The advantages of digitizing documents and storing them in a cloud environment extend far beyond security and disaster recovery benefits. It's true that a cloud-based central repository can protect important documents like contracts, but the cloud can also assist businesses with achieving their ultimate goal—turning a profit.
Converting physical documents into digital files stored in the cloud can deliver a strong return on investment because doing so can cut down on the cost of finding and managing physical storage space. Real estate is at a premium, and businesses only have so much office space to work with. Allocating a substantial portion of your facility to the storage of physical documents may prove to be too expensive, particularly in an uncertain economic climate where smart spending is vital.
Papers and folders are also far more vulnerable than their digital counterparts. They are at a greater risk for being lost or damaged, and the efforts to find or replace them can be costly. Meanwhile, when documents such as contracts are stored in a virtual environment, they are both safer and easier to locate. This is especially true for documents placed in a Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) system with tools designed to help you find what you are looking for quickly and easily, thus saving on man hours.
Cost Savings and Increased Profits
It's no surprise then that more businesses are migrating to the cloud and reaping the financial benefits. In fact, businesses in both the United States and the United Kingdom are taking advantage of the cloud's functionality by moving their documents to that environment. A study conducted by the IT hosting company Rackspace, in conjunction with the Manchester Business School and Vanson Bourne, found that 88 percent of cloud users could point to infrastructure cost savings and 56 percent have actually increased profits since making the move.
"The findings were pretty telling in terms of the adoption of cloud computing and the benefits of cloud computing," said John Engates, CTO of Rackspace Hosting. "The bottom line is cloud saves companies money and increases their profits."
Improved Search and Collaboration
Profits can be increased through enhanced efficiency and greater productivity. For example, suppose three people needed to access a particular section of a contract. If all three had to rely on one physical document, it would take much longer to locate the information than it would if they had access to the same digitized document in the cloud. In this environment, not only can all three access the information they need at the same time, they can do so from anywhere and at any time, provided they had a tool to access the cloud network.
Another example, enabled by some CLM solutions, provides the ability to find terms, data and language inside of contractual documents across datasets that can exceed tens or hundreds of thousands of documents. Finding this information in a non-cloud, non internal document searchable, CLM-enabled environment can take weeks or months, and you may never know whether you found all of the instances of the information you sought.
These methods are far more efficient and can allow businesses to achieve a higher level of productivity and profitability.
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