Bringing Your Business Into the Digital Age
There are countless businesses around the world that are still using paper records, still sending snail mail and still don’t have a single computer in their offices. It’s a little hard to believe, but it’s absolutely true because, let’s face it, not every business has the funds or the need to upgrade their technology. Not everybody likes change, and if it’s an expensive investment to install computers or servers for a business that is operating fine without them, why would you spend that money?
Although it’s understandable that these businesses don’t want to change their ways, there is no doubt that bringing your business into the digital comes with many advantages that may not be so apparent on the surface. For instance, people always talk about reducing the amount of paper they use and going “paperless” as a business, but it’s not all about saving trees and reducing costs. It’s to do with efficiency, speed, and safety.
If you still haven’t brought your business into the digital age or you’re hesitating due to the high costs, then here are some compelling reasons why you should ditch the paper and get some new computers.
Protecting business records
The first major advantage we’ll talk about is the ability to keep your records safe. Security is incredibly important when it comes to a business’s records because it could contain sensitive data such as customer information. If this information was to be destroyed, it could have disastrous consequences and without a digital backup, it’s going to be hard to regain all of that data without manually contacting each customer (assuming you even remember their numbers, emails or names). To add to the terror, if your business suffers from an incident such as a fire or if a clumsy employee accidentally destroys those records by spilling coffee on them, it’s unlikely you’ll have too many backups to replace them with without burning through loads of copy paper.
But with digital records, many of these problems are completely removed. Digital records can be backed up in various different ways. For instance, you could upload all of your data to a secure offsite cloud server and easily retrieve them whenever you need to. Even if all of your hardware is destroyed, you could easily recover the latest backup and continue working despite the damage to your office. It’s simple to operate and there’s very little maintenance required because backups can be made automatically by your systems.
Easy to convert
But you might be thinking that you already have a lot of paper records and it’s going to take weeks or even months to convert it into a digital format. This is where digital records management comes into play. You can simply hire a service that will help you convert all of your existing paper records into digital ones. It’s quick, painless and relatively inexpensive for what you get. All of your documents will be barcoded, scanned and delivered to a data centre where everything is digitised, and you’ll get full access to those digital records within just a couple of days.
From there you can speak to tech professionals in order to get a good idea on how you can replace your paper record days with updated technology. Computers are relatively inexpensive nowadays and you don’t have to spend a fortune if all you want to do is basic office tasks such as creating and editing documents. There’s very little setup involved with computers assuming you have a professional on board and learning to use a computer is simple with all the online resources and courses that you can take.
Another major advantage of using computerised systems is efficiency. If you have an archive of physical documents then you’ll understand the pain in trying to organise everything and dedicating entire rooms just to store all that information. You might also need a dedicated member of staff to look after all the data, ensure the room is spotless and know where to find the information that is needed. It’s an archaic system that has been largely replaced by computer systems that are capable of storing and searching through information at lightning speed.
Not only can you easily find information such as records, you can also sort them and grab whatever information you need with ease. For instance, if one of your customers raises a concern about an order they received over a year ago, you can simply search the date and pull up every invoice you sent on that specific date and look through the orders to find your customer’s one. It’s efficient, it’s painless and there’s very little chance for it to fail or mess up due to human error or even mechanical errors.
Learn what parts of your business can be made efficient with computers
Not every business is suited for digitisation and not every facet of your business needs a computer. Although it’s inefficient to run a business entirely on paper, it’s equally as inefficient to have a business that runs entirely on computers. It’s important that you consult a tech professional about what components of your business could benefit from being replaced or improved with a digital system.
For instance, if you run a retail store that also takes online orders, then it’s customary to have an eCommerce platform setup that sends an electronic invoice to your customers. It’s far more efficient that receiving an order form that they have to fill in or by directly contact you. In fact, the majority of businesses that operate using the internet have web stores that automatically take payments from credit or debit cards instead of requesting archaic methods with as bank transfers. This makes it easy for you to track and receive payments and it also makes it easier for the customer to order goods.
This is one of those areas that should be replaced with a proper eCommerce platform. However, that doesn’t mean you should completely neglect paper. For instance, you could still print off an invoice and add it to the packaging so that your customer has a paper record of it that they don’t need to print out themselves. This is something small, but many business customers need paper invoice records in order to calculate business expenses.
Digitising your business comes with many advantages, but it’s important not to go overboard and you should be sticking to some traditions with paper that are still widely accepted.