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5 ways cloud content management can give you a competitive edge

by Mark Stewart
 
When employees who are located in various departments access and share content without a centralized document management system, data redundancies and disorganized files are the inevitable result. This can lead to information bottlenecks, increased data security risks and higher costs.

IT departments also feel the burden when managing content onsite — spending a significant amount of time fielding help desk calls and maintaining local servers. It's difficult to stay competitive when these types of inefficiencies interrupt workflows and tie up funds that could otherwise be used for more strategic business initiatives.

Here are five ways you can overcome these challenges and get a competitive edge by moving your content management system to the cloud.
 
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1. Freeing up funds for strategic initiatives with low-cost document management

Reducing the need to store data in on-premise servers or a local data center is one of the most beneficial gains when it comes to migrating content to the cloud — giving you the ability to save money on capital expenses and real estate by removing or eliminating data servers.

A cloud solution also costs much less than an on-premise solution because you don't have to deal with hardware, operations and software maintenance — making entry into this technology a smart option for businesses of all sizes. And, there's no need to worry about updating your system, monitoring your data servers or upgrading the application. The cloud vendor is responsible for these hardware and maintenance costs — enabling you to reallocate funds for other business objectives.

When seeking a cloud content management solution, your best bet is to look for software as a service (SaaS) that's set up with a pay-as-you go, monthly subscription fee. Make sure your solution automatically upgrades software and security patches in the background to help minimize disruptions to employee workflows. After all, employee time is an expensive asset, and you want a content management system that helps to keep your team highly productive.
 
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2. Enhancing productivity and collaboration with more convenient data access

Without the ability to upload and view documents from smartphones, laptops and tablets, information processes can slow down when employees are in transit or working in remote areas. By empowering your employees to share ideas and get work done from anywhere at any time with convenient cloud access, you can minimize lost productivity that results from information lags, and see a big increase in innovation and productivity.
 
With a cloud solution, all services are readily available for you to use via a web browser. Consider the simplicity and efficiency of the following scenario:

  • An employee at your corporate office creates a Word document and then checks it into your cloud content repository.
  • A remote employee logs into the content platform online via an easy-to-use URL, reviews the document, and makes changes or provides feedback without altering the original document.
  • The corporate employee is automatically notified that it's available, and other employees across the globe can also review and edit the information.
When you have paper documents located in file cabinets throughout your organization, sharing this information with employees in other offices can be difficult and time-consuming. A good cloud content management solution will enable your team to digitize these documents by scanning them directly into your content management account from multifunction printers (MFPs) or other devices. Then employees can access, share and collaborate on these documents by logging into the system — just as they can with any other digital document located in your content management platform.
 

3. Improving continuity in business with disaster recovery and data security

Without a centralized content management system, companies often find that similar documents are located in various files created by different employees. This leads to data redundancies that make it difficult to find accurate information when it's needed. When you move your content to the cloud, you help to ensure that the same information is used across all departments. And, with detailed activity reporting, you can track user workflows to provide more data accountability and clearer audit trails — making it easier to:

  • Stay compliant with your industry's regulatory agencies.
  • Improve the eDiscovery process for your legal department.
  • Reduce errors in contracts, tax forms and other important documents.

When it comes to continuity in business, you want to keep data availability consistent and continuous, even under the direst of circumstances. Having your information backed up off-site in multiple locations is a must for disaster recovery, security and data-loss mitigation. On the other hand, an on-premise system requires your IT staff to implement regular backups and create a robust recovery strategy. Fortunately, the cloud can provide the disaster recovery you need without the burden on IT — helping you to keep work and ideas moving by minimizing disruptions to workflows.

 

4. Seamlessly integrating information processes with your business applications

Since one of the main points of a cloud content management system is to centralize data and documents to avoid issues that come with siloed information processes, you'll want your IT department to weigh in on your solution's integration capabilities. In the past, workflow and document management software could only be integrated with existing applications when deployed on-site. With cloud technology, that's no longer the case. Now you can connect multiple applications that are located in separate environments.
RICOH Content Manager is an affordable and intuitive cloud document management solution that makes sharing ideas and information throughout your organization easy and efficient. By centralizing your content and automating data processes, we can help your team work smarter and more productively while enhancing data security. Our low-cost monthly subscription fee also enables you to scale up to meet new business growth without breaking your budget.
 

5. Enabling new business growth with low maintenance and scalable content management

Managing content on-site keeps your IT staff busy with time-consuming tasks that are counterproductive to pursuing innovative business strategies, such as:

  • Taking help-desk calls related to data storage issues
  • Maintaining data servers and hardware
  • Dealing with system disruptions during software updates

Finding a solution that lets you render in-house document management virtually non-existent by eliminating most or all of your on-premise data servers would be a huge win for IT. Since IT is critical to driving strategic business initiatives and innovations that can lead to business growth, finding a cloud solution that can help you reach this goal should be a top priority.

Make sure that finding a solution with no upfront costs and low monthly payments is just the beginning of your potential savings. You'll also want to consider how future business growth will affect your service costs. If your solution allows you to add new users and storage with a simple increase in subscription fees based on a per-user basis — without delays — you'll be in good shape.

 
 
Mark Stewart
Mark Stewart, Advanced Services Strategy Senior Manager at Ricoh USA, Inc., is responsible for strategy development surrounding content services — including Enterprise Content Management & Workflow Services, Advanced Document Capture Services and Web Content Management Services. Mark also drives strategy for our go-to-market approach within the U.S. and helps to support key client partnerships. Mark has held a variety of leadership and engineering positions throughout his 13-plus years at Ricoh.