How IoT Improves Digital Document Capture and Workflows

Document management systems (DMS) increase productivity, reduce paper-based processes, and create holistic document ecosystems. But how do document management systems work with emerging technology like the Internet of Things (IoT)? On the surface, these two digital systems seem disparate. However, the link between a DMS and IoT isn't only strong: it's game-changing.

Are you wondering how your business can leverage IoT to maximize workflows? Want to know how IoT feeds into document management? Let's look at the helpful intersection between IoT and DMS.

What is IoT?

Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the millions of devices that are now connected to the internet. From thermostats to toothbrushes and light bulbs, our entire world is quickly becoming integrated with digital technology. By 2027, there will be over 40 billion of these "IoT" devices connected to the internet. But the power of IoT goes far beyond smart homes and consumer-side technology; IoT is dramatically changing the way we do business.

IoT is a digital transformation accelerator. It connects people, systems, processes, and "things" to each other — allowing free data flow and shared analysis. Powered by sensors, IoT connects objects to your network. Once connected, data feeds into your lakes, Cloud, and systems to provide automation potential for virtually anything. Want to know how a machine, person, or system is performing? IoT sends real-time data into your analytics software, painting a crystal-clear picture of performance metrics.

So, why are businesses flocking to IoT-powered devices in droves? Two words: digital transformation.


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IoT can't do a lot with physical objects like paper. But once paper is scanned to a digital format, IoT can connect that file to a bunch of different outputs. Those outputs make life easier and more organized for the people who access them. IoT also points out areas that could use more attention—flaws in a system become easier to see. Fixed flaws lead to efficiencies—which leads to savings. According to McKinsey, companies will see up to $11 trillion in total economic impact due to IoT by 2025.

The Unique Relationship of IoT, Machine Learning, and Document Management Systems

IoT is an expansive technology. There are obvious "simple" use-cases for IoT with a DMS. Attaching sensors to high-speed Canon scanners allows each scanner to be measured, monitored, and analyzed to create systematic digital workflows. For example, your business could use scanner data to uncover truths about scanning time consumption, productivity, and use — giving you insights into scanner requirements, workflow positioning, and maintenance needs. Is it better to scan in-house, or outsource scanning? IoT measures that.

When you dive deeper, IoT has massive implications for digital documents when combined with machine learning. Already, machine learning can pinpoint workflow needs using predictive analytics and modeling.

One benefit of document management is that digital documents save storage space and reduce clutter. But the tangible value of document management systems is how they help employees find information faster and automate repetitive processes. Machine learning adds flavor to those capabilities. Machine learning consistently grows "smarter," recognizing document patterns that feed back into your digital workflows.

IoT adds another layer to that experience. By connecting scanners and systems to your existing database and analytics systems, you can maximize incoming data streams, helping you make faster, smarter, and more impactful digital workflows. It's important to think of IoT as supplemental. Your existing DMS digitizes documents, automates workflows, and provides valuable insights into your overall information architecture. IoT acts as a tandem technology that maximizes this process, especially when used on the physical components of the system (e.g., scanners).

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How IoT, Machine Learning, and a DMS Can Help Your Business Save Time, Money, and Headaches

A DMS includes both physical and digital solutions (digitizing documents and automating workflows). Machine learning is a supplemental technology that impacts the digital side of a DMS. And IoT is a supplemental technology that impacts the physical side of a DMS. Let's explore how these three distinct (yet related) technologies create automated workflows that enable business decisions.

  • Increased visibility: Document management systems digitize, store, and organize documents to support digital transformation. By digitizing documents, all of your systems access rich data, and your employees can quickly search for information—instead of searching for documents. IoT adds additional visibility by connecting your physical components, like scanners, to that data feed. This allows you to understand scanning needs, maintenance needs, and scanning speeds to help you maximize the overall flow of your DMS system.
  • Reduced touchpoints: Document management systems reduce touchpoints by eliminating physical paper. Machine learning adds additional value to this process by rapidly analyzing patterns to create more efficient workflows. IoT gives businesses the power to leverage incoming data from physical equipment that feeds into those workflows.
  • Establishing an information-forward culture: Information is more important than documents. The power of Document Management Software lies in its ability to deliver data, not just documents. You can use this data in tandem with IoT or machine learning to maximize workflow outputs.
  • Security: Document management systems recognize confidential documents and assign higher security levels via machine learning. IoT sensors feed data to mobile devices through security protocols and secure logins. Over time, this builds a heightened security posture that reduces your threat landscape. Obviously, if you're switching from paper documents, you'll get enhanced security by simply digitizing all of those documents and putting them in a secure Cloud.

Are You Ready to Embrace the Paperless Revolution?

IoT has a place in your tech stack. But the primary value lever for digitization is your DMS. Together, they create fantastic, streamlined digital workflows that empower your employees. At DRS Imaging, we offer robust, secure, cloud-based document management solutions to businesses looking for digital transformation. We also provide scanning services and BPO services to tackle that backlog of paper documents. Want to learn more about our solutions? Contact us.