5 Key Benefits of Archiving IBM i Forms and Reports

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Paper-Pusher-000037199644_FullA good IBM i paperless processing solution can archive distributed electronic forms and spooled file reports in universal file formats; PDF files, excel spreadsheets, and HTML files. Archived files can be stored on an external file server or on the IBM i Integrated File System (IFS).

A paperless digital archive is the treasure trove of information about your IBM i reports and documents. It provides easy access to your digitized distributions; thus, allowing you to answer audit requests, satisfy customer questions, view and resend reports and documents, and research distributions for problems and resolution.

What is IBM i Paperless Processing?

Here are five valuable things you can do with the digital archives created by IBM i paperless processing software:

Search and Retrieve Sent Documents & Reports

Most paperless processing packages come with built-in search functions that enable you to retrieve archived files that have been digitized. Archive search can be used for issue resolution, audit reporting, or for resending reports and documents to customers and business partners. Here are some of the standard search features a digital archive provides:

  • Date and date range search – Finding files that were generated during a specific time period.
  • Recipient search – Finding all the electronic reports & documents that were sent to a specific recipient. This is valuable for auditors and for proving any information intended to be sent to a specific address was actually sent to said address.
  • Document name search – Retrieving prior versions of popular reports or documents, such as a general ledger, patient report, purchase order, or bank statement. Great for retrieving historical documents for problem resolution or auditing requirements.
  • User ID search – Searching and retrieving files that were sent by a specific IBM i user. Good for tracking suspicious activities.

You can search the archive using one parameter, or you can combine parameters to locate digitized files matching multiple criteria.

Create a Customized Index Over Your Digital Distributions

When designing your paperless distribution and archiving system, some packages allow you to create your own custom indexes over the digital archive. These indexes can be created over specific fields inside a digitized spooled file, such as customer number, patient number, or statement number.

Customized indexes allow you to zero in on unique file information that lets you quickly locate, view, and verify you’ve retrieved the correct file. Index searches can also be combined with the standard search information listed above to accurately pinpoint only the digitized output that you need to find. For example, you could use an index that’s keyed by customer number to locate a document sent to a specific customer on a specific date.

View or Resend Previously Sent Distributions

Once you locate the digitized file you’re searching for, you can easily view, resend it, or forward it to another user straight from a search screen. This is helpful for quickly locating and emailing historical reports to auditors. It’s also valuable in Accounts Receivable collections where a rep can quickly pull up an unpaid invoice and resend it to the customer – while she’s talking with them on the phone. Digitized documents can also be located and forwarded to other users who weren’t included in the original distribution.

Discover Everything That’s Happened With a Specific Distribution

Paperless archive search functions also allow you to view the entire history for a specific file distribution or a group of distributions. Audit trail log entries can easily show you everyone who’s received an archived file and when they received it.

Selectively Purge a Digital Archive According to Your Own Policies

Automated digital archive purging can be shaped according to your own retention policy. Many packages use selective purging, where certain items are retained while others are purged. They can also lock down the purging function to prevent unauthorized users from deleting documents. Some packages have purge levels that allow for separate purges of individual file entries or audit trail entries. With the right package, there’s a lot of flexibility to insure important reports and documents are available when you need them – and removed when you need them gone.

Did I Mention ROI?

A paperless digital archive also provides many significant ROI savings over existing paper-based systems. To find out how a digital archive can save you money, check out this information on the ROI of storage and retrieval in my post about calculating the ROI of an IBM i paperless processing system.

Please feel free to contact us at DRV Tech if you want to learn more about paperless processing solutions and digital archives, or if you want to invest in a paperless processing solution of your own.  Also, be sure to check out the helpful blog posts I’ve listed below for more information on this subject.

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