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There are many reasons for making the switch to digital, but most small business leaders have a few things in mind: adapt to the remote world, increase security, and cut costs. An astounding 76% of small businesses are planning to scan and digitize all or most of their records. Here's why.
A 2022 Iron Mountain survey revealed that more than half of small businesses still have paper-based records—including invoices, client forms, tax and other financial documents, business records, and more. Not surprisingly, the majority of these businesses (76%) are planning to scan and digitize all or most of their paper records and make the conversion to digital.
Digitization brings efficiencies to key business processes. It can improve collaboration in a remote world and speed up the ability to organize, find, and share information. Digitization can also make your data safer in the event of a global event or natural disaster and help cut costs through a reduction in storage and transportation needs.
Digitization brings efficiencies to key business processes, including improved collaboration and the ability to find information faster. – PTC Study
Today, digitizing your records is not just a strategic nice-to-have for small businesses. It’s a real-world requirement for staying competitive and resilient into the future. Let’s look at a few of the ways digitization has a powerful impact on your small business.
Your employees are spending up to 50% of their day searching for paper files. Digitization can help reduce manual processes like this and streamline operations, saving you and your team valuable time.
In a remote work world with advancing technology, speed and efficiency are becoming the standard for business operations. Clients and vendors expect quick access to information when interacting with your company. By converting to digital, you can find, share, and send files in minutes instead of hours or days.
It’s far simpler to analyze digital files than paper ones. Financial reports, client data, and business trends can be tracked and shared with ease when using digital files. The information gained from your digital records can help you develop deeper insights into your company’s operations and grow your business.
Paper records are susceptible to loss, damage by flood or fire, or theft. Improper storage of these records increases this risk and further compromises protected information. Unexpected global events and increasingly remote workforces can hinder access and sharing of physical files. When you embrace digitization, you ensure better recovery in the event of a disaster and business continuity for the future.
Paper storage can be expensive for small businesses. Onsite or offsite storage options are both additional costs that many business leaders are looking to cut in the coming years. By scanning and digitizing your paper records, you may be able to reduce your office space, free up valuable square footage for other business operations, or reduce the amount you spend on offsite file storage. Digitization can also help you streamline your compliance process and reduce fines, keeping only the files you need and properly disposing of the ones you don’t.
If you are new to the digitization process, here are three first steps to get you started:
Take inventory of the physical records in your possession. Dedicate a few days to creating an index of files stored in your desks, in filing cabinets, and in closets. Be sure to also look for duplicate records and identify which are correct.
Consider which of your physical records should be digitized. If regulations require you to hold onto certain records, prioritize records that need to be continuously updated.
Securely store the records you need or securely shred the files you don’t. Losing documents with sensitive customer information can lead to security risks. Determine which physical records you don’t need anymore and securely dispose of them.
From record creation to scanning and cloud storage, digitization is an important part of your small business’s overall information management strategy. The Iron Mountain Small Business Basecamp is packed with resources to help you begin your journey to digital transformation.