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7 Biggest Struggles with Physical Document Management

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To this day, the age-old art of filing and maintaining physical documents still continues to be practiced. However, with the advent of the Information Age and the rapid transfer of data that comes with it, this art is slowly becoming less of a necessity and more of a “nice to have” process.

Of course, physical file management has been the backbone of many personal and business-oriented matters thus far, but it doesn’t come without its issues. It is these struggles that its digital counterpart aims to solve, going above and beyond, saving us time and money with its ease and efficiency. Listed below are seven of such struggles, and why many individuals and organizations are transitioning into the realm of digital document management.

Limited Storage Space

Storing physical files and folders can easily pile up, especially for document-heavy offices and individuals. Sooner or later, drawers will start filling up, filing cabinets will be too full, and more office space will be wasted to store more of these files. To top it all off, once the storage spaces multiply, so does the length of time to find and retrieve a particular document.

The digital counterpart makes this seem like a breeze. Digital storage space can easily be bought and allotted, with laptops and computers being sold with so much memory. Even smartphones nowadays can handle more than 20 gigabytes of data– which can hold an estimated average of 66,660 books’ worth of data! That is a lot of libraries’ worth of text inside a single device!

A lot of services now also offer scalable cloud solutions for storing files, which makes it easier for you to allot and reallot space as your data gets bigger.

Wear and Tear

Physical documents are no stranger to the reality of wear and tear. As long as documents are exposed to the air around them, and as long as they are made accessible to human touch, these documents will weather and change. Paper can turn yellow or brown, some pages may get torn, some may be stained by dust, a chemical reaction may occur that will result in a noticeable change, and, in some cases, a change that will render these documents unreadable and useless. Giving physical documents the protection they need requires extra focus and some financial investment, while recovering documents from a worn state could prove even more taxing.

Digital documents, thankfully, do not experience wear and tear. Of course, the physical harddrive that contains them might, in some way, wear out, but it usually takes around five years before it shows signs of age. Digital documents, however, can be backed up and saved in multiple storage locations, be it another newer drive, an external hard drive, or a cloud storage location. The ease of copying and backing up documents makes digital documents perpetually indestructible– unless, of course, intentionally deleted.

Manual Sorting

The time that could be spent accomplishing other more important matters can wither away into manually sorting documents. It is a whole task in itself! Unfortunately, file cabinets cannot sort themselves, and skipping the sorting process altogether will only prove to be more troublesome later on, when a document seeks to be found.

Digital file systems are far more efficient than their physical counterpart, usually having built-in sorting as a standard feature. In the digital realm, the computer does the sorting for you, which removes one giant task out of the list of important things to do.

Copy Issues

Physical documents are bound to have a limited amount of copies, sometimes dwindling down to one. If such documents were to be worn or lost, the retrieval of its contents will prove to be very difficult– maybe even impossible. Sending a document to be copied, on the other hand, takes time and effort, often requiring scheduling, especially if done in bulk.

Digital documents can be copied with a few simple clicks and strokes, and can be copied as many times as digital storage allows– all without going to and fro the copier.

Dealing with Human Error

Being humans means that mistakes are inevitable. This doesn’t mean that we have to keep a close watch to every task we do as much as possible (that would be mentally exhausting), it just means that we have to account for the possibility of error and set a course to either correct them or minimize them.

However, human error can sometimes slip through even the most sophisticated of processes, and, in the case of file management, a file may end up being lost, or a document may end up getting accidentally shredded. Sometimes, files might even be given to the wrong clients, and records might be wrongly documented. Such errors are difficult to correct in the physical world.

In the digital world, however, such errors can be easily traced. In service-managed file systems, logs can be checked to see file histories, and rollbacks can be initiated to undo any accidents or bad decisions. Backups and copies also help with file retrieval. Such fail safes prove extremely helpful in dealing with human error.

Snail Mail Takes Time

Sometimes handing out and retrieving documents require physical appointments. Other times, they can be sent or received via mail. Either method requires some waiting time, which can put a few things on hold.

When stored digitally, files can easily be sent and received via email or cloud upload services, the only bottleneck being internet speed. The average back and forth can be done in less than five minutes– that is a lot of time saved.

Physical Risks

There are a lot of risks involved with storing physical documents. Calamities and unforeseen events such as floods and fires have a chance of happening, completely destroying files and folders in their path. Even something as seemingly random as a pest problem can pose a huge threat to your documents. The loss of such documents could mean a huge business loss, or a huge loss of irreplaceable personal records.

These losses can be prevented by storing digital copies of these files. Cloud backups exist to prevent the total loss of your important data, despite the effects of the physical world. It is this guaranteed preparedness that makes digitizing your files a worthy investment.

3SG Plus is a leader in the digital transformation industry. The experts at 3SG Plus provide transformative business solutions that streamline operations, reduce cost, and help organizations of all sizes across many verticals meet their strategic goals and revenue objectives. 3SG Plus’s innovative solutions enable businesses to create opportunities for growth, enhance security, reduce liability, and improve overall outcomes for employees and customers alike.

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