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The Case Study Survey: Surprising Storage Tech for Today & Tomorrow

The Case Study Survey: Surprising Storage Tech for Today & Tomorrow

Experience informs all stakeholders about the outcome of their decisions. In the case of storage technology, those stakeholders include design consultants, manufacturers, and end users in fields from manufacturing and mining, to museums and medicine.

When prospective users are considering upleveling their storage technology, theories are all well and good, but the proof of the pudding is in the real world. Nothing beats a case study to demonstrate real-world experience. With that in mind, here is a selection of storage tech case studies that decision-makers can relate to:

  • Government Agency Document Storage – Lack of storage space made organization and timely retrieval of documents an extreme challenge, deflecting the agency from its primary mission. A better storage system offered an answer.
  • Electrical Utility Asset Management – Keeping adequate quantities of operational tools and supplies on hand was difficult, and left the utility unprepared for standard maintenance or emergencies. An inventory technology solution proved to be the management key.
  • Museum Archives Storage – A continuing stream of artifacts and archival materials was straining this museum’s storage capacity. The solution took its storage in a new direction, doubling the museum’s warehouse capacity without expanding its footprint.
  • Professional Association Document Archiving and Preservation – With many of its research documents in a fragile condition, this association had difficulty giving document access to its members. Twenty-first century technology created access for all, without endangering these one-of-a-kind books.

These are just a few of the many case studies of various storage technology solutions collected on the NOS site. If you’re considering a change in your storage systems, we encourage you to take a look at the possibilities and envision your organization’s future.

 

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Another Reason to Digitize Your Documents: Your Customers

Another Reason to Digitize Your Documents: Your Customers

Document digitization is often valued for its back-office benefits. Digitization – also called imaging –  provides security for confidential data that paper documents cannot offer. It provides simultaneous access to in-house and remote workers. It saves an exceptional amount of storage space, creating long term cost savings (scan it once, reduce storage space for years).

But the benefits aren’t confined to internal operations. Customer-facing activities can benefit too, particularly if your business’s brand is oriented toward customer success. Like other brand-supportive activities, customer success is proactive. It builds relationships with customers rather than merely reacting to customers’ questions or problems. Planning for customer success includes setting up ways to deliver quick responses to customers’ information requests.

Response time is important to customers. Slow service is a common reason for customers to leave a poor review or abandon a vendor relationship. In a highly-competitive environment, the organization that provides speedy responses is likely to win the business.

One example: A recent McKinsey study showed that insurance companies that provided best-in-class customer service enjoyed new-business growth two to four times greater than their peers. Fast service is part of the positive customer experience.

A database of digitized documents delivers customer service with electronic speed.

Let’s say a customer needs a copy of a damage appraisal from their insurance company. How much time does it takes for a staffer to leave their desk, find the right filing cabinet, locate the customer’s records, make a copy of the original document, and deliver the copy to the customer? Compare that to the speed of an online customer portal locating a digitized version of the document and delivering it immediately, as a digital document. The latter is a winner every time. And that’s just one example of the many ways document conversion improves the customer experience.

Without a doubt, digitization allows an organization’s internal teams to operate more productively, and use space more efficiently, with a resulting financial benefit. Even more, digitization helps businesses serve their customers better, and that too is worth money. Convert your documents, convert more customers, and watch profits grow.

 

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What Now? Next Steps After Digitizing Your Documents

What Now? Next Steps After Digitizing Your Documents

Congratulations! Your business has embarked on the digitization journey, making your paper documents shareable and secure. Your off-site employees have remote access to the digital versions of your paper documents, and your risk management team can stop worrying about the security risks of confidential information in multiple paper copies. These benefits translate into productivity improvements and reduced costs – a great result from a smart business decision.

But there is another financial benefit still on the table, requiring two more steps.

The first step of any digitization project is an assessment of the types of paper documents your business has in file cabinets and archived storage, and setting priorities for document scanning. Once the documents go through the digitization process – scanning, QC, and exporting to a digital document database – you may wonder what’s next for the original paper documents.

  1. Reassessment – You already defined the types of documents to digitize, based on document accessibility needs and security concerns. After digitizing, the paper documents go through a second assessment. Working with your digitization service provider, this reassessment helps you identify documents that you can dispose of, based on age, compliance needs, or other criteria.
  2. Secure disposal – Shred the accumulated boxes and stacks and files of scanned paper documents. With a new quality-assured managed database of imaged documents, you can let it go, just like Elsa in “Frozen.” A service provider who has taken you through the digitization process will be able to assist you with a secure shredding process, safeguarding sensitive information from accidentally falling into the wrong hands, and ensuring any compliance regulations that may apply.

And the result of these extra steps? More space. For every 10 filing cabinets of paper you digitize and shred, you gain almost 100 square feet at no extra cost. That space can be put to more productive uses – R&D, sales, manufacturing, customer interactions, and so on. And your remaining documents can be stored in space-efficient mobile filing cabinets, yielding even more space.

An extra bonus: Document disposal up-levels your sustainability rating. Shredded documents are securely transported to a paper recycling center where the ink is stripped off and the shredded paper is pulped. The pulp is then recycled into new paper.

In sum, digitized documents are shareable, secure, space-saving, and sustainable. Take steps to speak to a knowledgeable digitization professional and get all the benefits your business deserves.

 

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Lean: How Document Digitization Creates Continuous Improvement

Lean: How Document Digitization Creates Continuous Improvement

Lean management’s goal of continuous improvement is reliant upon optimal information flow. In other words, you’ve got to get the right information to the right people at the right time if you want to improve. If you’re managing an operation that keeps much of its information on paper, you might be struggling with the right people/right time/right information intersection.

A major part of the lean management philosophy is the elimination of waste, including excess wait time, excess motion, excess inventory, and overproduction. Paper documents, and the information they contain, can take time to locate (excess wait time). They generally aren’t ready to hand, and require extra physical effort to use (excess motion). And because of paper’s excess wait time and motion, people tend to generate extra copies (overproduction) which then become a storage problem, a security problem, or a sustainability problem.

Document digitization – converting paper documents to digital documents – streamlines the flow of information. Digital documents are organized into a file structure that can be searched with electronic speed. They can be accessed instantly with the touch of a screen or a keyboard. When everyone who needs the information can easily access the centrally-controlled digital documents, there’s no pressure to make multiple copies. With document digitization, there’s no more excess wait time, excess motion, or excess production.

Paper’s inherent properties run counter to the lean management philosophy. Digitization of paper documents supports lean management by reducing waste. Learn more about digitization, and get lean.

 

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Step by Step: How Documents are Digitized

Step by Step: How Documents are Digitized

“Step into the future!” You may be hearing that phrase frequently if the organization you lead is using paper-based processes. Digitizing your paper documents is a smart move, taking information off the paper and making it accessible, secure and very, very compact. But before you take that step, you’ll probably want to know exactly what goes into the document conversion procedure.

Step 1: Assessment

Before any documents are scanned, a digitization team meets with management to learn about the types of paper documents your organization uses, and the types of information those documents contain, such as:

  • Customer information
  • Contracts and licenses
  • Action status
  • Payment records
  • Corporate records
  • Building and facilities information
  • PII and any other sensitive information

The assessment establishes document conversion priorities – the order in which documents are digitized – and the timeline for the conversion. It also sets up a chain-of-custody protocol, ensuring the confidentiality and security of documents as they go through the conversion process.

Additionally, the assessment gathers information on the metadata and indexing schemes that will be applied during the scanning process.  This is particularly important because it will allow for efficient retrieval of content.

Step 2: Scanning and Metadata Tagging

With the project completely organized, the digitization team begins the scanning process, carefully removing documents from files and scanning them in a high-capacity scanner. OCR scanning software builds searchability into the documents as they are scanned.

Expertly-customized metadata  schemes enhance searchability by adding more identifying information to each document, such as:

  • Date of creation
  • Type of document
  • Document owner (individual, department, etc.) and creator
  • Document lifespan (date when document can be destroyed)

At the end of the scanning process, each batch of digitized documents is run through Optical Character Recognition, allowing for full text search of key letters, words, or phrases.

Step 3: Export to Content Management Platform

The digitized documents now move to an enterprise content management platform which manages access and activity permissions, file organization, security, and records retention policies. With your paper documents now transformed to digital files, your records managers can remove the bulky paper files and space-consuming filing cabinets from your offices, freeing up space for more profitable activities.

The benefits of digital documents:

  • Space-saving, maximizing the workspace and reducing real estate costs
  • Searchable, saving time and improving productivity
  • Secure, controlling access to sensitive information
  • Accessible from multiple locations, keeping in-house and remote workers productive
  • Sustainable, reducing paper consumption and waste

With a clear understanding of the conversion process, you can make a well-informed decision. Your organization will start benefiting from digitization as soon as you take the first step.

 

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Room for Everything: The Shape of Hybrid Office Interiors

Room for Everything: The Shape of Hybrid Office Interiors

Two years into the pandemic aftermath, the hybrid workplace continues to shape the way businesses operate. And businesses, in turn, are shaping their offices to fit the new hybrid workplace. Return to the office (RTO) is surging, but employees are pushing back against full-time RTO. What’s clear is there is value in in-person work, and there’s equal value in remote work, and offices are being re-shaped to accommodate both workstyles.

As reported in FastCompany.com, business-social media company LinkedIn is one of the many businesses adapting their office interiors for hybrid work. Their architects, NBBJ, created a “postures matrix” that guides furniture and layout choices. Design decisions are made based upon the time spent in a particular space, the type of work done there, and the associated ergonomic needs.

The postures matrix showed that the most social places are close to doorways and entries. As people move deeper into the space, work areas become increasingly quieter. Options for heads-down focused work, living room-style conference rooms, and “buzzy” co-working areas provide something for everyone, depending on their needs on any given day.

Like LinkedIn, other businesses may be trying to re-shape their existing offices to make them more hybrid-friendly. Some are concerned that they will need to expand their office footprint, and their budgets are not prepared for additional real estate costs. Luckily, there are design strategies that can support a hybrid redesign without the need for additional space:

  • Convert paper documents to digital documents via imaging, and reduce your document storage area. Imaged documents are productivity boosters, whether staffers are in the office or working remotely. And many of the imaged documents do not need to be retained as paper, freeing up room for interior re-design.
  • Exchange traditional filing cabinets for a high-density filing system, and save as much as 50% of your storage floor area. While imaging will reduce the need for much document storage, some paper docs need to be retained. Keep them in a high-density filing system and save even more space.
  • Add touchless smart lockers that guide in-office traffic while enhancing design aesthetics. Employees without dedicated workspaces need secure storage for personal items in the office. Touchless smart lockers’ customizable finishes make them a design feature, and they can be set up in work areas to provide sound separation and guide traffic. No extra space required.

For many companies, the traditional office is fading away and the hybrid workplace is taking its place. Office interiors will need to be revised to support hybrid work, but these smart moves help keep the costs manageable. Talk to a storage expert to find out how to do a space-saving cost-saving redesign.

 

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