Document loss fears increasing

Leger Marketing conducted a national poll of SMBs sponsored by Xerox Canada that found 71 per cent of small to mid-size firms are concerned about electronic document loss, but of those that responded 66 per cent have no prevention strategy.

The study also shows businesses spend hours each week searching for hard-copy documents, which is a productivity waster and can have a real impact on a company’s bottom line.

Additionally, almost half of the survey respondents (49 per cent) who do not employ a document management strategy said it was because they felt it was not important to their business or customers.

On average, Canadian SMB owners and managers say it takes employees more than one-hour per week to find hard-copy documents, at a cost of $2,152 per year to manage and store them. For businesses with more than 10 employees, the time spent searching for documents increases to almost two hours per week, and the cost of storing documents more than doubles to $5,760 per year.

Rod Turgeon, vice-president, Xerox Global Services, Xerox Canada said that in addition to preventing document loss, there are many tangible benefits effective document management can have on a company. Businesses of all sizes can save time and money, reduce errors, and improve their work environment by simplifying the method of finding and handling documents. The key is to plan, implement, and enforce a document management strategy from day one, so it can grow as the business grows, he said.

The survey also suggests that the younger the business, the more likely it is to embrace technology. Businesses of five years or younger are more likely to store the majority of documents electronically (37 per cent), compared with businesses older than 15 years (29 per cent). Newer businesses are also more familiar with document management (67 per cent, compared with 63 per cent for more established companies), and are less concerned about electronic data loss than older businesses (68 per cent versus 76 per cent).

Additional findings:

Three-quarters of business owners and managers say it is easier to find electronic documents than hard-copy documents (75 per cent).More than half (54 per cent) of Canadian business owners and managers are concerned about losing hard-copy documents, but considerably more (71 per cent) are afraid of misplacing electronically stored documents.Costs are a barrier to adopting document management. One-in-seven businesses (14 per cent) that do not use document management cite up-front or maintenance costs as the reason.

Only one-fifth of Canadian SMBs (23 per cent) are likely to invest in document management upgrades within the next 12 months.Three per cent of businesses spend more than 10 hours every week looking for hard-copy documents, and another 18 per cent cannot guess how many hours they take out of the work-week to search for documents.

The majority of SMBs that have employed a document management solution do it in-house (89 per cent).

Leger Marketing is the sole Canadian representative of the Gallup International Association. The survey was conducted between July 19 and August 2, with a representative sample of 331 small and medium-sized business owners or managers the survey is considered accurate within 5.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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