A little known fact about the personal computer is that they were introduced to the world as the cure for paper clutter.* These machines that would now store data electronically were supposed to dramatically reduce the amount of trees naturalists had to suffer being cut down. The entire print industry shuttered in fear at the coming of this new menace to their industry. As we all know, the paper mills of the world suffered no such loss. Each of us are guilty of printing numerous copies of the same document in order to hand out, or read offline and mark up with a good old fashioned pen.
Yet the ideal of running a paperless office remains. In theory there really are few reasons why we shouldn’t be able to accomplish this given the speed, storage capacity, and networking ability of modern day systems. Most offices and industries fall far short of this. I blame managers (many of whom have the common sense of a mildly heavy brick). Oftentimes they only understand a bold typed report on their desk. To email a document is a sign that it isn’t real. You need to have a hard copy.
The fact of life remain, that having printed materials in your hand is inevitable. Certain business transactions are impossible without them. Regardless, having a central place to store and distribute all your documents is essential. In many offices a network drive is designated for such a purpose. Informal rules are established on the maintenance of these documents. These arbitrary protocols nearly ensure something with get lost, misplaced, or altered. To prevent this situation more robust document management software is needed. One of the forerunning online solutions for this is DynaFile, an online document management system.
DynaFile is a full featured electronic filing cabinet. It allows you to (let’s admit it) manage the mundane task of keeping track of your documents. Its web based system gives you access to all your documents at any time from any computer. At a glance, it allows you to scan, store, share, collaborate, annotate and organize your documents online.
Storing documents online may not sound like the most innovative of tasks, but like anything else, the devil’s in the details. To that end DynaFile vanquishes the demonic beast of disorganization in a number of ways. The document collaboration tool comes complete with user permissions, the ability to comment and annotate the document, and allows for concurrent document use. So let’s say you’re on a phone call with a client. You can both pull up the document and make and view each other’s edits. Or then there’s the document imaging tool. This allows you to use a simple bar code scanning method to quickly categorize your documents. For instance, you have a client file full of contracts, reports, and communications and you’d like to scan and upload all of these into your system. Simply use DynaFile’s system to print out a special barcode page for each section. Then insert said page into the pile of client files, each designating the beginning of the next section. Then all you do is scan the files and upload them directly to your account. There’s no further work on your part as they will be neatly organized online. DynaFile’s support will even work with you to configure your scanner to do the whole process with a single button. (Printer’s are networked and can be set up to access your DynaFile account.)
There’s document indexing with text fields, drop downs, custom fields, and date selection. Then we have and unlimited amount of users, groups, with the ability to set up custom permissions. And let us not forget the aforementioned annotating process. Here you can highlight, add checkmarks, arrows, custom stamps, watermarks, sticky notes, or if none of those work, add a floating annotation. The only thing the annotating tool lacks is a special doodle button in the event you’re stuck in a meeting with a manager.
Of course, once the files are safely secured in your electronic filing cabinet, the circumstance may arise that you’re called upon to retrieve them. This can be done in three ways. The first is to use the online interface to email as an attachment to as many people as you’d like. The next is to fax. And lastly, which might be the most popular, is to send people and encrypted link that gives them read-only access to the files. This circumvents the problem of how to deal with distributing a particularly large file or one that has sensitive content.
Managing documents is a fact of life for business. Law offices, accounting and tax firms, human resources, or any number of industries all need to confront the growing pile of information upon which their businesses are built. For this, DynaFile provides a powerful document management software solution. Finally the computer can live up to its paperless ideal. Or at the very least, we can get the most utility out of the documents it holds.
* We searched for a reference on the paper free marketing campaign for early computers to no avail. We’re sure it’s out there somewhere though!