Many lessons have been learned by organisations as a consequence of the disruptions brought by the last few years – encompassing not just the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the ongoing challenges in relation to the cost of doing business. One of those lessons – and an important one – is that the steady march towards a more digitised world is only likely to continue, instead of relenting.

So, it should be clear to your own company that it is no longer a choice whether or not you seek to become a digital business. You will simply have to do so, in order to keep your business operating and thriving amid current and future pressures, and this is a principle that will very much extend to your organisation’s documents.

what is document digitisation?

What is document digitisation?

The term ‘document digitisation’ refers to the process by which an organisation’s physical, paper documents are converted into digital formats that computers are able to read.

Document digitisation is not, however, solely about turning physical documents into digital ones. Nor is it about simply maintaining a digital backup of a paper document, especially if it is the paper version of the document that remains the business’s day-to-day point of reference.

What document digitisation is about, is embracing digitisation in its own right for the benefits it can bring to your organisation’s operations. Your business might be moved to digitise its documents so that the critical information contained within them is easier to store and retrieve on an everyday basis, whenever your company needs it. Document digitisation may also be part of your organisation’s efforts to automate many of its processes or workflows.

What is the document digitisation process?

So, now that you understand document digitisation isn’t something that might be undertaken within an organisation merely because ‘everything is digital these days’ or ‘it seems wise to have a digital backup’, what do you need to know about the actual digitisation process?

One of the first things that your employees might do in order to digitise your business’s physical documents, is scan them. The initial image of this that might come to your mind is putting the documents through a scanner manually; however, the most enterprising organisations today are increasingly investing in automating this process, and then refining that automated process over time.

So, organisations won’t necessarily all digitise their documents in the same way. A relatively small and young company might start by simply scanning documents manually, and using optical character recognition (OCR) techniques to render these digital documents searchable. But a bigger and longer-established company might have a greater number of critical documents to process, which might lead it to use the latest automation processes to digitise many more documents at a time.

Why do we need to digitise documents?

The simple reason why it is necessary to digitise documents, is because the process allows organisations to unlock benefits that will help them survive, grow, and be more successful.

If your organisation isn’t digitising its documents, other businesses in your sector absolutely will be. And when you do digitise your organisation’s documents, those documents will be safer, securer, and easier to store and retrieve. Digital transformation is an increasingly pressing priority for great numbers of businesses today, and document digitisation is a key part of it.

The benefits of centrally stored digitised documents

Your organisation shouldn’t just digitise its documents and files – it should also have a means of centrally storing them. Doing so could help it realise the following benefits:

Saved storage space

It might seem an overly obvious point to make that digitised documents don’t take up the physical space that paper documents do.

However, this is an especially crucial point given the very real costs that the storage of physical documents can incur. Document digitisation can free up the need for physical filing cabinets and storage rooms, and the associated spending on maintenance and insurance.

Increased productivity

The more time that it takes one of your employees to summon the information that they require in order to accomplish a crucial task, the more your organisation’s broader productivity will be harmed.

Having your company’s digital documents stored in a single, central place will make the process of accessing and retrieving information so much quicker and easier, thereby enabling staff to get more work done.

Improved accessibility

Another major benefit of document digitisation is the scope it offers for workers to access vital documents as and when they need them, almost wherever they are in the world.

Even if key team members of yours are away from your main premises on a business trip, undertaking ‘ad hoc’ work in a coffee shop, or on holiday, when critical documents are digitised and centrally stored, they can be instantly available to the employee online if necessary.

Enhanced security

If your organisation has thus far hesitated to fully embrace document digitisation due to fears about the potential security lapses, it is important to appreciate that this doesn’t need to be the case.

After all, paper documents can also easily end up in the wrong hands. By contrast, if you digitise your company’s documents and have them centrally stored in the right environment, you have the opportunity to put in place security permissions that prevent the files from being easily accessed by those who have not been authorised to access them.

Better compliance

The ongoing optimisation of your business’s compliance with crucial rules and regulations will hardly be the ‘sexiest’ aspect of its operations, but it is definitely one of the most important.

It is almost certain that your organisation will be subject to certain rules and regulations in relation to such matters as its handling and preservation of personal information and financial reports, to name just some examples.

So, it’s a good thing that having your company’s documents digitised and centrally stored allows for automated processes to be developed whereby files are archived and destroyed at the appropriate times.

All in all, document digitisation is far from a mere luxury or ‘nice to have’ for many organisations; instead, it is becoming of ever-more central importance to their effective operations and industry competitiveness.

To learn more about how solutions like our own Vision Pro software could be instrumental in your business’s document digitisation strategy and broader digital transformation, call one of our experts today.