The Paper Chase – It’s Not a Movie, It’s Real Life

A noteworthy movie from the 1970s, The Paper Chase tells the story of the trials and tribulations of a group of first year students at Harvard Law School.  The students work together in their attempts to become modern lawyers, and find obstacles, particularly in Contract Law where the teacher is a curmudgeonly, stern man who has taught the subject for 40 years.

The movie could be a metaphor for how companies struggle with document management.  New methods for managing corporate documents and data exist, but so many companies still struggle with archaic practices for what they have to keep and how.

At the center of this problem is paper.  Research shows that only one-third of organizations use both paper and digital content in their workflows. Today’s average office worker deals with a great amount of paper – coming in, going out, passing through your organization – every day. Effectively tracking those various documents is both costly and hard to do. What happens when the invoice you leave on a coworker’s desk gets buried under other files? Even when documents are scanned to a file share, data is difficult to find: perhaps a coworker hasn’t followed proper naming conventions or saved in the correct folder, leaving you at a disadvantage when a customer calls asking for previous order information.

AIIM, a provider of market research, expert advice, and skills development, recently identified on their website 11 data points pointing to the challenges associated with managing unstructured information.  In summary, uncontrolled information – and especially paper — still has a stranglehold on day-to-day activities.  Many tasks requiring review and approval still require physical interactions with paper-based information.  Their research additionally shows that the key benefits identified in gaining control of uncontrolled information are faster customer response (50%) and higher productivity (42%).

The need to manage data is widespread, spanning all industries and departments – but it doesn’t have to be a struggle.

So how can companies reduce or eliminate their paper chase?  The answer is simple – document management software integrated to your ERP solution provides you with greater control and visibility of the data so critical to your business.

The accounting department, for instance, will be able to minimize data entry (thus reducing the risk of human error), have greater visibility, and manage invoice approvals by leveraging existing data in our ERP system. Accounts Rece  ivable can automate quick invoice delivery in any format the recipient wants. The software can pull together related documents too, delivering customer PO and delivery receipt along with the invoice.

CFOs can utilize a document management solution to manage compliance and risk, while CIOs can rest assured that company data is secure – as specific rights can be granted to specific users (filtered through any values you choose such as company name, department, document type, etc.). A document management solution will store file histories as well, enabling organizations to see who has accessed files and how.

AIIM’s research shows that 45% of organizations report payback of their information capture investments in less than 6 months. So if you’re buried in paper and need a solution to help you claw your way out from under it all, contact Altec here to learn more about how we can help you go paperless.