Last night along with a couple of others from our office I participated in a Vendor Fair at a conference for the Administrative Professionals Association in our area. The attendees at this event were administrators from a variety of organizations from both the private sector and the public sector throughout southern Ontario.
In talking to these ladies (they were all female) one of the key themes we found was that they all found paper filing overwhelming in their offices. Everyone we talked to indicated that managing and dealing with paper records both short term and long term was a major challenge.
Why is this significant?
These people are professional administrators who are at the centre of keeping offices of all kinds running smoothly. They understand the daily work that administrative people have to face and they are challenged to keep organizations moving forward successfully. What was most interesting to me was that the type of organization did not seem to matter. We talked to people from school boards, healthcare, children's services, insurance services and many other fields. The theme was the same, keeping track of the files that held their organizations' data was a serious challenge.
Among the items we were showcasing was our hosted document management product docUcapture. This simple to use, easy to access and relatively low cost electronic storage solution was understood by the people we talked to. They liked the concept and several indicated they could see the technology of electronic filing would make their day and their fellow employees day much easier.
So why does every office not have a document management system?
I can't answer this question other than to say it is an unfamiliar solution to many. Maybe the cost of filing is taken for granted and the ROI for a change is not understood.
The true cost of running a paper based filing system is unknown in most offices. Usually there is no one charged with the responsibilty for filing, thus there is no FTE (full time equivalent, a common measure of payroll cost) that is associated with the filing role. In fact in most offices everyone is now a filing clerk as they have responsibility for their own records. I would suggest that this has made filing a more expensive activity, not less costly, as higher paid employees are spending their time putting files in order and doing their own retrievals.
Of course this is not the situation in all businesses and organizations. There are some who adopted a new filing paradygm many years ago and who have been reaping the benefits for many years. They just don't make a lot of noise about it and it is not a hot topic of discussion around the board tables...that is unless it is a group of professional administrators who understand how offices work from hands on experience.
Is filing overwhelming in your office? How would consideration for a better solution be sourced for you?
Share your thoughts on paper filing below....
Photo credit: Logo International Association of Administrative Professionals BurlOak Bay Chapter