For almost a quarter of a century, React Computer Partnership in Woodbridge, Suffolk, has acted as the right-hand man for small to medium sized companies in need of an IT department.

Specialising in the supply, installation and support of business IT systems the family behind React, The Pledgers, were last year crowned ‘Family Business of the Year’ at The East of England FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards.

One of the most common matters React has helped clients with, certainly this summer, is document management.  Every day businesses carry out day-to-day tasks the way they’ve always done them and rely on legacy systems without a second thought.  It’s only when something changes or a problem arises that we stop to analyse.   React Computer Partnership Director Francis Pledger says, “it’s then that you discover there are better ways of doing things: there are solutions to things that have started to become a problem.”

As staff have moved to home-working, businesses have had to consider who has access to documents and how employees can access them from anywhere.  Francis said “if they take the physical documents, no-one else can use them or see any changes made and basically the business loses control of those documents.  Then there’s the whole question of security and data protection that simply putting them in Dropbox or on your hard drive doesn’t address.  Are the documents being backed up properly? Are the correct security settings in place so that people who shouldn’t see them don’t?”

Francis recommends using a cloud storage system.  This means all nominated staff have access safely and securely and allows for collaborative working whether team members are in the same building or miles apart.  “You tend to find the larger an organisation becomes the more people they have working on a project,” he said “this way sharing documents is straightforward and everybody can see what’s been done and keep abreast of developments.”

A cloud-based system also provides a much swifter and more efficient means of doing all those incidental but time-consuming jobs that could so easily clutter up a day.  Managers can spend an inordinate amount of time on tasks that can be done electronically like holiday requests or expenses.  Francis explains, “if the right IT solution is adopted there is no need for offices to still have all these bits of paper flying around, it can all be done electronically.”  A cloud-based system can easily automate processes like these.  “If someone wants to book a holiday, ideally they should be able to simply go on a website, click on a calendar and submit their request. An email goes to their boss, who approves it and they get a reply back – easy! It’s a couple of minutes work at one end and a minute at the other.”  Many such tasks could be automated, collectively saving a significant amount of time over the working week.

When having conversations with clients about their current processes around document management, they would often begin, “I don’t know why, but …” explains Francis “until that dialogue was initiated though, we couldn’t start to work on solutions.  Ultimately, when working with clients we want to understand what the problems with their current systems are so we can provide answers to their questions and suggest appropriate solutions”.

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