Document management comes with a significant cost in time and effort for the modern enterprise. Digitized document management, on the other hand, addresses these challenges, saving both time and money for organizations of almost any size. 

However, understanding that on an intellectual level does not always lead to organization-wide buy-in for a digital transformation initiative for your document management systems. The reality is that, if you want to get your C-suite to invest in a digitization strategy, you have to sell them on the idea. Here's how.


Do Your Homework

As any good sales person will tell you, the first step in sales is to know your audience and figure out what is important to them. In your organization, identify the key stakeholders for a digitized document management system. Who would use it every day? Who would need to be most familiar with its ins and outs? Interview those key stakeholders and learn about what they need and want in a document management system. What key aspects of a digitized document management system would make their jobs easier, faster, and less costly for the organization?

After you've talked with the people who will be using the system most, talk with individual C-suite members to find out what barriers they have encountered to adopting a digital approach in the past, where they see the organization heading in the future, and how they perceive the concept of digital transformation as a business imperative. Are they concerned about lost productivity among employees? Does COVID-19 and an increasingly remote team have them worried about the speed and cost of paper-information sharing? If so, you have a few easy 'ins’ already for discussion of digital data management's many benefits.


Have Demonstrable Key Benefits at the Ready

When discussing a significant business spend, C-suite members worth their salt will want to talk benefits and return on investment. Be ready to discuss key benefits with confidence, illustrating each benefit with a use case that is specific to your particular industry and organization. Explain how the organization should calculate ROI and have sound reasoning to back up your proposed strategy. Run simulated scenarios with projected ROI, and be sure your projections are realistic. 

"If your company is considering business document management software, let the numbers guide you," PCMag senior analyst Juan Martinez writes in a piece for the outlet. "Rest assured, these tools will ultimately save more money than they cost."

Crunch some of those numbers. Does your company spend money each month on file storage, in units or even warehouses? Learn how much. Interview employees and ask approximately how much time they spend each week searching for information, be it on paper or in various, disbursed electronic filing systems. (As a frame of reference, the average office worker spends about 20% of their work week on the hunt for information, according to a McKinsey & Company report.) The total numbers here, both in storage fees and hours spent searching, may stun members of the C-suite, making them see dollar signs (and not in a good way).


Show that Costs and Risks Have Been Considered and Addressed

When you're making the case for document digitization, you'll certainly be asked about the potential challenges that could come with adoption. You will know from your stakeholder interviews what the top echelon of the organization fears most about digitization. Do your research and learn how a digitized document management system works so that you can allay these concerns. 

Is your chief operating officer worried about security? Assure them the organization's data will be far more secure in digital form than on paper. Ripcord's Canopy, for example, stores each client's data in its own, secure, cloud-based instance.  Our data center is encrypted, and document access control means administrators can determine what information each credentialed user can see, edit, and share.

Perhaps your chief financial officer is concerned with the price tag of a digital document management system. Compare the costs of paper document storage, employee hours spent filing, searching, retrieving, copying, and refiling paper documentation with the cost of digitizing documents. Research case studies from companies that have gone paperless and share their results with the C-suite.  Don't forget to factor in the cost of missed opportunities resulting from the loss of data trapped in unsearchable paper documentation. Emphasize the possibilities inherent in the data that your organization already owns, but that is stored away in dusty warehouses rather than providing the insights the C-suite needs to make the kind of decisions that will propel your organization forward.


The Bottom Line

There's power in data, and there's data trapped in your paper documents. Digitizing your document management system unleashes that power and provides your organization with the insight it needs to make better business decisions. 

It all starts with the decision to digitize. Make the case to the C-suite and unleash the power of your data today.