If your organization’s digital transformation efforts are just barely getting started, you’re not alone.  A whopping 79% of organizations say they’re still in the early stages of their digital and technology transformation journey.

The process of transitioning to digital-first has long been a challenge, and many organizations struggle with the end of the information lifecycle. This can be due to several issues, such as lack of staff and resources allocated to the transition, resistance from team members or customers who are used to traditional methods, difficulty understanding new technologies, cost, and complexity associated with implementing new systems and processes, or unclear strategies for managing data once it is digitized.

Solving this requires outside-the-box thinking.

At the tail end of the information lifecycle, most organizations opt for physical storage or digital archiving of their files. In this article, we’ll review them both from a cost and security standpoint, as well as discuss a potential middle ground between the two for active files.

The Last Mile in Digital Transformation

The vast amount of information and types of records being ingested into the information management lifecycle presents a challenge that organizations of all sizes are dealing with. More and more content that needs to be managed is now born digitally, including user-generated content such as emails and internal communications on platforms like Microsoft Teams.

At the same time, there is still an influx of physical records that must be managed throughout their entire lifecycle— from scanning, to indexing, to storage. Not all legacy paper documents are needed for daily operations, but it might be necessary to keep them due to legal requirements or other regulatory specifications.

We’re only at the beginning stages of this problem, and companies today are actively searching for solutions. Finding a secure and cost-effective way to manage both physical and digital content has been a challenge since the rise of digital technologies. Complicating matters, the rate of digital content creation has increased exponentially over the last decade due to global regulations on data privacy and compliance.

As such, organizations have had to update their strategies for information governance to ensure their data remains accessible and secure across multiple platforms. This usually leaves them with two choices.

To Store or Archive?

Deciding whether to keep records in a physical format or convert them over to digital can be tricky. There are costs, risks, and benefits for both options that must be weighed carefully.

Digital archiving offers several key advantages, including cost savings, scalability, and the ability to access records from any device with an internet connection. However, there are also some notable drawbacks such as potential security vulnerabilities, difficulty accessing data if technology fails, or the potential for data corruption and loss.

Physical storage offers greater control over who has access to documents and allows for more reliable long-term preservation of fragile items such as historical records. However, onsite physical storage comes with its own set of challenges. It can be more expensive than digital archiving and can take up space that could otherwise be used for revenue-generating activities.

The trouble comes when deciding between keeping a record in offsite storage or digitizing it. Scanning everything shouldn’t be an option as it can be time-consuming, cost-prohibitive, and result in creating more files than necessary, exacerbating information governance issues.

The Third Option: Active File Service

When scanning every piece of paper isn’t an option and keeping active files in a physical format isn’t viable either, there is a third option.

That’s where Access Unify™ | Active File Service comes in.

Services like Active File Service can help by giving you an alternative to physical document management or a costly conversion services project.

Active file management ensures that your most active documents can be immediately and securely accessed by anyone granted permission within four hours of being requested. This way, you’re not scanning anything without a purpose, and once it has been digitally archived and made accessible, the physical version can be securely dispositioned.

Closing Thoughts

As the way we work continues to evolve, how we manage information needs to as well. Digital transformation is far from a one-off project— it’s an ongoing process that requires attention to detail regarding document retention, governance, and security.

By using an active file management service like Access Unify™, you can reduce friction across the information lifecycle – from digitization to access management –  ensuring your organization can accomplish its day-to-day activities while keeping pace with its digital transformation goals.

For more information about Access Unify™ | Active File Service, talk to one of our information management specialists today.

Start Your Access Unify™ Journey Today!