The Future of Document Storage – Going Digital in the New Era of Data Chaos

By: Gregoire de Clercq, Marketing Director, Kodak Alaris Information Management

The ever-increasing flood of data into and out of an organisation and how best to manage it is one of the greatest challenges and opportunities facing businesses today. Today’s era of ‘data chaos’ - the point where the size and growth of unstructured data vastly outpaces structured data, has created a pressing requirement for companies to transform information management and storage strategies to improve operational efficiency and ensure profitable growth.

Companies are managing more data from more sources and traditional systems are no longer sufficient. Data is ubiquitous and is embedded in countless formats - the majority, at least 90 per cent, approximately 35 Zettabytes of business data, is unstructured. It’s in our email, paper documents, online posts, videos and more. Most of the time it’s free form, in every format except the neatly organised rows and columns of a database, and leveraging this information to drive business growth, represents too great an opportunity for businesses to ignore.

Despite its constraints - paper has to be physically moved, space is required to store it, it slows down business transformation and it can get lost - it is not expected to go away completely for quite some time. But, unless hard copy files are scanned, unlike soft copy files, the data they contain can’t be used in digital workflows or be accessed from a common storage system. Businesses have to work out how to seamlessly connect the physical and digital data worlds and create a joined up storage system that enables them to extract maximum value from all information.

Regardless of business size or sector, digital transformation is the key to increased productivity, greater business insights, accelerated business growth and a sustainable competitive edge. The digital age is upon us and organisations need to get smarter about data.

Scanning paper-based information into an electronic repository ensures greater control over it, while increasing security and accessibility to information, but this in itself is not enough. Companies should also be capturing, indexing and automatically keying data, so it becomes active for all employees and can be used to drive the business forward.

Digital transformation is good for business. For example, digital records management offers many advantages over paper solutions, not least of which is the ability to synchronise information.

Personal data protection is critically important and a highly sensitive issue in the world today.  The more a business lets a customer’s personal data remain in analogous form such as paper, the more risk individuals are exposed to as that paper moves around the organisation. Consider the advantages of capturing personal data at the point of origin and then dealing with the digital data once it’s inside the information management system, where additional layers of security such as encryption or access control measures can be applied.

Within forms processing, well-architected workflows for form recognition, information extraction and quality assurance, remove bottlenecks to success. The mailroom, typically the centre of paper-based correspondence in many companies, can be equipped with automated workflows to rapidly manage data, alongside reliable exception handling capabilities which will free up time for employees to focus on core job functions and ensure time-critical documents move at the speed of business. Or consider how powering the journey that a client or customer experiences with your company, with digitised processes, can lead to increased customer satisfaction levels.

Data doesn’t need to be chaotic and document storage shouldn’t be a struggle for any organisation. Now is the time to start thinking about the future and what digital transformation could mean for your business. By embracing digital storage, you could soon start to streamline internal processes and meet your long-term business objectives.