How to use document automation to boost your small business?
By Trinity Hanson, Updated: 2023-03-10 (published on 2022-12-19)
For many centuries, human beings have been innovating new ways to get things done fast. In the past, people created and stored documents in hard copies. In the era of computers, electronic documents evolved. The problem of managing accurate documents remains to date. Many of them contain errors, it takes time to categorize them, and there is a consistent problem of silos. The solution is document automation for small business to eliminate the problem of time, errors, and silos. Organizations use AI and machine learning to create new documents using pre-existing data. It is the next big thing to adapt and get on board.
How data has evolved over the years?
Data has played a crucial role throughout the evolution of mankind. The earliest evidence of data use dates back to 19,000 BC. From 4,000 BC, people started to collect data and write on stones, trees, and clay tablets. By 400 BC, people had developed scrolls to score larger volumes of data. In the 1600s, it was the era of health statistics, where people kept data on births, deaths, diseases, and mortality rates.
Data processing started in the 1880s when the tabulation machine was developed. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Germans developed the magnetic tape that would store data electronically. This led to the development of floppy disks and, later, hard disks. The human race is in the computer era today. The rise of the internet has led to the massive growth of data.
Data storage and handling have grown from a few kilobytes to gigabytes and terabytes. Startups, enterprises, online stores, and small and big businesses have access to massive data. Individuals can connect online to retrieve data, make a purchase, or order a resume from Resumes Planet to increase their chances of getting a job. The era of big data is a blessing to organizations on one part but a challenge on the other.
Challenges presented by massive volumes of documents
Daily, organizations produce large volumes of documents. They produce documents such as:
- Business plans
- Employment agreements
- Financial reports
- Supplier agreements
- Non-disclosure agreements
- Pay slips
- Legal documents
When individuals are seeking funding for new businesses, a strategic plan, projected cash flow sheets, incorporation certificates, and other legal papers are required. Storing these documents and ensuring they are error-free is a challenge. The main challenges presented are:
- Time: Organizing documents in categories and entering data for each takes time and human power.
- Errors: Human beings are prone to make errors, but some of them can lead to big losses.
- Missing documents: It is easy to misplace some documents, and it takes time to trace them.
- Security: Document security is a big issue organizations are currently dealing with.
- Document versions: Documents are available in multiple versions and formats. Some versions are too old, and the software used to create them is no longer available or supported.
- Accessibility: Documents keep growing in volume, which makes it harder to retrieve them. Speed becomes a problem that can affect the productivity and effectiveness of the business system.
What can automation do for organizations?
Document automation involves transforming your documents into AI-driven templates. This ensures you keep your documents accurate all the time. You require artificial intelligence and machine learning to train your system to recognize specific document categories. Using the customized categorization codes, your documents are pulled from multiple sources and stored in their specific templates.
They can be simple or complex templates that contain graphs, tables, images, and different data formats. Automation can help organizations avoid signing unfair contract terms. It can help ensure each party is well protected under the terms and that there are no imbalances. It benefits organizations in different ways.
- Eliminates errors: Errors in documents are costly and can lead to the cancellation of contracts. Automation keeps the possibility of errors limited. It helps categorize documents in the right templates/folders and to ensure the data in them is accurate.
- Improve productivity: Automation reduces the time taken to file, create, and store documents. It reduces the time taken to retrieve the right data. Inexperienced employees can create documents fast, which improves productivity.
- Enforces standardization: Standardization is an important aspect of every business. It ensures efficiency, credibility, and accuracy. It keeps the entire document-handling process simplified.
- Saves time and money: Automation saves time by reducing the number of manual processes required. The company, in return, saves more money and generates greater profits.
How to get into document automation for small business?
You need to buy document automation software to effectively get into it. You may consider appointing a startup advisor if your business is new and you have no experience with handling complex documents. Decide the documents that you want to automate. They may include:
- Human resource
- Customer service
- Supply chain
- Sales and marketing
- Workflow approvals and CRM
Consider automating voluminous documents or data that require repetitive entries. Download and install the automation software. Configure it and segment your documents into specific categories. Involve the IT department and stakeholders such as the end-user, project manager, finance team, legal team, and internal communications team. Alert the entire work team to be ready psychologically.
Create the budget, have it approved, and implement automation. Implementation involves data consolidation, cleaning, and automation. You need to integrate with relevant tools, test it and retest it, and then roll it out. Train the workers to ensure they don’t get stuck with using the new document management approach.
If you want to achieve longevity in your organization, you must stay innovative and provide ways to make workflow and processes easier. Document automation is the new normal in the business field today. It helps limit errors, save time, and keep accurate documents. The wave of automation will soon render legacy processes obsolete. Organizations that are lagging technologically will not be able to stay competitive.