5 Myths About Document Management – And Why Believing Them Is Bad For Business


 Myths make for fun movies, but these myths about document management don't make for fun (or efficient) businesses.

While we've built our 60-year reputation on the strength of our ability to supply and be a great service partner for office equipment needs, we also have a robust and growing business providing document management software and helping to automate business processes.

Both Lane Lebahn and I have written frequently about document management benefits and process.

In brief, document management software allows:

  • Business processes to be improved
  • Information and documents can be retrieved faster
  • Workflows can be automated
  • Helps with records management
  • Saves money on storage costs

For more on how document management can help your office, I encourage you to click here to check out our blogs focused on document management.

On to the myths.

Myth 1 – It's Too Expensive For a Company “Our Size”

While true that some smaller businesses can effectively manage their documents with a simple file sharing system, as document volumes grow document management is the better answer. Plus, document management software offers more security features, automation capabilities, and often simple collaboration.

It's also not (always) expensive. There are cloud providers who can provide basic document management for $15 per user/month. A basic, departmental solution implemented in your office is often far less than five figures.

An effective document management system is within the financial reach of businesses of all sizes. 

Myth 2 – It Takes Forever to Implement

This myth exists in tandem with myth 1 and is equally false. While it's true that it can take months for larger implementations (planning, mapping business needs, training, actual implementation, etc.), for organizations that simply need to organize, store, and retrieve their documents implementation can be finished in half a day.

The more complex your business is, the longer you'll need to spend planning, but it doesn't take as long as you think.

Myth 3 – Process Automation Is Really Hard

Most document management software products also include or have options for automating manual business processes. The trick is to automate only good business processes (i.e., processes that are effective). First, never automate an existing business process just “because that's the way we've always done it.” Think through the process and create one that's effective THEN use workflow software to automate it.

While many business processes are simple and can be easily created with software, this is only as simple and easy as the process itself. Some processes are complex and require extensive planning, including customizing the workflow software to work correctly – not impossible, but certainly very, very difficult. That said, for the overwhelming majority of our customers – your processes aren't that complicated.

So let's say this is a half-true myth.

Myth 4 – ROI Is Hard to Define

I've written about this before, click here to read about hard and soft document management ROI. In brief though, think about how much time you spend looking for paper documents. Document management allows retrieval in seconds – think of what that can mean to your customers (much less the time you save NOT looking for documents). Office space is expensive. Eliminating file cabinets and maybe even offsite storage because your documents are now all digital saves you money.

Myth 5– Document Management Is a Magical Cure For Business Challenges

No software will magically fix your poor business practices. If you view any software as “the cure” for your business challenge, you're implementation will fail. Think through your business needs. Identify your goals. Then, and only then, start looking for the software that matches your needs and will help you meet your goals.

Can document management help your business? Absolutely. Can it automagically create the right business processes or file plan for you? Nope, that's on you or your solutions partner.

How does believing in one or more of these myths hurt you? By keeping you from pursuing a document management system – or at LEAST doing some research to see if it could be helpful to your office – you continue to waste time looking for documents, risk losing documents you need, spending too much on paper file storage, and being stuck in manual, paper-based processes.
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About The Author

Dave Quint, president and CEO of Advanced Systems Inc. and immediate past president of BTA Mid-America. Dave has worked with copiers, MFPs, scanners, and document workflow software since joining Advanced Systems as a sales associate in 1989. His favorite part of the job -- “there is no greater joy than to see the positive impact these solutions have in our client’s businesses.’