Each year, businesses spend thousands on document printing, filing, and storage, much of which can be eliminated by converting all forms of documentation to digital form, thus reducing or eliminating the need for paper. By converting your paper files to secure digital documents, you can:
- Reduce costs
- Share information quickly
- Access information anytime from anywhere
- Eliminate lost documents
- Increase employee productivity
- Be more competitive
- Comply with regulations
- Improve customer service
- Solve disaster recovery
- Reduce offsite storage
Benefits of Digital Document Conversion
The most obvious benefits of converting to electronic documents are the paper and storage cost savings and the fact that moving to an electronic document system is environmentally sound. But even more important is the increased productivity and the more effective use of digital documents. Digital documents are immediately available after they have been scanned and do not have to be retrieved from a central filing system or archive. Digital documents can also be accessed from home and other remote locations, such as when traveling.
Digital or electronic documents which have been properly converted are far easier to search for relevant material or phrases. In addition, text and other material in incoming digital documents can be copied into documents drafted in response, such as with Interrogatories. There is also better security than with paper documents since it easier to limit access to documents or to parts of documents.
Many firms have made at least a partial move to a paperless office. Incoming documents are scanned rather than copied and the paper documents are discarded or filed. Lawyers and other firm staff personnel view the scanned images though a document management system instead of using paper copies of the documents. Further savings in paperwork are achieved through email and email attachments; sending electronic faxes instead of paper faxes; storing information electronically instead of in filing cabinets; giving clients or vendors information on CDs.
Taking the Next Step to Converting to a Paperless Office
If you want to implement a paperless office for your firm, be sure to review your plans and the advantages, making sure to get the full and unanimous buy-in by the lawyers and staff in the firm. The use of the digital document will lose its effectiveness if some people ignore the electronic copy and seek the paper original.
The next step is to go ahead and buy one or more scanners. At first you may decide to only start scanning some new or incoming documents. In this case, a single desktop scanner may be adequate. Then, as your firm becomes more comfortable with digital documents instead of paper, you may want to add large and fast network scanners to a mix of desktop scanners, similar to the way the firm printers are organized. Purchasing large monitors (19” to 22” and higher) is also quite useful and provides easy viewing of digital documents.
Electronic Document Management Systems
Obviously, it is essential that the electronic documents must be easily located and retrieved. The easiest way to lose confidence in the use of digital documents is to have difficulty saving and finding them easily and quickly. It is highly recommended that the document management system be used to organize the saving and retrieval of the scanned documents. Bear in mind that emails, email attachments, and web research are also digital documents which should be filed in an organized manner with the scanned documents in your document management system.
TIME MATTERS® and PRACTICEMASTER® PROGRAMS.
Design One Corporation is an authorized technical and sales representative for LexisNexis Time Matters and Software Technology PracticeMaster. Design One has installed, customized and trained our clients in the LexisNexis Time Matters and Software Technology’s PracticeMaster programs for more than 10 years. These programs link the digital documents, including email and attachments and web resarch directly related to the appropriate client or case for easy retrieval. These client management programs provide:
- Matter and Project Management
Centrally organize contacts, notes, events, phone calls and other information associated with a case or matter.
- Docketing, Calendaring and Scheduling
A comprehensive alert and reminder system helps you stay on top of deadlines, meetings and other due dates.
- Document Management
Document automation features make it possible to produce client and court papers more quickly than ever before. You can track an unlimited number of versions, revert to old versions and open old versions as new documents.
- Data Importing and Synchronization Tools
Integrated utilities you can use to import data directly from Outlook and other legal and non-legal business applications.