How Small Businesses Out-perform Industry Giants

By James O'Connor June 27, 2016 (Updated: August 22, 2016) Articles and Editorials

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Small businesses are using one resource that maximizes the value of their human capital, and it has put them on the shoulders of giants in their respective industries. Better yet, these small businesses are doing it against these giants’ will.

This resource isn’t technology. It’s the time that one technology provides, and this technology is document management software (DMS). Given the economic uncertainty of the dollar’s value, a strong case can be made for time being the most valuable yet underutilized currencies in not just the world of small business, but the world of work, too.

Here’s how DMS is freeing up this resource through DMS, and why it’s leveling the playing field in industries like insurance, accounting, finance, healthcare, and manufacturing across America.

1. DMS Overthrows the Time Lost in Poor Decisions

Have you ever wasted time and realized you can’t have it back? You’re not alone: Even bright employees in small, paper-dependent organizations do, and without even knowing it: At $30 per hour, the typical knowledge worker wastes $4,500 annually just by working with paper. Given that DMS helps small businesses go paperless in a highly collaborative and efficient way, working with paper and not relying on DMS is any small business’s fast track to losing time through poor decisions at the operational level.

This is an example of what economists call ‘opportunity cost’ at its worst. Some opportunity costs are easier to point out and avoid than others; however, paper-dependency isn’t one of them.  Alternatives to paper-dependency and the time they save are rarely explored because paper is all that business has known since the Industrial Revolution.

When it comes to document management software, opportunity costs are reduced not only once organizations go paperless, but particularly for workers who rely on billable hours and commission to earn income – accounting, legal, insurance, and—in some cases—financial advisory. The more time you spend solving problems other people can’t, the more value you add to the hours you spend at work, and this will be reflected in your paycheck if you work in a paperless office (even if you don’t rely on billable hours and commission): Money follows value, and organizational leaders will not only be able to see the value a paperless DMS brings to their organization, they will be more ready, willing, and able to pay employees for increased performance with the savings found in the bottom line.

However, if you haven’t gone paperless and are boggled down by the administrative overhead and costs of misfiling, finding, and keeping track of information –the value of your hours on the job decreases no matter how skilled, educated, or practiced you are in your line of work, but DMS overthrows this issue, and prevents workers from using their time unwisely.

2. DMS Sheds Light on Temporal Discounting

This is a fancy way of saying that in the workplace, and in microeconomics in general, people tend to discount only rewards that occur in or near the ‘now’ as valuable. For instance, a CFO, despite his or her aptitude for numbers, may perceive a smaller financial reward for their organization, which is received in 6 minutes or fewer, to be more valuable than a larger reward received in 6 months.

However, mathematically speaking, the larger reward obtained 6 months later is irrefutably more valuable. DMS optimizes the business value of time by exposing how although upfront implementation costs can scare organizations away from going paperless through DMS, there isn’t a single organization who went paperless through DMS intelligently, and 6 months later regretted the decision. Larger organizations are more susceptible to temporal discounting than their small business counterparts, bringing competitive edge to smaller organizations while the larger organizations flounder at the thought of implementing new technology.

The miniscule tasks of paper-dependent processes are what most organizations still depend on despite the degree to which these processes prevent them from profiting, growing professionally, and using their time efficiently. However, the short-term ‘reward’ larger organizations receive for not going paperless (which is not putting in the effort to go paperless), is miniscule compared to the rewards it can reap over not just 6 months—but much longer periods of time as cost savings and output are only compounded, resulting in organizational growth and profitability.

3. DMS Reduces ‘Multitasking’

As a central repository for roughly everything that a small business or department in a larger organization needs to run more efficiently, DMS centralizes integration with industry-specific software (accounting, for instance), a transubstantiation of the typical shared drive, workflow, file versioning (which prevents renaming of the same files and confusion over where these files are stored), and bank-grade file sharing encryption for sensitive customer and client information.

Without DMS, small businesses must jump back and forth from software to software, from repository to repository, increasing the likelihood that concentration on the task at hand will be broken: This is where DMS has a profoundly positive psychological impact on productivity, and, therefore, the value of time. However, this ‘jumping back and forth’ from task to task is more likely to impede larger organizations, who are less likely to have cohesive information technology.

What’s more, research in cognitive psychology has revealed that multitasking is only possible in ‘super-taskers,’ who make up less than 1% of the population. Therefore, although most workers in larger organizations may feel like they are multitasking when jumping from software to software or filing cabinet to filing cabinet, 99% of these workers are merely switching back and forth from each of these respective tasks, subtracting from their immersion and productivity in each respective task.

However, DMS bridges the cognitive distance between the multifaceted tasks we face in the workplace by placing nearly all important business functions in one software—maximizing workers’ time and reducing the negative impact of ‘multitasking.’

See how you can go paperless, stand on the shoulders of industry giants against their will, and outperform your larger competitors through document management software today.

James O'Connor Author

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