5 Tips for effective electronic document management
How can a business choose the best document management solution and create a system that meets their needs? Read on for five tips in effective, efficient document management.The modern business world is overflowing with text files, images, charts, and even audio and video documents, all of which must be sorted, stored, and filed for future use. Managing a business requires the ability to organise and locate the documents you need, right when you need them. That's why a reliable and versatile document management system is a must-have for busy corporations. But what does it take to create a system that really works for your company? Read on for expert tips on electronic document management.
1. Choose software that fits your businessToo many companies make the mistake of buying software first, and then trying to cram their business needs into the existing features of the application. To avoid getting caught in this trap, smart IT managers take the time to consider their unique document management needs.
What kinds of documents do you deal with most often? What are your business' key needs in terms of flexibility and security? What's likely to change in the future as your company grows? By taking a mental "inventory" of the ways in which you plan to use the system before you go shopping for software, you could save yourself - and your tech department - years of frustration.
2. Make your documents searchableWhether you're storing electronic documents or creating a digital database of your paper files, one of the most important factors in an efficient document management system is providing as much information as possible to enable search functions. Tag every document in your system with complete information, including a file name, a description of the contents, meta data, and keywords. The more information indexed by your software, the better - you'll find the documents you need more easily, saving time and frustration.
3. Choose security features that protect your privacyMost businesses have at least a few key documents and files that must be secured against unauthorised readers. Whether you're protecting your own privacy, your company's business interests, or the security of your clients, it's important that your software provides the necessary features and safeguards.
Some document management systems require a password from every user, while others secure individual documents or entire folders with a password lock. Consider the level of security you need for your company's circumstances. Is a single password key enough? Do you need to encrypt your entire database? Some software will even provide email alerts when flagged documents are modified or accessed.
4. Consider workflowsOne of the biggest benefits of document management software is the ability to streamline and control your office's workflows. Automating document scanning, conversion, editing, organising, submission, review, approval and sharing can save you and your employees a significant amount of time, increasing productivity and profitability. Again, to choose a system that fits your procedures, it's important to consider the way in which you manage documents. Systems that allow customisable workflows offer you room for future procedure changes.
5. Manage life cycles of your documentsMost companies rely on compliance rules that govern when and how documents are destroyed, but it can be challenging to keep track of the exact date a file was created or modified when it's in paper - or scattered across dozens of disorganised electronic systems. A good document management system should make it easier to track and identify documents that are old enough to be archived or destroyed.
Consider these five factors, and you'll be well on your way to obtaining a document management system that solves current and future problems and creates newfound efficiency within your business.
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