Recently, it seems that everything has been moving to “the Cloud.” From the photos on your phone to the contacts in your organization’s database, nearly every aspect of our personal and professional life has made the migration from our phones and desktops to the invisible world of the Cloud. However, when it comes to all of the different paper-based documents you use in your day-to-day operations (many of which need to be paper-based), many hospitals, banks, automotive dealers, and other businesses are still unsure whether or not to make the move to Cloud-based storage. Interestingly, though, there does seem to be a trend heading in that direction. As shown in a survey conducted by AIIM, as of June 2014, 47% of companies Cloud-based content management solutions already in place, while another 37% plan to use the Cloud in the future. But is the Cloud right for you? Well, there are a few considerations to make, and a few questions to ask yourself, before making that decision.
Benefits of Moving to the Cloud
While there is nothing inherently wrong with storing your content in paper form or on locally supported servers, there are a few key benefits unique to web-based storage.
Easier, quicker access
Especially when compared to paper-based content management, imaging and indexing all of your documents into the cloud will allow all employees to have easier and quicker access to the documents they need, when they need them. By eliminating the need to search through file cabinets through the use of a simple “Search” bar, you can get the documents you need quicker, and improve the service you provide to your clients.
Easier, quicker sharing
Additionally, in most industries, many documents need to change hands at least once, if not several times, often requiring signatures from different managers. By storing documents in the Cloud, these different hands can access the documents from different locations quicker and easier. (Further, many web-based content management tools workflow and digital signature features, making this even easier.)
If you have more than a single office, this is huge. If an employee doesn’t need to be in the same physical location where your paper or digital documents are stored, their productivity won’t be limited, and they’ll be empowered to complete the task at hand.
Less dependence on IT
Though this doesn’t really relate to paper-based content management, having your digital documents stored in the Cloud, as opposed to on local servers, requires less dependence on highly trained IT staff. With locally hosted content management, if there is an issue with your organizations server (if it crashes, for instance), it may take a number of people from your IT team and quite some time to handle the issue. This problem is eliminated with the Cloud, as all documents are preserved securely on the web.
Lastly, if your organization is growing—with new locations opening or new customers or patients coming on board—Cloud-based storage enables your document storage to grow seamlessly with your business. With paper-based storage, you’ll need more and more file cabinets, perhaps off-site storage facilities. With locally hosted servers, you might need more capacity. But the Cloud has endless capacity.
Questions to Ask before Moving to the Cloud
With all these benefits in mind, it’s still important to take a critical look at your organization and the resources at your disposal before making the migration to web-based storage. Though many organizations have seen improved productivity, efficiency, and revenue cycle management by making the change, the Cloud isn’t right for every organization.
However, if you answer “Yes” to any of the following questions, you’ll likely benefit from storing your content in a web-based storehouse:
- Do you have workers in multiple locations that need access to documents?
- Does your organization rely on timely access to documents?
- Do your documents change hands frequently?
- Do any forms require signatures from different managers?
- Would an audit trail of who accesses documents help with compliance?
- Are you overwhelmed with the amount of paper documents in your office?
- Do you spend more time searching for and filing documents than you do completing the task at hand?
- Are you worried what would happen if a server goes down or if disaster strikes your paper documents?
Overall, though Cloud-based content management isn’t right for all organizations, most will likely see a benefit through making the migration. If you think moving to web-based storage might benefit your hospital, dealership, or bank.