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The path to digital records & why it will help your disaster recovery plan

By Julia Gabel
Fri 18 Aug 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Disaster can strike an enterprise in many ways, and high up on a CIO’s list of “things that keep me awake at night” is always the threat of unexpected downtime.

While having a server drop out and losing continuity from that section of the business is always frustrating and costly, backup systems are inherently faster and more secure than they were even five years ago.

The recovery point for a large enterprise with a modern backup and recovery solution can leave as little as 10 minutes of data exposed to risk.

But what happens when a natural disaster takes out a physical space?

It can wipe out hardware and make a huge, costly mess. But say the company affected had an abundance paper records kept in folders and document files, like so many still do.

Fire and water can potentially wipe out an entire company history, leaving that organisation with a huge gap in their ability to produce and refer to historical files.

Moving to a digital records management solution such as an enterprise content management (ECM) platform can seem like an onerous task, especially the physical act of onboarding documents.

There appears to be a host of monotonous, labour-intensive tasks involved such as organising batches of documents, scanning them, then filing them into a new system. However, an advanced ECM platform can automate most of this responsibility, and assign scanned documents to appropriate places with ease.

Searching for a document becomes a much easier process, and gives visibility to anyone within an assigned workgroup who requires that document.

The challenge, of course, is to find a system that can incorporate many different file formats across different departments, and present those quickly to approved staff members in any area of a company or facility. Part of the challenge is that documents and images do not have a single, standard format.

From a hospital’s point-of-view, data from x-rays and scans can be either structured or unstructured, images can come from a variety of different departments and arrive in different file formats. Doctors and other healthcare workers may need to view them on a PC, tablet, thin client or even a mobile phone.

The same goes for other document types found across any business or institution, there is no simple standard rule for file types, and documents come in many shapes and sizes.

A modern ECM platform can integrate with existing systems, drawing on digital resources from right across the organisation, and provide instant access to authorised users when and where they need it.

Rather than staff members having to spend time searching for information across multiple systems, ECM offers an organisation a 360-degree view of a company’s records, which improves decision-making and speeds up business processes.

An ECM platform captures, processes, integrates, measures and indexes information content from all necessary sources, then files it in a secure system. All approved staff, from administration through to management, are able to search and access that data quickly and efficiently.

This improves the performance of staff and critical functions within the organisation and makes processes easier to manage. The ECM platform basically manages the whole lifecycle of information in a company, from creation right through to archival and, critically for many sensitive industries such as banking and healthcare, safe disposal at the end of the document’s life.

With cloud adoption prevalent across A/NZ, many organisations require secure storage of their documents and expect that information to be instantly accessible from anywhere in the company, including remote offices.

An ECM solution vendor that owns data centers in A/NZ is able to provide a secure way for documents to be stored and managed, without data having to leave the country – which is critical for some sectors.

An elevated ECM platform operates in such a way that the company’s existing systems are not interrupted, and staff do not have to learn new solutions.

All information can be delivered to staff within their existing systems. Unstructured data can be stored in the solution itself, with all structured data staying in existing systems.

The ECM then integrates with those existing systems, offering a complete view of all records – both structured and unstructured data, scans and other images, e-forms, and so forth.

The system itself does not change, so staff do not have to onboard a new solution, and there is no change to the existing workflow – other than a faster, holistic view of records and a reduction in manual filing tasks.

In terms of speeding up the digitisation process, an ECM can automate indexing, which makes digitising hard copies a quicker and easier process. Rather than scanning, then manually filing a document, keywords can be predetermined before the scanning process begins.

As a result, all documents in a batch end up correctly filed and ready for use without further human intervention.

ECM functionality removes the risk of losing archival documentation and increases the speed and accuracy with which that data can be accessed.

A modern enterprise’s disaster recovery solution needs to incorporate digital archives, and to have them stored and accessible through a fast, secure, cloud-enabled software solution can save a whole range of headaches and improve business processes.

Article by Bob Dunn, Country Manager, Hyland

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