Paper Cut

Details, Details

Although getting the right kind of technology in place is crucial, it's also important to think about the types of information you want to include in your electronic document management system. Establish procedures to ensure it's being used properly, so employees don't shun the system and revert to using paper.

Chief among these concerns is determining how electronic documents will be created, says Campbell. If your key documents are on paper and you want to transform them into electronic documents, keep in mind you'll probably have to make some size and font adjustments to make the electronic versions more readable. Because portions of the documents may be difficult to read on a computer screen, carefully evaluate your documents and rework them as needed.

Determine the kinds of information you'd like to include in your document management system, realizing that some items may actually be best left in paper format. Don't just add newly created documents to the system; include older documents as well. And don't forget to include standard documents such as invoices, receipts and purchase orders.

Your long-term goal shouldn't stop at creating a system that merely organizes your business data efficiently and fosters collaboration around the office. Don't get me wrong: Accomplishing this is a big step. However, your goal is to have employees recognize the real value these documents contain and to leverage the actual knowledge that exists in your company so everyone can find the best ways to use it.

Contact Sources

Computhink, (630) 705-9050, http://www.computhink.com

International Data Corp., (508) 872-8200, ext. 4010, http://www.idc.com

Ryan, Parsons & Krach, e-mail: info@rpk.com, http://www.rpk.com

Visioneer, (800) 787-7007, http://www.visioneer.com

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This article was originally published in the March 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Paper Cut.

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