With winter’s extreme weather around the corner, Steven Steenhaut, Senior Director, Global Demand Centre at Nuance, explains how the channel can help to turn paper records into digital documents to protect their customers’ businesses all year around
As the chill sets in, many parts of the country are already reﬂecting on the disruption caused last year by adverse weather conditions. Whether this winter’s weather patterns are as extreme remains to be seen, but there’s no denying that the damage inﬂicted by Mother Nature can also impact your customers’ businesses, no matter how well they are run. Extreme weather can harm or destroy an office and business records, and disrupt operations through the time lost dealing with productivity outages. A disaster can also create conditions where the privacy and security of information is thrown into question.
Protecting business continuity in the aftermath of a disaster in part depends on being able to access and use business critical information. One option is to maintain off-premise storage, but these services can prove costly in the long run making them impractical for many small and medium sized businesses.
Instead, resellers can help their customers with a far more cost effective alternative, through the supply and deployment of solutions that enable your customers to turn their paper records into digital documents. This will rid their organisation of the paper that can be damaged or destroyed during a disaster, or that can become lost in day-to-day work operations. This approach from you can not only help to improve their disaster preparedness but also their business operations. For instance, digital documents can be created so content within the documents is searchable which makes finding information a lot easier than hunting through fling cabinets.
Here are three steps I believe resellers can help organisations to take to improve their disaster preparedness.
Reduce or eliminate paper processes. Many organisations are still too dependent on paper processes. Encourage them to use scanning tools to turn paper into PDF documents, which is widely accepted as a worldwide document format standard.
PDF documents not only bring an improvement for archival purposes but also as a communication vehicle. Sending digital documents for proposals and as part of business dealings with customers and vendors reduces the paper files that need to be maintained and that are vulnerable to disaster.
Today’s PDF technology is very interactive, meaning users can perform tasks like handling fillable forms electronically and building hyperlinks into documents. Helping your customers to take steps like these in their business work processes can go a long way in training their staff to resist the urge to print, which can create more paperwork and adds costs to their operations.
Back-up documents to the cloud. Moving to digital documents is a good frst step. But if they are maintained on computer systems kept in an office, these electronic documents are still vulnerable to a disruption that may occur from a ﬂood which results from excessive rain or even something like a burst water pipe in the office. You should ensure that your customers are safeguarding their business records by backing them up to a cloud storage service, like Box, Dropbox or one of the many other easy-to-use services.
In fact, encouraging them to adopt the best practice of using a cloud storage service will help them ensure continuity of business. It will also help them in their daily operations by making it easier for employees to capture and access documents, wherever they are working. For example, a remote employee can use a web-based computer at home to securely access work documents. Cloud services offer file protection with centralised security controls and reporting and document encryption to safeguard your customers’ information.
Make it easy to print documents outside the office. Even if your customers’ organisation has made great strides in moving towards a paperless office, the reality of business life will require at least some printing. Many business transactions, such as those in banking and real estate, are still dependent on paper documents. And most likely, not all of your customers or their business partners have made the move to digital.
Remote and mobile print capabilities can make it convenient for employees to print documents using their smartphones, tablets and laptops at home or on the road and they don’t need to sacrifice document security. Today’s print software requires users to authenticate themselves before printing, helping your customers keep private information from prying eyes. These print capabilities can even extend for printing documents from cloud-based storage services.
One can never be certain if or when a disaster may strike. But all businesses can take steps to mitigate the risk and improve preparedness should that day come. By working closely with customers to digitise their documents, supported by cloud backup and remote printing, you can help secure your customers’ business information so it is always available whenever they need it – irrespective of the weather.