If only it were possible to just log into your work computer and see how much progress was made on that complex project mentioned yesterday at the meeting… Or perhaps if there were a way for you to introduce your comments without disrupting the work of the team… Or if you didn’t have to sift through hundreds of files with similar names in order to get a 5-digit customer number… Life would have been so much simpler, so much more organized… But wait a minute: why is all of this suddenly romantic fiction? Have you forgotten document management systems? Or is this uncertainty and worrying due to a very unsuccessful foray into document management systems in the past?
There are document management systems and then there are the innovative approaches to document management. In today’s increasingly fast-paced world, it will no longer suffice to just put labels on files or to stick to a naming convention. The document management must not only make things look ‘prettier’ and more organized, it’s supposed to introduce a completely new level of efficiency to your work plan. It’s supposed to be fairly autonomous and extremely easy to use. The functionality must be seamless and the customer service must be flawless.
The basic features you are looking for in a document management environment can be roughly divided into the following: content creation and editing, organization, automation, security, and remote management. Putting these into any kind of prioritized list is impossible – all of these are of equal importance and the efficiency and ‘wow’ factor of the rest depends on each separate one.
Content creation and editing in the document management system should be as simple as content creation and editing without it. In other words, opting in for a new system should not make it any more difficult for you to write new content and edit it as you see fit. Such options as scanning your image in, tracking changes, and adding post-it notes to a document should remain common-sense: no additional training should be required.
Content organization should be logical and search functionality should be state-of-the-art. The speed of searching for a document based on minimal input across your entire database should not be disappointing. Searching for something should not take your mind away from the actual project at hand. In other words, the document management should not become a job in itself.
Automation is everything. Unless a document management system is smart enough to understand that there is a specific way in which a project always flows in your organization from person to person and from department to department, it is just not good enough. Automated reminders, referrals, input invitations should all be part of the package.
Security is something that all of us take seriously, even more so when we are talking about a database that includes absolutely everything your business or organization does. A high-end document management system does not take permission trees for granted, it works with you to perfect them. This should be supplemented with a fully functional encryption service and double-checking accountability managers to give you peace of mind. Working together, these features protect all of your data on all fronts at all times.
Document management you can’t take with you or use across platforms and devices is pointless waste of resources. Mobile workforces armed with a sea of different operating systems and configurations should be a good thing, not cause for a panic attack. The system you choose should not create excuses why working from home or remotely is less effective than working under the manager’s direct supervision.
Hopefully, these few pointers will help in making a selection. A sea of options for document management can be daunting, but sifting through with this list of must-haves in mind certainly should save you time (and stress). Remember, this new system is not supposed to be a new headache. It is supposed to give you and your business the freedom and flexibility that you have been looking for; that you deserve. Document management at its greatest is an innovative breakthrough that puts you on a completely new level as opposed to the ‘good old’ ways of doing things. It lets you focus on what is truly important and dream big. Enjoy the ride!