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More than half of the UK organisations surveyed for the 'Effective Data protection - reality and risks' research report are unaware of the business benefits of document management systems (DMS).

The independent survey, which was commissioned by the market leader in multi-function printer (MFP) document imaging software, eCopy, Inc., questioned over 100 senior executives, operational and administrative staff from the public, private and voluntary sectors. It was designed to establish how organisations manage their data, including its reproduction, storage and disposal.

Although just over one in four (42%) respondents stated their organisations already use a DMS, surprisingly only a third of the total sample say they are very or quite familiar with them, highlighting that the vast majority are either unaware of or are not realising the business benefits of the system.

Simon Hill, Sales Director for UK and Ireland at eCopy, comments: "The use of document management and document imaging solutions not only increase productivity by improving business processes and introducing business critical information into an electronic workflow, but also help to meet increasingly tough regulatory and compliance rules, enforcing processes and creating an effective audit trail. DMS also provide significant return on investment by enabling electronic capture and distribution of data that would otherwise be locked into paper documentation, with seamless integration into existing business applications. The need for onsite physical storage space can also be reduced."

In terms of document storage, despite three quarters of organisations (75%) using electronic data storage to hold copies of original documents, a massive 85% are still using traditional filing cabinets instead of, or in addition to electronic data storage.

Hill continues: "Although it is understandable that organisations store original documents for legal reasons, the large number of respondents who say they are using traditional filing cabinets to store paper duplicates of original documents should be of concern, particularly in the midst of a recession. Using filing cabinets for this reason takes up costly floor space that can be easily replaced by electronic storage, saving space and money and allowing relevant staff members to access them quickly and efficiently when needed."

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