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Everything You Need to Know About B2B Online Document Storage
An online automated document collection solution is essential to easily storing and exchanging information between organizations. Learn more.
The distinction between B2C and B2B online document storage may seem negligible on the surface. However, there are substantial differences that you need to keep in mind when selecting the technologies and solutions for either B2B or B2C operations. In the business world, you’ll encounter many different actors with particular motivations and concerns. The way you interact with these personas is what will determine your long-term success or failure.
Online data and document storage are some of the biggest business enablers that help streamline day-to-day operations. These tools are essential interface points between you and your customers. Depending on what kind of business you run, the way you request, collect, store, and secure your documents online is a critical process that requires due consideration.
The modern business world is not the Wild West. There are concerns surrounding new regulations, doing business across state, provincial, or even international borders, and of course, your competitors who are always gunning for your customers. When choosing an online document storage solution, you’ll need to understand how B2B vs. B2C operations differ before you make a decision. Let’s look at everything you need to know about B2B online document storage.
How Online Document Storage Evolved
Before we look at online document storage, let’s first remember the unprecedented effects that emails had on the business world. When the technology first appeared, it didn’t make much of a blip outside of academic settings where teachers’ assistants and professors shared long-winded text messages about their research and findings.
Nevertheless, once networks expanded and regular consumers could access their own emails, the transformation was almost as swift as signing up for AOL, which wasn’t swift at all. But compared to sending documents and files via snail mail, businesses quickly realised the potential. The new age of online document sharing and storage began and almost immediately created a host of new problems.
Some of the earliest problems with emails were:
- File compatibility – A lack of standard file types and software meant it was a gamble whether the intended recipient could access and view the document
- File sizes – The first digital documents could be weighty, making their transmission across networks and servers slow enough to regularly time out before the process completed
- Complex domain names – Addresses had a combination of domain names that often felt like you needed a Ph.D. to enter them correctly
As service providers became better at solving these problems, another issue crept up. Data sprawl became a real problem when managing documents via emails. The time spent looking for an old email to find a specific agreement or record quickly adds up. It’s still an issue today with 50% of office professionals spending more time looking for documents than on actual work.
In an age where everyone is talking about office efficiency and worker productivity, this remains a major problem. Large corporations solved the issue by adopting document management systems, but these were expensive and required IT experts to manage properly.
This brings us to the golden age of network folders, FTP shares, and cloud storage solutions. Each iteration of these technologies made it easier to collect, store, and share documents across large geographies without the need for an enterprise-grade document management system. Cloud storage is the latest advancement in a long line of document and data storage technologies, but it comes with its own challenges.
The Challenges of Cloud-Based Online Document Storage
Just like cluttered network folders, cloud storage can quickly lead to the same data sprawl problems that make it difficult to locate documents in the office. Things like inconsistent naming conventions, improper versioning, and duplicate records are still common in today’s businesses even with cloud document storage.
The challenge with cloud storage arises when:
- People use their own logic to organise their documents and name files that everyone needs to use for work
- Resources who struggle long enough to find a document start recreating their own version just to keep the process going
- There’s a lack of a formalised process that leads to clutter, takes up storage space, and compounds the document search problem
- Workers share credentials to access the cloud storage solution creating a lack of accountability and transparency
In B2B settings, you’ll want to automate as many of the processes and demonstrate your capabilities to prospective customers so that it accentuates your brand image. For your B2B online document collection and storage system, you need to consider the policies and procedures of the other company as part of your solution. There are many more concerns when companies share information, and you’ll need to demonstrate that you can comply with their requirements.
The Best Secure Online Document Storage for B2B Organizations
When you store private information from another organization, you’ll want to do everything in your power to keep that data secure. Regular cloud storage solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive do provide security features like encryption and password protection, but demonstrating your compliance with your customer’s security requirements won’t be easy.
You can regularly audit your cloud drives and apply data sanitization rules to improve security and ensure compliance with the latest regulations – but can you prove that you’ve taken every precaution?
It’s here where an online document collection and storage portal comes to the rescue. You can automate your document intake, securely store each file in a dedicated client storage space, and manage all permissions from a centralised panel. As your customers submit documents in a secure online portal, you can give them the assurance required that your process is safe, effective, and streamlined for a successful business relationship.
The Many Benefits of a B2B Online Document Storage Portal
A B2B online document storage portal tells your business clients three things:
- You value speed and efficiency when it comes to collecting and storing documents
- You take data privacy and security seriously enough to automate the process and comply with all applicable regulations
- You have a formal, professional process for all your document and data intake, sharing, and storage practices
FileInvite gives your business that extra edge when you interface with your B2B customers. What’s more, it saves you time and reduces the hassle to collect documents, signatures, and files from your business clients. You can streamline all your documentation exchanges and workflows for improved operational control and oversight.
Here are some of the major benefits available from a B2B online document storage solution like FileInvite.
1. Automate the Document Collection Workflow
Chasing your business clients for the required documentation shouldn’t depend on an endless back and forth with numerous emails and phone calls. Setting up a simple alert with a link to the portal where customers can upload their files is all it takes to automate your document intake. A helpful, intuitive user interface ensures your customers can see what information you need and keep track of any outstanding documents that are holding up the process. Customers will never have to send an email with sensitive company information and can rest assured that their data is safe and secure on your online document storage platform.
2. Increase Your Brand Recognition with Dedicated Client Portals
Managing your branded documents, messages, and permissions in a single client portal can increase your brand recognition. With customer loyalty relying on your brand’s reputation, having a dedicated portal for each customer's documents and data uploads will inspire confidence that you remain compliant with the applicable regulations and keep their information secure at all times. FileInvite makes it easy to deploy a new portal dedicated to a specific customer and helps organise your files from day one.
3. Gather Digital Signatures on Digital Forms
You can set up your paper documents as digital forms and let your customers sign them with digital signatures. Even when multiple parties need to sign a form, you can set up the document so that each party receives a secure key that makes the signature legally binding. The eSignature captures the content of the document and the information about the person signing it (including the date and time), so if anyone makes a change to the document, it will require a new signature.
4. Integrate FileInvite with Your Preferred Cloud Storage Solution
The powerful API allows you to extend your cloud storage solution’s capabilities to work with FileInvite. Files will synchronise with your cloud storage in tidy, organised folders reducing the likelihood of data sprawl and duplicate documents taking up unnecessary storage space. Additional integrations with data providers can automate more of your workflows and help you save hours from managing your customer’s documents and data.
Rethink Your B2B Online Document Storage Strategy with FileInvite
When it comes to keeping B2B customers happy, your document storage solution should be efficient, secure, and easy to use. FileInvite takes the hassle out of requesting, collecting, and storing customer data in a secure cloud platform. You can deploy new portals in seconds and quickly convert your intake documents to PDFs to help your resources shave hours off their documentation workflows.
See how easy B2B online document storage is with FileInvite. Sign up for a free trial today.