A good document management system can help organize, track, and share internal business and customer documents, speed up work and document searches, improve filing accuracy, increase efficient communications with customers, and provide 24 hour access, if you choose an online system. However, choosing the right system can be confusing. It is best to learn the jargon, decide your wishes vs. needs, and then research the tech choices.
Below is the list of jargon:
Imaging: converts paper to a digital file (ie. PDF, TIF). The file is an image, not an editable document.
Storage: An online cabinet of ‘folders’. You can either search by the name of the document OR click through folders until you find the document.
Versioning: When you edit a document, it saves the version on top of the old version. Another word for versioning is “stacking”. This feature keeps all versions of a document in one stack and reduces the clutter.
Profiling: When you save a document, it forces you to categorize or assign attributes. For example, the profile might be Client Documents with a sub-profile of Correspondence. Some profiling systems allow you to create automatic filing rules, aka. workflows. Profiling allows searches for words within documents, titles, or for categorizes, attributes, or formats (PDF, Excel, etc). This feature is only included in the most robust document systems.
Once you have a document management system in place, your team and clients will have round the clock access to any information they might need. Other benefits will include:
If you are reorganizing your documents or migrating to a new system, below is a migration map to visual and share the structure and plan with team. This exercise will reduce implementation time, get buy-in from the team, and pre-train them on the new structure of documents.
The benefits of a robust document system are plentiful and range from easier retrieval, sharing, and filing. The trick to document selection and usage is assessing your wants vs. needs, the benefits, getting buy-in from the team, and reassessing the system every few years.
As always, please remember to add any new epiphanies and ideas to your Master Plan of Ideas and Initiatives.