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Overcoming the Digital Dilemma: Best Practices in Document Management

Overcoming the Digital Dilemma: Best Practices in Document Management

Overcoming the Digital Dilemma: Best Practices in Document Management

By Matt Chretien, Chief Strategy Officer


Hallways of cabinets. Stacks of folders. Mountains of papers. With years (sometimes decades) of paper processes in place, organizations can often feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of paper they house. In North Carolina, the regional office for the Veterans Affairs Administration began to crumble from the overwhelming weight of these files. With over 60,000 records densely stacked in storage, filing cabinets had started to “compromise the integrity of the building” causing the foundation to sink into the ground. But even with all the negative aspects associated with storing thousands of files onsite, paper-based businesses are trepidations to enter a new digitized world.

While the transition from traditional files to a cloud-based storage system can feel daunting, taking your first steps into a digital automation system can be a relatively simple conversion. Overall, document management helps organizations to eliminate the need for filing cabinets. This means staff spend less time searching files and more time refocused on tasks that can help generate overall revenue. Effective document management systems consistently help businesses increase their productivity, improve departmental collaboration and aid in an overall reduction in costs. By implementing a digital document management plan, your organization can be on the path to overall efficiency and sustainability. The best part is an automated document management process, like IntelliCloud™, can be easily adopted by any business in any industry.


1. Concrete Naming Conventions


By version? By date? By author? Although it might not seem like much of an issue, naming conventions for files are often an afterthought. Without a digital document management plan, teams would have to make huge efforts to ensure that every author within an organization titles documents in the exact same way. Minor inconsistencies can make finding a document extremely time consuming, leaving staff guessing with multiple search attempts to find a single piece of information.

Automated document management solutions include embedded features that drastically cut time wasted searching for documents. These built-in features allow users to search, view, and share files quickly and easily based on simple keywords. While document management solutions create much-needed expediency when searching for documents it is still highly recommended that organizations implement enterprise-wide naming conventions to further streamline accessibility across departments.


2. Establish Retention Policies


How many filing cabinets line your office hallways? When was the last time your cleaned these files out? Actually looked into these cabinets? Chances are, your organization might be in serious need of a solid maintenance policy. These strategies are often applied to organizations like non-profits, healthcare, and accounting administrations where there are compliance rules requiring physical documentation for at least five years. Without an established retention procedure, it’s nearly impossible to efficiently manage documents throughout their mandatory lifespan. Often, many organizations hold onto these documents for much longer than needed resulting in increased storage costs, document loss, and overall disorganization.

According to PriceWaterhouseCooper, finding a lost document will cost a company $122 on average. They also estimate that 7.5% of all company documents are lost. Assume your company works with 10,000 documents – an extremely small figure – that means 750 of those documents are doomed, ultimately costing your company over $91,000. Then assume that you must recreate any of these lost documents: the time and supplies involved would push your number well over the $100,000 mark!


It is expensive to be inefficient.

It is not enough to simply put a policy in place without your business creating a monitoring process to appropriately dispose and archive these documents once maturity is reached. An intuitive document management solution allows businesses to scan documents and save them directly onto your platform. Organizations can utilize programs like IntelliCloud™ to capture their documents and painlessly store the data through workflows customized for their unique needs. These document management systems can also create internal rules that keep documents for a specific time frame and then route it out of the system as its expiration arrives.



3. Secured User Access and Permissions


While data hacking has become an almost-daily occurrence in the public sphere, many fail to consider how to protect their documents within their respective organizations. While records in the educational and health spheres contain incredibly sensitive information and data, organizations aren’t taking robust measures to protect how confidential information is accessed. If documents containing sensitive information are threatened by an internal or external source, organizations can be subsequently be held accountable for any transgressions.

Taking security seriously is critical with any organization but it is essential that security permissions be tied to all documents that contain any sensitive information. These permissions help to restrict unauthorized users from opening, moving or deleting any significant documents. For example, a file that contains private information, such as a job application, should be owned by the Human Resources (HR) department and not be available to any other departments. This ensures that only HR staff members have access to these files and maintain a strict security lock.  Options like IntelliCloud™ can ensure that only designated users have access to view and edit files, keeping confidential information protected.



4. Foster Product Adoption


When an organization makes the choice to implement a new document management process it takes the involvement of the entire team. And while it can feel like a herculean effort, instilling a new paperless process is an imperative for a modern business. It’s not enough to merely say you’re adopting a new methodology – organizations must champion the process. A critical part of an effective implementation is utilizing all educational resources available to the team. Are there eBooks? What about webinar tutorials? Can you request a live demonstration? Ensuring that your software investment provides access to helpful information is a key step in executing a new system. It isn’t enough to be vocal about challenges your team is facing during a software migration, but rather, consistent and cohesive effort must be made to accurately train and bolster team members.

Adapting your current process to include a document management solution can truly benefit your organization. To learn more about your software options or how you can advance your company’s productivity schedule a demo of our IntelliCloud™ product.

Intellinetics Inc.