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Digital document management software can unlock a wide range of advanced functions for law enforcement agencies. We tend to talk a great deal about these possibilities because we understand that officers of the law face major challenges that require real-world solutions. As such, we can easily get caught up in how document management software can, for example, improve training by making it easier to create and distribute engaging content.

Sometimes, however, we can focus so much on some of these nuanced capabilities that we don’t pause to discuss the core benefits that you will get from digital document management, regardless of how you choose to use the software. As we all try to grapple with the complexities and busy-ness of the holiday season, let’s pause for a moment and simplify. Here are three of the most basic, essential things law enforcement agencies get when they overhaul their document management strategies through digital software platforms:

1. Speed
Instant gratification is a tempting fruit. Immediate access to documents, files, records, training materials and policy guidelines makes it much easier for your workers to stay on top of expectations. Ask an officer to come in off the street, stop at a desk, read through a packet of papers, sign it and manually turn it into a clerk can be met with disgruntled mumbling. Asking that same worker to open a Web app on a smartphone, read the document digitally and sign it electronically will get you faster results.

You can expect speed in creating, distributing and managing documents when you go digital.

2. Simplicity
If you need to update a policy, what does that process look like right now. You probably need to:

  • Track down the official copy of the policy.
  • Make any edits manually.
  • Pass the edited document to other stakeholders and have them add in their feedback.
  • Eventually collect it again.
  • Make sense of all the marks and apply edits.
  • Redistribute the paper document for final approval.
  • Print and distribute the new policy to every affected employee.
  • Update the paper version of your handbook.
  • Make sure any existing files containing the policy are updated.

Now imagine you are trying to make the same change digitally:

  • Upload the file into your document management system.
  • Make edits through track changes.
  • Alert stakeholders that the document has been edited.
  • View their feedback through real-time alerts.
  • Accept changes and alert editors that the final version is ready.
  • Alert users of the new policy and ask them to read it and sign off electronically.

The software takes care of all of the distribution work – you don’t have to print, copy and scan any longer. It also automates many complex tasks, simplifying the entire process.

3. Cost efficiency
Paper, ink, toner, copy machines, scanners and work time spent on clerical work all add up to create incredible costs. Limiting these expenses through fast, simple digital processes delivers a significant return and makes software a solid value creation tool.

This cost benefit may have been limited with premise-based software platforms, but Web apps are changing the game here, letting you access powerful tools in a package that even small agencies can afford.

Even simple technological gains can be powerful in law enforcement, and digital document management can pay off in diverse ways.