hristova

is head of Product Marketing, FineReader, ABBYY. Hristova leads product management and marketing of the ABBYY FineReader product line in Western Europe and North America. She manages the product lifecycle from market requirement and go-to-market strategy development, to creation of sales enablement and training offerings for channel partners. She has several years of experience in product management and marketing in the areas of text recognition, information and document management.