Moving to a smart online system for document management
Document management is a bit like a safety valve: you never notice it and might not even realise you need it until something goes wrong.
That something can range from customers being sent the wrong invoice to employees following outdated procedures.
Another scenario is shockingly common—83% of employees have recreated a file because they couldn’t find it on the system.
Proper document management can help your business to avoid more than 4 in every 5 employees wasting their time this way. It goes without saying that addressing issues like these can save your business money, reputation, and a lot of hassle.
Access to the right documents can also improve the quality of your training and help your business to make better decisions.
So how should your business approach document management? We’ve gathered some of the best advice to ensure you do it right.
Store files in one place
There are few things more frustrating than knowing that the information you need exists somewhere, but not knowing where to find it.
Storing all your documents in one centralised location means that it’s easy to track changes, understand what’s missing, and cut down the time spent searching for the right file.
Integrate with the way you work
Many companies rely on a host of smart business tools to carry out their day to day activities. And while previously, the use of so many applications led to data silos where information was stored separately across each solution, times have changed.
Many of today’s tools allow for easy integrations with storage solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive, making it easier than ever to work with your documents without having to port them into another tool first.
Embrace the cloud for easy access
As alluded to above, most popular storage solutions are now based in the cloud. The benefit of services like Drive and Dropbox is that they can be accessed from anywhere, facilitating remote and flexible working while ensuring everyone sees the same up to date files.
Have a process in place
How many of you have waded through a folder full of files with names containing phrases like “latest version” and “newest” unclear of which version to use? Avoid the stress and put in place clear naming conventions so everyone knows how to name files consistently.
Similarly, it’s important that everyone understands where certain files should be saved. Having a clear project hierarchy, as well as published guidelines on how your data is structured, will save plenty of headaches.
Add in appropriate restrictions
Not every employee needs access to all your data. In fact, not only does limiting what individuals can access keep data more secure, it also helps those employees to work more efficiently.
It’s far easier to find what you’re looking for if the only information you have access to in the first place is that which you need to do your job. Alongside access, you may want to restrict how employees can move or modify files to ensure things stay where they should be.
Automate manual tasks
Technology is smarter than ever, and with tools like robotic process automation and artificial intelligence at our fingertips, it’s no longer difficult to hand over tedious and repetitive manual tasks to a program.
If documents are constantly updated and uploaded, employees are notified about changes, or reports are produced on a regular basis, chances are there are opportunities to save your business time and money, as well as saving your employees from boredom and repetitive strain injuries.
Our last tip is certainly not the least important, since security breaches can cause irreparable reputational damage to business. Ensuring your files are secure is an essential part of any document management system.
This is especially true if you have a cloud-based system that is designed to make it easy for employees to access the information they need from anywhere.
If this is the case, precautions around how they access those systems in terms of the devices used and the access protocols themselves can keep your business safe.
Ensuring that any tools you use comply with relevant security standards like SO/IEC 27001:2013 is a great place to start.
With a proper system in place, document management will not just act as a safety valve, but an active benefit for your business, increasing productivity and saving you and your employees the stress of hunting through endless files!