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  • Writer's pictureJack Arnston

Baby, It's Cold Outside: Creating Peace of Mind for the Winter and Your Documents

The temperature on my car dashboard this morning read -8 degrees. Add to that wind gusts of 10 mph and the WeatherBug App on my phone tells me the real feel is closer to -18. Baby, it’s cold outside. It’s on days like this that you need to plan ahead in the rare case that your vehicle breaks down or you have an accident. An extra blanket in the trunk, check. Boots and hat tucked in as well, check. A set of coveralls, a couple energy bars and a full tank of gas, check, check and check. I hope that I never need to use any of these items, but there is some peace of mind knowing that they are there for me.

When my kids were younger they would ask for a ride to a friend’s house, or an indoor soccer game or some other destination. On days like today they would jump in the car without a hat or gloves and wearing shoes more appropriate for a warm spring day. When I inquired about where their items were, they said they did not need them because they would only be in the warm car or building. My response was always, what would happen if we have car trouble? To that they knew they only had one option, which was to go back into the house and retrieve the required articles before we could leave. Now we never had any car problems, but there was a certain peace of mind knowing that if we did, they had some protection.

The same thing should hold true for the documents within your company. Properly saving your documents in a digital format allows you to easily create a duplicate copy, and limit access to only those people who need access to these files. This also provides you a tool for managing the retention of your documents while securing sensitive information and maintaining HIPAA compliance. More importantly, it gives you peace of mind.

Years ago, I worked with an insurance company that stored all of their policy files on microfiche. They had millions of images saved hundreds of thousands of microfilm “jackets”. These jackets were stored in specially designed drawers that were removed from their cabinets and positioned on rows and rows of folding tables. They did this because they accessed their files so frequently, that they would have lines of people waiting to access the cabinets. By spreading out the drawers, multiple people could access the drawers from the same cabinet at the same time.

As we began to investigate a new technology called document imaging, the company was intrigued by the ability to store all of these images on optical platters loaded in a jukebox that would allow for incredibly fast retrievals of about ten seconds, right from their desktop. As we developed the system on paper, and determined an overall cost, we also began to build a Return On Investment (ROI) so as to justify the expense associated with the new system.

What stood out to me more than anything, however, was the emotional investment that the vice president had in the decision. He would tell anyone who would listen about a reoccurring nightmare that he had. It involved the building catching fire in the middle of the night. He would be awakened from his sleep by the fire department, quickly drive over to the building, run inside to save the microfilm, while still wearing his pajamas and slippers. That is quite a nightmare.

What the VP was really looking for was peace of mind. He no longer wanted to worry about what the consequences would be should something happen to their policy files.

Now you may not share the same nightmares that this VP had, but if you are losing sleep over the accessibility and security of your information there is some peace of mind for you in the way of a document management system. Many systems are affordable and can be deployed quickly. Creating a sustainable ROI and peace of mind.

One other observation. Although it is miserably cold outside, it is sunny and clear. The type of winter day when you can see for miles and the blue sky contrasts the white snow on the ground. As I sit in my warm office, and look out the window, I can’t help but enjoy the day with the peace of mind in knowing that I planned for all of this.

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