In the old days, managing documents revolved around archaic filing cabinets and folders full of paper documents. When organisations began adopting more technology-driven systems, documents would typically be arranged in folders stored on a local server or network storage. Then, along came the cloud, and it didn’t take long before companies found themselves grappling with data stored across a confusing mix of local and remote digital storage facilities.
In fact, today’s employees spend an average of 18 minutes just trying to find a single file. A proper document management process is an enormous opportunity to increase productivity and employee engagement.
Here are five of the most important considerations to drive your digital transformation:
#1. Choose the right document management system
A document management system (DMS) isn’t just a way to keep your documents organised — it also provides a way to manage access rights, define security and compliance protocols, and ensure complete visibility into your informational assets.
In most businesses, there’s also the need for remote access, particularly for those who work with freelancers or remote contractors or allow their employees to work at home using their own devices. You’ll need to choose a DMS that aligns with your business requirements. Most importantly, you’ll be choosing between an onsite DMS and a cloud-hosted solution that can be accessed and managed online.
#2. Simplify file searches with metadata
Metadata is basically ‘data about data’ or, in this case, information about your documents that helps you find what you need. Metadata may come in the form of categories, filenames, tagged keywords, collaborators, and timestamps. By assigning data to your documents, you’ll make it easier to find information quickly using the built-in search function of your DMS. The simplest yet most effective approach is to standardise naming conventions and establish templates that employees must use when creating new documents.
#3. Create a logically structured file system
Even if your documents are stored across a wide range of physical devices or platforms, you still need a way to curate them all under a centralised document management solution. In some cases, this requires that you create a hierarchical folder structure. which, in its most basic form, is simply a list of folders labelled by category.
However, not every DMS strictly adheres to the folder structure. For example, SharePoint lets you totally do away with folders without complicating searches. Whatever approach you take, document management is about indexing your files more efficiently by assigning tags like customer or project names and dates.
#4. Back up all your files
It’s much harder to keep all your data safely backed up if you don’t have a centralised storage platform. Armed with complete visibility into your company’s data infrastructure, you’ll be better equipped to ensure that nothing gets forgotten.
For example, a DMS will help ensure that an important project file doesn’t stay hidden away, exclusively on a laptop belonging to an employee. A simplified backup process is a central advantage of any reliable DMS, and many provide automated file synchronisation and offsite backup as well.
#5. Prioritise security and compliance
While there’s no denying that having a complete and centralised view of your organisation’s documents is extremely convenient from a management perspective, it does introduce some additional challenges of its own. Giving employees unrestricted access to every document in the system can significantly increase the chances of a costly data leak or a breach of compliance.
Fortunately, most DMSs provide administrators with the ability to define access rights on a per-document, per-team, and per-user basis. Some also allow you to define user groups by department so people only have access to the information necessary for their roles.
Total Calibration helps your business transition to a paperless office with a centralized digital management environment that provides cohesive care for your most valuable asset — data. Call us today to learn more.