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Unlocking Efficiency: Exploring Paper Archives, Digital Files, and Document Management in Discovery

Yesterday, I conducted a discovery session with a potential client. The Automation Consultant had talked to them about their files and discovered that they maintain paper archives and have a large off-site storage cost. During the discovery, I found out:

– All files are stored in paper. They print digitally born documents and find it easier to maintain one paper file rather than a paper and a digital file.

– They archive the paper file into physical storage once the file is closed.

– They index their paper files against the File Number, which is created digitally when the file is opened, and the Archive Reference, which indicates the physical location of the archived file.

– Their physical archive is split between a leased basement and a dedicated storage company.

We spoke about the differences between true document management, where documents are stored as they are created/received and indexed using document type-specific indexes. An email might be archived against Correspondence, File Number, Client Name, Date, Subject, and Digital Archiving, where the closed file is scanned as a batch and indexed against the File Number only.

True document management is a much weightier project that requires a large amount of change management, but it also offers a raft of benefits that digital archive can’t provide.

Digital archive is quick and easy to implement, reduces storage costs, and enables quick searching for documents.

The temptation is to push the client toward true document management, but they weren’t ready to embrace that concept, and their drivers were met by digital archive. We’ll call this ‘Phase 1’ and work towards true document management being ‘Phase 2’.

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