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Advantages of Electronic Document Storage

Reduced Document Storage
With the ever increasing cost of commercial property and the need to store documentation for longer to comply with regulation, paper based storage often competes with staff members for space within an organisation and outsourced paper based storage creates wasteful expenditure and costly inefficiencies to retrieve vital information when needed. Scanning documents and integrating them with electronically generated information i.e emails, word documents, etc. in a document management system frees up expensive office space to be utilised in more productive areas of a business.

Improved Data Retrieval
In a conventional filing system paper documents are filed until needed. They are then retrieved when the document is needed, making it unavailable to anyone else and then refiled. This leads to slow and inefficient filing, retrieving and refiling of documents. With this high number of refiling, comes the possibility of misfiling documents which could prove disastrous, when urgently trying to locate vital information.

Using a document management system, documents are stored in a central repository enabling multiple users to access data simultaneously, without the need to refile and because documents are stored electronically, with the simple entering of a search term, documents are available within seconds, providing increased productivity and better customer service.

Controlled and Improved Document Distribution
Storing documents electronically makes it easy to share documents electronically with colleagues and clients by email or via the web in a controlled and secure manner. Paper documents often need to be photocopied to be shared. Even electronically generated documents like emails are often printed to paper in order to be shared, creating very costly paper and printing overheads.

Business Process Management (BPM) focuses on improving corporate performance by enabling businesses to electronically automate the distribution of documents and manual processes within an organisation. The goal is to increase productivity by eliminating data bottle necks, reduce human error and miscommunication and focus workers on the requirements of their roles.

Secure Data
Storing documents in paper form carries with it a high security risk especially when the data contained within them is sensitive and private. A document management system provides better, more flexible control over the security of documents. Users are managed on a rights and roles based system, where what they can do and see can be restricted at a folder or even down to a document level. Most document management systems include revision control which tracks changes to a document and audit trail which produces a history of the life of a document, showing what actions users have made to that document. Both of these facilities are vital in the compliance of legal regulations, which is simply not possible with storing documents in a conventional paper format.

Disaster Recovery
It is an unfortunate fact that many organisations have never addressed how their business would recover in the event of disaster. Storing documents on paper makes business extremely vulnerable to the risks of fire, flood, vandalism, theft and other ‘Acts of God’, which could result in a business failing to recover from such an incident.

Electronic document storage however can be easily and cost effectively backed up to multiple locations and stored offsite, resulting in an almost immediate recovery from such disasters.

No Lost Documents
Lost documents can be expensive and time-consuming to replace. Within a Document Management System, electronic documents remain centrally stored when being viewed, so none are lost or misplaced. New documents are less likely to be incorrectly filed and even if incorrectly stored can be quickly and easily found.

The risk of non-conformance leading to fines, a withdrawn licence to operate, or in certain circumstances custodial sentences when an audit takes place is reduced and in most cases removed. A combination of security control, audit trails, archiving and disaster recovery ensure that an organisation is able to authenticate the validity of information stored and demonstrate compliance with regulations and requirements.

Improved Customer Service
Being able to respond to customer requests immediately with the necessary information at hand, not only improves customer satisfaction but gives a more professional look to the organisation leading to a competitive edge and allowing staff to allocate the time saved to other core business activities.

Digital Post Room

A number of Ascot's clients have moved forward with their document management system and created a digital post room environment, where slow, inefficient paper based mail processes are replaced with cost effective, secure and time saving systems.

Paper based incoming mail is scanned on receipt in a centralised location, classified and then immediately and securely distributed to individual or group electronic in-trays. This has a number of immediate business benefits over traditional paper based processing of post:

  • Documents reach their intended recipients quicker and more efficiently. Even if the recipient is in another building, another town or another country.

  • An immediate reduction in cost relating to the movement of paper throughout the business. This could be something simple like the removal of internal mail costs through to true manpower savings and even in some large organisations transportation costs.

  • All mail once digitised is audited and tracked, ensuring that important document is never lost from the system.

  • Enhances organisations who rely on home workers as mail is delivered directly to their desktop on the same day it was received at head office.

  • Improves customer services by accelerating processing and response times. Inbound customer communication is instantly available allowing a consistent level of service.

  • Fast return on investment, typically within 12 months.

Timesheet Automation

Timesheets are a necessity for a large number of both public and private sector organisations. They are often provided to temporary workers, supply teachers etc. in a paper format and are returned to the payroll dept/HR dept on a weekly basis. Once received the information on the timesheet has to be manually captured and entered onto the company’s database, validated and then passed for payment. This is by no stretch of the imagination a time consuming and labour intensive exercise in paper form.

Ascot Business Solutions have provided a number of timesheet automation systems to organisations nationwide. The timesheets are completed as normal but on receipt of the completed timesheets, the documents are scanned, indexed using OCR technology and validated against a set of rules or existing data. This then produces a set of complete timesheets and a small number that may require additional manual validation to ensure 100% accuracy. The main drivers for this type of solution are:

  • Increases the speed by which a timesheet can be passed for payment. Our automated solutions are on average 50x faster than manual processing.

  • Reduces significantly the amount of manpower needed to provide timesheet capture on a weekly basis.

  • Reduce manual errors through the use of automatically applied rules that check your resultant data and only show you records that need manual attention.

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