From the top down, you might not see much of a connection between the Internet of Things (IoT) and document management. However, they are more intrinsically connected than you might think. The workflows of today are quickly moving towards greater connectivity, and both of these technologies support that ideal.
Digital transformation, in large part, is already making a significant contribution to document workflows with the help of IoT via mobile-enabled connected devices like printers and filing systems. As more IoT devices make their way into the office environment, these workflows will continue to improve. By unifying information workflows, companies can effectively eliminate document and data silos between departments and take advantage of opportunities for improved productivity across the board.
One of the most potent arguments in favor of IoT has to do with the data it delivers. With access to real-time data on user activity as well as a range of other metrics, companies can make timely business decisions that will drive further efficiencies. This area in particular is where a document management system (DMS) provides a basis for the success of IoT in the office, as it provides the foundational data that the IoT needs to deliver its insights.
For instance, let’s consider a connected printer like the Canon 5 Series. As an IoT-enabled printing device, it is accessible remotely over the network or physically through user-generated profiles. Each user can access the printer using his or her own preferences. The IoT component then tracks all user data, as well as the general function of the printer, to help manage resources. When support is needed or supplies are running low, the IoT sends out a service call or orders what it needs, reducing the burden on office staff while providing data on how well the machine is performing.
Some of the insights might include machine performance, over-capacity use, and bottlenecks. For instance, if there are 20 printers on the floor and the identified work capacity only requires eight, a company can eliminate 12 machines, thus reducing waste, lowering costs, and improving efficiencies.
Documents can be tagged for a specific purpose as well. This could be related to security or even formatting. For instance, if a certain contract should always be printed double-sided, the connected printer will enforce that rule. If a brochure should only be printed in color and on a certain type of paper, this can be enforced as well. More accurate printing reduces paper waste as well as the cost of that waste.
IoT devices can also help document management workflow by assisting with document location and maintaining security access levels. Personnel who access, print, send, or make changes to a document will be logged in the system for easy review. While this is a basic capability of a DMS, IoT helps to make sense of it all, providing insights into patterns and other activity that could be useful from a general management standpoint.
With so many points of potential interaction for a document, proper controls should always be implemented. For areas where confidentiality is a large factor—like the legal or healthcare industries, for example—this is of even greater importance due to large volumes of personal records, documents, and intellectual property.
The implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) in tandem with IoT and document management has the potential to provide further workflow efficiencies by removing the need for workers to spend time on mundane, repetitive tasks. Contracts, emails, reminders, appointment confirmations, and other timely documents can be generated automatically, freeing up employees to focus on higher-value tasks like customer care, lead generation or product innovation.
Machine learning complements these processes by learning to read and understand how to classify documents based on their title or even contents. Once a document is created and recognized as an invoice, a contract, or reminder, it will be filed automatically without any extra effort on the part of your team. With the ability to recognize confidential documents, the system can even assign heightened security levels to the documents, thus preventing unauthorized access.
Ultimately, both document management software and IoT are intended to do one thing: make life easier for you and your employees. They speed up processes, optimize the time that is spent on repetitive tasks, and provide insights that would otherwise be impossible to collect using more conventional methods.
If you are a business in Arkansas and would like to learn more about how IoT can improve your document management workflows, reach out to Business World today.
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