Company files: how to recover, digitize and preserve them in a sustainable way?

The health crisis has accelerated the digital transformation of many sectors, allowing them to adapt to the disruptive daily life (online education, telemedicine, e-commerce, telecommuting, cloud, etc.). Since then, all organizations have understood the benefits of digitizing and reviewing their operations, from processing incoming mail to archiving data, managing their internal processes and digitizing their files.

There will clearly be a before and after Covid-19. The companies that emerged from this health crisis are those that were able to adapt and organize themselves quickly, putting into practice the necessary measures to guarantee the perfect continuity of services, remotely, in complete autonomy or outsourcing certain operations. impact for your customers and employees. This new layout necessarily involves the establishment of a dematerialization policy for all major flows (mail, billing, etc.) and the digitalization of the company’s vital processes (in particular financial and commercial).

Digitization at the service of efficiency and profitability

The digitization of document flows also responds to a logic of cost reduction and administrative burden reduction that organizations have always invoked. The introduction of electronic management of incoming mail, for example, undoubtedly allows organizations to gain in efficiency, but also and above all to speed up the exchange and processing of invoices, complaints or even requests for help from the public, in order to ultimately improve both the relationship with the customer or citizen and the business relationship with a service provider or supplier.

Dematerialization, a national issue

Dematerialization has even become a national issue with the implementation of the Public Action 2022 program, which aims to modernize public services and make as many administrative procedures accessible online by the end of 2022, in a fully dematerialized way. Especially because, in the public sphere, some sectors are large generators and large consumers of paper. This is the case of Justice in particular. If progress has been made in digitizing some procedures (through platforms such as the Portal du Justiciable, for example), what to do with all the paper documents that make up the dossiers and the exchanges with the various parties involved that are still mainly in the paper ? How to collect them, digitize them and maintain them sustainably?

Towards 100% dematerialized criminal proceedings

Criminal cases, for example, remain largely paper cases, from their opening to their shelving. The exchange of files between the investigative services (Police and Gendarmerie) and the courts is, therefore, cruelly lacking in fluidity. Hence the State’s will to develop a natively digital criminal process that allows the complete dematerialization of exchanges, authenticating acts by electronic signature and archiving procedures securely. The disappearance of the paper would facilitate the completeness and management of the processes and would save time, from the filing of the complaint to the execution of the sentence. The paper, the handwritten signature page by page, and sometimes the affixing of a seal, would soon give rise to a completely dematerialized process, serving as the only support for the criminal trial.

When justice abandons your files and files

As part of its digital transformation plan (PTN), the Ministry of Justice is already dematerializing some procedures (civil and administrative in particular) and implementing EDM, digital safe, electronic signature and digitalization tools. The Department of Archives, Documentation and Heritage (DADP) launched, for example, the PROJAE (Program of Justice for Electronic Archives). The objective: to design a hybrid electronic archiving system (called Axone) that allows for the intermediate archiving of digital and physical documents from the Ministry of Justice before uploading to VITAM. Its implementation is scheduled from November 2021 to November 2023. If this SAE is fed by the acts and documents resulting from procedures that are now natively digital, the recovery and digitization of certain legal files also remain on the agenda. And this “high volume” digitization project involves creating a specific processing chain, offering maximum automation.

Health: towards a digital resurrection

The healthcare industry faces the same challenge. The hospital sector, as well as pharmaceutical laboratories, is also involved in dematerialization projects. But here again, digitization runs into structural and economic problems. If healthcare professionals digitize as often as others, many fear the lack of legal value of digitized documents, and are more concerned about these issues than in other industries. There are also technological obstacles in document management, namely the impossibility of scanning in batches, the fear of weakening certain documents or even the lack of interface with existing business applications, which would, however, allow the automation of certain processes (such as entry procedures or hospitalizations ) and limit tedious tasks.

Logistics: ending paper flows

The world of transport is also one of those that generate many paper exchanges, namely freight forwarders who are responsible for finding the best routes and the best conditions to transport their customers’ goods to any part of the world. Among shipping orders, customs declarations, delivery notes and the rest, there are hundreds of paper documents that pass from one intermediary to another, are sent by post or by post, and which, inevitably, are sometimes lost and require time-consuming entry. It is therefore urgent to dematerialize these transit files which, until now, are managed on paper thanks to simple cardboard pockets and separators. Hence the support of digitization, which not only makes the document chain more reliable, but also speeds up the payment of the freight forwarder’s service, since all operations and their evidence are dematerialized. If, in this sector, procedures are not yet natively digital, the digitization of paper documents, their identification and their automatic injection into the GED and ERP should make life much easier for freight forwarders. You still need to be equipped with the right solutions…

Digitization: what is your main motivation?

And even if “paper zero” is still far from being a reality in French companies, as in administrations, document digitization continues to be an essential lever for any professional activity, and even more so in times of crisis, where everyone needs quick access to the parts you need to get your job done. Ultimately, several reasons can lead organizations to embark on a digitization project:

  • reducing paper traffic. What could be more normal today than expecting to no longer have to deal with or transmit paper documents and being able to centralize all your information on a single online platform. This concern is both ethical (reducing printing helps limit the company’s ecological impact) and professional (which gain efficiency in being able to access work documents, professional information online and on the go).
  • savings in physical archiving. Some projects are, in fact, driven by the organization’s desire to save space and reduce the need for file storage. It should be noted that it is still possible to foresee the destruction of the original documents after their digitization, relying on the NF Z42-026 standard.
  • the conversation. The idea here is to preserve the information contained in certain documents. Because sooner or later, all paper supports become obsolete and change. So it’s best to act before it’s too late and the medium is totally damaged or unreadable. Hence the importance of digitizing the information in these documents to increase their longevity.
  • dissemination of information. Since the beginning of the health crisis, many organizations have become aware of the importance of having an easily searchable and accessible document base for employees working remotely. Hence the interest in digitizing the vast majority of documents received in order to facilitate their distribution and improve their accessibility, both for company employees and external partners (customers, suppliers, etc.). An electronic document is clearly easier to use and share than information available exclusively on paper.
  • information valuation. In the era of document platforms and the digital work environment, many organizations want to make certain content available until now only in paper format, accessible to everyone and to build a knowledge base that can be searched by all their employees. These can be historical backgrounds, but also scientific literature or professional documents that might be useful to employees in their daily missions. Many companies are committed to a knowledge management approach and intend to bring all their assets together in a single document base.

It should also be noted that digitization projects initially initiated by heritage resources often extend to other document flows. The problem is the lack of equipment, the aging of the material and the technical undersizing of this type of project.

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