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You can't have digital PDF archives without digital workflows

Digitization of your paper archives can be a great boon to your business. This is especially the case when using a universal format like  PDF. However, that doesn't mean you're doing all you can to deliver a fully efficient digital archive to your business. You may be digitizing files, for example, but doing so through manual workflows. By doing this, you're not only wasting time and money, but you're not using a full digital system at all. Using a technological solution for archiving means using an automated workflow system on top of the flexibility and utility of PDFs.

Establishing archiving pain points
As CMSwire notes, just because a workflow has a basis in software doesn't mean it's fully digital. This is especially the case if you're working with multiple software programs just to complete the process of archiving. A good way to understand the importance of automated workflows is to find out what areas are pain points, i.e. wherever you manually enter commands or data.

"Are your files given names automatically, or does someone name them?" 

A good starting point is finding out what happens when a paper document is scanned. Is it given a name, or does somebody have to enter a filename for it? From there, you can start to see where there are problems in your workflow. If a file must be saved or converted into the PDF file format through someone's intervention, or you have to email another person the file to confirm that it's in the right settings and format, then you have bottlenecks that you can address through automation. 

You can go further in identifying areas at a granular level, such as if a person is manually uploading documents and where they're sending them, or if you need to add specific tags or compliance configurations to the PDF file such as PDF-X or PDF/A. All of these processes can be automated in some way with the right tools.

Automatic for the business
Now, automation doesn't eliminate people completely from the archiving process, and it shouldn't. People should still be looking at the files to determine if what was scanned is readable, searchable and can be opened. Even with a file format as flexible as PDF, mistakes can still happen during the scanning or organization process.

IT firm Nexxtep points out what automation can do. Any repetitive process that previously required manual entry can be done automatically. For example, if you're scanning a series of tax documents from the 2013 tax year, you can create a template for identifying each document, and it will be sorted and combined into the appropriate files without having to key in specific details. More importantly, whenever people are involved in the archiving process, particularly for reviewing the files, they'll receive an instant notification. They can quickly review and approve the file, mitigating those bottlenecks. You reduce the amount of time spent on archiving your critical files, saving you money. By eliminating pain points through a combination of automated workflows and the powerful PDF file format, you create a truly digital archive and process.
Posted: 10/13/2015