The Official PaperTracer Blog

Keeping you updated with Contract and Document Management Processes

Top 5 Chosen Features that Provide the Most Beneficial Impact to the Efficiency of Your Workflow Process

Top 5 features chosen by PaperTracer users that bring the most support and value to the workflow process.
Top 5 Chosen Features of PaperTracer

Outcomes are not always predictable, but ensuring your workflow process is efficient increases the probability of a positive outcome to advance your business. These are the top 5 features as chosen by PaperTracer users that bring the most support and value to the workflow process.

#1 – File Management

Even after switching to electronic files, finding a secure, straightforward way to manage and maintain them can be cumbersome and overwhelming. PaperTracer users agree that features like being able to drag and drop or email files, automatically scan documents to .pdf, as well as the means for electronic signature and OCR were most beneficial for streamlining and supporting their workflow process. In addition, having the ability to apply security limits on files and folders ensures that prying eyes aren’t able to access restricted content.

#2 – Record Management

PaperTracer provides the ability to securely manage records in one location. Users are able to add, edit, delete, and archive, as well as search for records. Customizable multi-level fields grant users various ways to quickly enter information (ie. name, dates, checkboxes, yes/no, etc.) and contribute to quick searches as well as assisting in creating accurate reports. Global fields extend multi-level fields to allow for selecting entities system-wide, such as a global address book of people. Recurring entries, import/export, input forms, and email updates bring the added benefits of increased productivity and allow users to seamlessly collaborate.

#3 – Report Generation

The needs to evaluate progress as well as answer audits and other requests are easily addressed with PaperTracer’s robust customizable reporting feature. Tailored layouts and the ability to schedule reports keep you on task with the bonus of flexible export options through the pdf, xls, jpg, csv and tiff file formats.

#4 – Department Management

PaperTracer allows multiple users with differing purposes to locate and access documents in one secure location. The benefit of multiple departments (also known as workflows or templates) with a record structure tailored to their needs compliments the ability to use an automated notification system with customizable e-mail templates for routing and review.

#5 – Secure User Access Management

PaperTracer’s multi-level security controls access internally at document, user, group or record level. Audit logs and an inventory of user access also allow documents and contracts to be monitored. In addition to the normal users of the system, external users may also be granted limited and secure access with the same monitoring capabilities.

Visit www.PaperTracer.com to see how PaperTracer can improve your contract management with its features and capabilities. Demo and Free Trial available upon request.

Turn Areas of Inefficiency to Productivity with Contract Document Management Software

Three common tasks that when better managed, increase productivity. They are quickly accessing relevant information, collaborating on information, and analyzing information.

Today’s society is constantly on a quest for “more.” More time, more money, more work… More, more, more! Getting more and doing more with your business is achievable when you have a plan and follow through. “Obviously! But where do I start?”

The overall consensus of many searches on productivity is if you enjoy what you are doing, take breaks, develop a working rhythm, prioritize, and you will be more productive. However, frequently the problem is not personal tasks that hold back productivity, but rather tasks that are viewed necessary to complete a job . Three common tasks that when better managed, increase productivity. They are quickly accessing relevant information, collaborating on information, and analyzing information.

Areas of Inefficiency

Access to Relevant Information

The problems of misplaced documents, locating documents, and locating information within documents are universal. Paper documents are often buried, never found, and can take hours to read to find information. Even electronic documents can problematically be misfiled, deleted, or difficult to locate. A tunnel vision view of one way to handle documents and information wastes time and money.

Collaboration on Information

Even with the best management plan in place and every document available for your immediate use productivity can still be hindered by the need to quickly share, amend, discuss, and sign off on documents because of the time wasted on travel, delivery of documents, and the wait for a pen to paper signature. Furthermore the risks of no versioning leads to confusion, losing documents, or information falling into the wrong hands greatly increase with this vulnerable approach to document management.

Analyzing Information

Searching and compiling data can take hours upon hours of research. Not counting the hours spent analyzing what the data means. Oversights and incorrect information combined with the possibility of having to start all over make this daunting task seem unmanageable without days and weeks of work. Add to that the time it takes for information to be gathered manually, efficiently, and correctly for an audit or a survey and stress levels mount even more because of the increased probability of mistakes.

The Productive Solution

Every day the complications associated with the tasks above zap productivity. A reliable means to combat wasted time, security risks, and inefficiencies analyzing data as well as to increase and maintain productivity is Contract Document Management Software.

Efficiently Accessing and Collaborating on Relevant Information

Businesses can increase efficiency by delegating work to contract document management software. Locating and sharing documents from one central location allows businesses time to invest into more profitable activities.

Locating people or coordinating a convenient time to meet is optional because documents can be securely shared in seconds internally by different departments as well as externally with partners and clients. Knowing the correct information has reached the next level of approval or final destination allows for a continuous workflow instead of halting to a standstill.

In addition, the wait to review, amend, and collaborate becomes nonexistent as specific documents or documents with specific language are located with a few key strokes and amended with tracked changes, while the latest version is clearly notated. Modifications, deletions, and amendments to agreements are no longer needles in a hay stack because tracking and redlining inform users of any changes, thus allowing quicker adjustments and approvals that lead to an amicable agreement.

E-signature continues a steady workflow by removing the need to have a pen to paper signature and allows for seamless agreements and approvals.

Efficiently Analyzing Information

Oversights and the extra work they create, as well as the monetary losses businesses could sustain are greatly reduced by notifications. Users benefit from these reminders of upcoming terminations, extensions, or other items that may need to be specifically addressed by a certain date.

Days of research are compiled into minutes with the ability to select specific criteria and generate a report. Data that has been input over time can quickly and efficiently be gathered by reports along with information for audits and surveys to help maintain documents and contracts and guard against oversights.

Conclusion

The documents and information that business interests or decisions are hinged on are central to each business’s success. The capability to search, locate, and report on that information all at once, in one place makes attaining this success easier. The value of contract management software for businesses reveals itself over and over with the noticeable time and money savings it provides.

The Story of Optical Character Recognition

Infographic timeline of Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

Optical Character Recognition has been improving lives & business practices since the early 1900s.

Today businesses take advantage of document management software with Optical Character Recognition (OCR). By enabling quick conversion of scanned documents, OCR saves hours spent manually entering information. A key word search finds clauses, terms, or specific language that can be quickly reproduced, amended, or changed as needed. OCR also enhances your contract management software to offer more efficient searches and trouble free edits of documents.

The timeline below displays OCR’s evolution over the years to fit the changing needs of society as well as the business world.

The Story of Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
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How Version Control plus Redlining Provides Advantages to the Contract Management Lifecyle

What percentage of your contracts are in negotiation at this moment? Depending on the size of your c



What percentage of your contracts are in negotiation at this moment? Depending on the size of your company you may have a lot more than one. While in negotiations contracts may go through several revisions. As revisions pile up oversites and miss-approvals easily happen. Missing a change or overlooking a clause could prove costly because unnecessary work could be generated, funds could be misappropriated, or a cause for legal action created. By doing due diligence and using a contract management software with version control plus redlining you can help to avoid errors, increase productivity, and ensure the desired outcome of your contracts.

Version Control plus Redlining safeguards against mistakes by eliminating the chaos created by a mass of paper contract versions. Versions and changes are more controlled and easier to identify because they are found in one location. A contract management software may use a “check-out” process. This feature helps contract users avoid the confusion of multiple changes being made at the same time, as well as verify who is currently making changes to or reviewing the contract. While checked-out, redlining can occur automatically opening in MS Word. This begins to track/redline any changes that are made to the contract. Once the desired changes have been made the user saves the document and should “check-in” to accept the changes. Version control then identifies the most recent edition with a time stamp that shows the date and time of the most recent changes to the document. Deletions and additions are made obvious by redlining while unimpeded access to previous versions removes the difficulty of reviewing multiple paper versions.

By removing confusion and delay, version control plus redlining increases productivity due to the ability to stay within the current software with all changes in one place. Users have access to all versions of a contract with a few key strokes. The days of searching for the correct version of a paper contract or waiting hours for a new version to arrive for approval are over. “How to Create a Productive, Collaborative “Office” for Your Always-Connected Staff,” an article by Anthony Foy in Fast Company, acknowledges that version control benefits productivity because, “… users’ time is not wasted trying to identify changes or having to worry about whether they’re working off the most up-to-date version.”

Productivity is taken a step further with the added benefit of external users having access to the designated contract. Allowing external users access to electronically stored and edited contracts creates smooth collaboration and prevents delays between parties because everyone has access to the same versions of a contract.

Whether there are a mass of contracts for review or one contract at a time version control plus redlining offers the advantages of easy access and better time management to the contract management life cycle. These advantages allow quicker approvals and yield fluid transitions with more desired outcomes from contract negotiations.

How are you managing your contract management lifecycle? Let us know in the comments below.


Reference:

Fast Company Magazine, “How to Create a Productive, Collaborative “Office” for Your Always-Connected Staff,” Anthony Foy

Articles of Interest:


Cloud Computing Security: Make Your Data More Secure

How valuable is your most valuable asset if it is left unprotected? Understanding what the cloud is and where its vulnerabilities are, the different types of cloud platform, as well as the new legislation U. S. Congress may pass, all contribute to how data is secured in the cloud.

Cloud Computing Security: Make your data more secure


How valuable is your most valuable asset if it is left unprotected?

Today information is easily accessed on the cloud for our convenience. Big businesses, the government, banks, and even some smaller businesses are beginning to take advantage of this. But is the risk too great? Wiki Leaks, Snowden, the Sony hacks, Target’s credit card breach, and countless celebrities being hacked are just a few of the stories that will make you think twice about security on the cloud.

Understanding what the cloud is and where its vulnerabilities are, the different types of cloud platform, as well as the new legislation U. S. Congress may pass, all contribute to how data is secured in the cloud.

What Exactly is the Cloud?

The cloud, though hazy, isn’t floating free up in the air. Cloud computing connects you to your data through remote servers and software networks that allow real time access to information without needing to store processed data. Depending on the classification (public, private, or hybrid) of the cloud, that data is often stored on server farms that are so large they use 2% of the U. S. electricity.

How Vulnerable is the Cloud?

Information is vulnerable in some capacity no matter where you store it. Security breaches whether small or large, frequent or infrequent are still serious matters.

Data breaches will happen. The most common form of data breach happens internally when staff takes or loses data. Taking precautions by limiting staff member access and securing your information with audit trails will help to protect your information from these threats outside of the cloud.

Externally, hacks are attempted every day and according to a new Verizon Data Breach Report 23 percent of phishing email recipients will open it and 11 percent will click the attachment. Human error allows attackers the opening they are looking for to take important information. Leviathan Security recently stated in its whitepaper, Value of Cloud Security: Vulnerability,

“Ultimately . . . companies considering storing their own data, rather than using a cloud-based storage medium, must realize that in addition to the direct costs . . . , they must make a significant and continuous investment in tools, training, and personnel charged with guarding the business’ most significant assets: its knowledge. The defense, like the adversary, must be continuous, growing, and tireless; anything less will not suffice. ”

Human error coupled with the increased persistence and intelligence of hackers make protecting information a never ending battle. Implementing protocols for these scenarios and being aware of the laws regarding cyber-attacks, as well as maintaining up-to-date security practices will help to further secure your data.

How is the Cloud Being Secured?

In dealing with security with services in the cloud, there are three primary service offerings to consider, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).

In IaaS, the infrastructure is sold to the end-user, charged on a regular basis using the factors of time or usage. These are generally bare-bones systems which have an operating system (OS) installed, and remote access. The physical and network security is typically handled by the service provider, alongside maintenance of the underlying hardware. End-users must manage software security and maintenance across the OS and hosted services.

PaaS takes the benefits of the preceding service, and provides a streamlined platform to deploy software packages onto. Contrasting with IaaS, PaaS also maintains and abstracts away the need for software security and maintenance across the OS. However, the end-user still needs to manage software security for the software package to be installed on this service, including in-memory, in-transit, and at-rest data.

SaaS is the easiest to consume and allows end-users to directly go to work and begin interacting with the software they need to work with. Security across hardware, OS, and platform are all maintained by the preceding service providers and companies who configure the solution. The need to maintain the solution and manage backups are all covered and abstracted away from the end-user’s view.

By choosing to outsource IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS companies drastically save time and effort to get up and running as well as for maintaining the systems. This can prove to be invaluable for small businesses as well as very large companies because of the services and conveniences they provide.

Who will be Legally Responsible?

Currently the U. S. government is making plans to work together at all levels with the private sector to come up with a solution for cyber threats. President Obama has signed executive orders and the House and Senate are reviewing legislation to pass new laws.

On February 12, 2015 President Obama signed an executive order that would allow public and private sectors to share information regarding cybersecurity. In his address at Stanford University, he said, “There is only one way to defend America from these cyber threats, and that’s through government and industry working together, sharing appropriate information as true partners.”

The executive order focuses on three key areas: information sharing, privacy, and the adoption of cybersecurity practices. The goal is for the government to work with the private sector to develop a Cybersecurity Framework that will aid organizations in implementing real solutions to reduce cyber threats. The order can be read in its entirety here, Executive Order – Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.

In April the House approved the controversial Protecting Cyber Networks Act that is now waiting to be addressed by the Senate. The Protecting Cyber Networks Act in brief allows the federal government to prepare itself as well as state, local, and tribal governments against cyber-attacks and for responding to cyber-attacks by sharing information and developing procedures based on the analysis of that information. It also requires reviews to safeguard individual privacy and civil liberties as well as upholds the right of any individual to pursue legal action if they feel these rights have been violated by the government.

There are several other bills awaiting congressional approval including Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (S.754) and Cyber Threats Sharing Act (S.456). They both continue to address the need for sharing information to combat against cyber threats and the actions that should be taken to ensure against them.

Take the time to read and learn about the new ground breaking legislations as they are sure to impact the future of storing and protecting data.

Technology continues to grow and change and with it the cloud and its vulnerabilities. To insure that your information remains secure implement precautions like audit trails, maintain your data security, and stay up to date on any new legislation that will impact the cloud and how data is stored and protected.

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Happy Earth Day! Know the Facts for Going Paperless

Businesses can reduce dependency on paper and help keeping our environment clean by implementing a document management software.


“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!” is a common phrase today. At a young age we are taught about natural resources (air, water, trees, etc.) that allow us to survive on Earth. Earth Day reminds us that wasting or taking them for granted hurts everyone and that we are responsible for our planet.

Businesses can make a difference too! By reducing dependency on paper businesses are able to make large contributions to keeping our environment clean for future generations. One way to do this is by implementing a document management software. A document management software will not only save time and money but also help to support a cleaner environment as well.



Facts for Going Paper-Less Earth Day Infographic


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Developing Document Intelligence with Document Management Software

Document management software continues to make improvements and innovations to ease workflows, decrease delays, and reduce confusion. Learn the ways how you can achieve intelligent documents work for you.


document management software document intelligence

Icons made by Freepick, Google and SimpleIcon from www.flaticon.com is licensed by CC BY 3.0

Technology continues to quickly change. With it document management software continues to make improvements and innovations to ease workflows, decrease delays, and reduce confusion by making your documents intelligent.

By implementing a document management software with features like OCR, Reporting, Electronic Signature, and Version Control your documents and information begin to work for you.

How can you achieve intelligent documents?

  • With OCR

    Each document or contract that you create becomes an active entity that will contribute to the success of your business. Though each may vary, certain terms and conditions will more than likely remain the same.

    Don’t waste time recreating something that already exists. A document management software with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) uses a key word search to find clauses, terms, or specific language that can be quickly reproduced, amended, or changed as needed.

    By simply typing your key word(s) into the search cue any document with the specific clause or language is located and can be easily converted to fit your current needs.

    Locating the necessary document(s) or struggling to remember the exact wording of a clause is no longer an issue. OCR outfits your documents with the intelligence to do that for you.

  • With Reporting, Routing, & Notifications

    Time limits, expiration dates, and built in extensions feed the document lifecycle. Unfortunately these can wreak havoc on your business process because they are easily overlooked and forgotten. Document management software allows you to streamline your documents to easily keep track of deadlines with features like notifications and reporting.

    Notifications allow documents to alert you of upcoming expirations, signature requirements, or pending extensions. These reminders allow documents to maintain attention and to safeguard against unexpected costs and being filed away and forgotten.

    Routing allows documents to be quickly approved in the correct order. A link is provided to the specified documents where any necessary items are addressed. Document management software allows you to set up safeguards within routing to keep documents from prematurely progressing. With this setting a document cannot progress to the next level until a routing notification has been addressed by the appropriate authority.

    This significantly decreases the time normally spent searching or tracking down a document because everything is in one place. No steps are skipped and documents intelligently notify you of any necessary maintenance.

    Coupling notifications and routing with reporting ensures important documents remain at the forefront of your task list. Why waste time searching through piles of paper and overloaded file cabinets?

    Reports can be created and saved with selected criteria to easily find, edit, and share documents. They locate the necessary documents to be viewed, amended, and quickly sent for approval. You no longer risk over-sites that lead to unanticipated costs because reports, routing, and notifications assure that documents receive the necessary attention.

  • With Electronic Signature

    Don’t waste time, money, manpower, and paper to get a signature. A document management software with electronic signature allows documents to travel for you.

    You no longer risk losing documents in transit or while waiting for approval because clients receive documents anywhere in minutes. Signing electronically requires a link with a password allowing documents to be signed securely and legally to be returned in minutes.

    Electronic signature allows your documents to be maintained when physically being there isn’t an option.

  • With Version Control and Redlining

    Many times updates and changes make keeping up with the latest version of a document difficult. By implementing a document management software that features version control and red lining documents are able to display the latest changes and version.

    The most recent version of a document is made obvious with the time stamps created by version control. Any changes that have been made with that version are made obvious by redlining. This makes rereading or looking up the last document unnecessary because everything stays in plain view. As a result documents are able to be amended and approved in a timely manner.

    The risk of forgetting or misplacing a document increases day to day. Increasing your document intelligence will allow you to take control of priorities, better manage workflows, and decrease daily risks. Supporting your business with a document management software’s features continually adds value for improving your business process by letting your documents do the work.


ITEX 2015 National Conference and Expo

PaperTracer was at the ITEX National Conference and Expo 2015.


PaperTracer attended the ITEX National Conference and Expo 2015  
PaperTracer was at the ITEX National Conference and Expo 2015. The expo included about 150 exhibitor booths and two days of educational sessions. With this exposure to many in the IT industry, review of cutting edge-technology, making some great connections, and receiving information on important industry trends helps us to make PaperTracer an even better product for you!


Benefits of Allowing Outside Parties Access to Your Documents as External Users

Whether your business is small or enterprise the need to collaborate with outside parties as external users is important for efficient operations.. Allowing external users to be included as a feature of your contract and document management business process is a secure way to share information electronically in minutes.



Whether your business is small or enterprise the need to collaborate with outside parties as external users is important for efficient operations. Including external users as a feature of your document management business process allows secure sharing of information electronically in minutes. This feature in a business process management software provides convenience, accuracy, and security that other traditional business process management systems often do not offer. Determining to allow external users can immediately benefit your business in these four ways:

  • Reduced Loss of Documents
    External users can have access to specified documents for reviewing, amending, editing, or signing. The complications of waiting long periods of time for long distance communication, risking the loss of paper documents, or clogging email are eliminated because external users conveniently log in from their location to access the necessary document(s) to easily collaborate.
  • Reduced Searching
    Searching will become obsolete because external users are given a direct link to the designated document(s). A direct link allows more time for reviewing, editing, amending, and signing because the necessary information can be found in a few clicks. Allowing external users will do away with the wait often produced by transporting paper documents.
  • Prevent Email Risks
    • The direct link also offers more security. While your email may remain open on your or their desktop all day, the direct link for external users requires a separate login and password. The link will only grant access to specified contracts or documents and will allow limited abilities, i.e., view, edit, sign, etc. This ensures a controlled environment where external users have limited access and confidential information remains secure.
    • Another benefit of allowing external users as part of your document management software is avoiding the potential overload of your email. Sending large attachments is time consuming as well as depleting to the space in your inbox. By having an external user link you avoid email congestion along with potentially deleting or losing a document in a mass of other emails.
  • Electronic Signature
    Getting a signature was often the hardest step of finalizing a contract or document because it required a physical signing that involved pen, paper, and a face to face meeting. External user access along with electronic signature makes getting final execution secure and easy. With electronic signature, you can legally sign documents to forward or finalize agreements from anywhere in minutes.

The capability of allowing external users is a benefit that one should consider to add value to your business. In addition to the convenience of having one place for viewing and collaboration, the benefits promote prompt communications, no lost documents, time and costs savings, and makes completing documents easy and more efficient.


History of Software: How Technology Drives Us Into the Future

From the founding of HAMi in 1997, to our 2001 launch of PaperTracer as an SaaS delivery model, to today’s PaperTracer Silverlight our goal has remained the same. We continue striving to bring a robust progressive software that will promote the growth of your business.

From the founding of HAMi in 1997, to our 2001 launch of PaperTracer as an SaaS delivery model, to today’s PaperTracer Silverlight our goal has remained the same. We continue striving to bring a robust progressive software that will promote the growth of your business. Take a look at how far technology continues to drive us into the future with this timeline infographic from Capterra.

The History of Software