The pandemic has changed the way we talk about the “digital workplace”. As organizations look to a more modernized environment, it is often difficult to navigate the complexities of a hybrid physical and digital world. Gain insight to what our supplier partner, Iron Mountain, has learn about the digital transformation process along the way.
As many organizations look at digital transformation to help increase efficiencies, mitigate risk or manage information growth—here are six key things to keep in mind:
1. Keep your eye on the prize: Your goal isn’t full digitization per se — it’s to make important information as accessible as possible in a secure and cost-effective way.
2. Adopt a holistic approach: Scanning is just the first step. You also need to take into consideration storage, security, and secure destruction of no longer needed information (what’s inside files and on devices). The last is often overlooked but is critical to successful information management and reducing your exposure to data theft and regulatory compliance issues. Identifying what’s needed and what isn’t only aids in workflow automation. Businesses can then incorporate metadata and more easily enforce retention regulations.
3. Focus on reducing (not eliminating) paper: Going completely paperless is a noble goal, but not easily achieved and a bit overwhelming to achieve. A better approach is to accept that some things will be digital, some will remain paper-based, and seek out every opportunity for reducing the incidence of the latter:
- What current inputs that are now received in paper form can be received digitally or easily converted to digital?
- What processes can be altered to prevent paper from being generated unnecessarily?
- What steps can be taken to change personal habits and get people to use less paper?
4. Look beyond scanning to storage: To succeed in making information more accessible, you need to think beyond physical to digital file conversion:
- Storing documents in file cabinets seems easy and inexpensive at first, until it isn’t. The same goes for off-site storage lockers. Or stacks of DVDs and hard drives holding digital data. These approaches work for a while, but they don’t scale well or lend themselves to easy searches. Organizations with serious storage needs eventually find their way to third-party storage providers.
- In today’s world of collaborative, remote work, cloud-based storage is becoming vital. However, be sure to balance your need for short-term, highly accessible (but relatively expensive) cloud storage vs. cost-effective long-term options, such as cloud-based tape storage.
- Cloud-based storage with optical character recognition (OCR) technology can make the contents of your documents (across many different file types) completely searchable by text or index.
5. Keep your data secure: Information is a prized commodity to criminals, both for its intrinsic value (i.e., personal credit card details) or the ability to shut down operations by blocking access to data (i.e., ransomware). Cybercrime increased dramatically during the pandemic and paper records alone account for a substantial number of data breaches. To help prevent security issues, be sure to look at:
- Encryption: Making your files unreadable — without the keys you own and manage — both in storage and during transmission.
- Role-based permissions: Ensuring only authorized users have access to the information they need, when they need it.
- Chain of custody: It’s a legal term, but an important one. If you are in a regulated industry, you need to establish where your physical and digital assets are at all times.
6. Know the value: Digitization is a big undertaking that ultimately should pay for itself on the bottom line. Key ways you can see a return on investment include:
- Reducing staff time spent on information searches.
- Reallocating workspaces now devoted to storage — reducing office real estate costs and/or creating more space for revenue-generating activities.
- Enhancing business processes by freeing up information now trapped in paper documents (i.e., increasing sales by simplifying access to job estimates; increasing cash flow by digitizing invoices).
About Iron Mountain and OMNIA Partners
Iron Mountain solutions are available to participants of OMNIA Partners through new competitively-solicited awarded cooperative contract with the Port of Portland, Oregon. Iron Mountain is dedicated to storing, protecting, and managing your most valuable information and assets. To view the entire OMNIA Partners contract portfolio, click here.
*Modified repost from Iron Mountain article on Getting it Real About the Digital Workplace.