5 reasons for converting physical correspondence into electronic

The world of business moves ever faster; becoming more global, mobile and digitized. On the globalization side, we've seen enterprises collaborating more with one another, and even internally they have more diverse and global staff. Over more recent years, digitization of the workplace has been seen as a major factor in driving efficiencies through increased productivity, cost savings, a more mobile and agile workforce and generally increased flexibility and adaptability. But one thing seems to still have been largely left untouched - physical correspondence. While electronic correspondence is moving to the forefront, many processes still rely on physical paper-based methods of communication. Paper correspondence such as MoUs, contracts, progress reports, as-built drawings and payment certificates cannot be immediately replaced with electronic counterparts, so ultimately require organizations to properly manage their current and historical physical files. Across the globe, hundreds of thousands of hours are wasted every day tracking down physical correspondence items such as faxes and letters. And yet more time is spent capturing, sharing and tracking physical documents associated with projects/contracts and other business processes. So why should you move your physical correspondence processes into the electronic world? Here are the top five top reasons:

#1 The digitization of business correspondence & increased use of non-traditional communications

It used to be that all business-related correspondence – from meeting notes to SOPs and official documentation – came in a paper-based format. Nowadays, more and more companies are adopting electronic means for business communications. Over recent years there has been a significant increase in the use of non-traditional correspondence media, namely email and EDI, for formal business communications. Even the process of signing official documents and contracts has been slowly digitized through the use of electronic and digital signatures. This shift in the business correspondence paradigm has created a vacuum where more recent business correspondence is now effectively stored, managed and audited in centralized content repositories, while physical correspondence still remains sat around on dusty shelves. To ensure consistency, reduce costs and improve correspondence management, this (and any future) correspondence should be scanned and converted into an electronic format.

#2 Increased transparency and consistency

Electronic correspondence enables organizations to easily capture business critical information for key projects/contracts, eliminate duplicates and store them into a secure repository for  real time follow-up. All inbound, outbound and internal formal correspondence is centralized and available for people to access, review and take action upon. This ultimately provides transparency and ensures that all communications are consistent and available to relevant ECM users throughout the enterprise.

#3 Ability to integrate correspondence into your business processes

Unlike physical correspondence assets, digitized assets can retain a contextual connection with projects, contracts and other related objects such as documents, workflows, etc. By managing your physical correspondence in an electronic format you can relate corporate documents with their associated correspondence assets, thus making official business communications part of your existing business processes.

#4 Reduce costs associated with physical correspondence management

While paper may seem like a cheap information carrier, in the long run it is quite the opposite. Many organizations, especially in emerging markets and developing economies, still rely largely on paper-based correspondence management. Nevertheless, outbound correspondence is usually generated by means of electronic tools (e.g., MS Word), and only turns into physical at the very last signing step. Similarly, inbound correspondence may come in digitally via fax, then printed on paper. The costs and resources associated with physical correspondence management are significantly higher, especially for larger organizations, and such costs are generated only by a small portion of the overall correspondence process. Converting the whole correspondence flow into digital will therefore deliver huge savings with minimal impact on existing processes/habits.

#5 Improve auditability and regulatory compliance

Businesses of all sizes and industries are the subject of various degrees of regulation. Official business correspondence is typically part of every audit package. Therefore, to ensure businesses operate in compliance with regulatory requirements, storing and managing content centrally, in an electronic format is essential for the easy passage of regulatory audits.
If you need help to manage your physical correspondence within an OpenText environment then get in touch with us and we'll show you how easy it can be.