We've been able to send some folks to the moon, but it seems like we haven't made a document management system as easy and affordable as it could be. Sure, it's a complex process that is more than just plugging in a device or turning on some software but there's no reason it should be rocket science. We've assembled some tips we hope will help you get to the stars with a new document management and workflow system that won't require NASA's budget.
The Importance of a Document Management System
The paperless office has moved beyond the metal file cabinet, and now your organization needs a platform for managing your digital documents. A document management system (DMS) can organize, store, and track changes in your electronic records streamlining your department taking efficiency improvements well into the double digits.
The right DMS will integrate with your current systems to maximize workflow and collaboration, having a reasonable learning curve. Efficiency is the name of the game when it comes to document workflow. Not all document management systems or partners are created equal, so before you rush to purchase a system consider the following points.
Determine Your Specific Document Management Needs
Document management systems come with wide ranging benefits, but there're different advantages dependent upon your goals and needs. The best way to determine which solution will best suit your organization is to think about your priorities when moving. It's beyond simply divorcing paper, it is a change that has true workflow and document management capabilities.
Before you invest in document management tools, understand what you're trying to fix. While it's tempting to throw technology at an issue, be sure you take the time to assess your organization's document management needs. Start by making a list of current issues--and engage your staff in this process--so that you can target a solution that will actually work for them. Note the various software applications you'd like to integrate with your document management system. Factor in your firm's projected growth areas so that your new DMS can handle future challenges.
For example, if employees are struggling to handle paper documents because there's just too many in the office, there should be a focus on finding software that emphasizes electronic workflow and document organization. If a company is leaning toward collaboration and remote employee projects, it may benefit from software with cloud capabilities.
Understand What a Document Management System Does
An organization that searches for a document management system typically has a vision of how it will benefit them. That vision usually includes more efficient processes, but many do not fully understand all of the powerful components of a document management system and workflow when properly implemented.
- Storage of various document types, including Office documents, emails, PDFs, and images
- Creating files within the system that can be edited and shared with others is often overlooked
- Comprehensive search across the database in file names but further into keywords
- Sharing documents with coworkers, departments, and clients easily, effortlessly, and securely
- Restricting access to certain documents and areas so they truly meet security standards of most industries
- Real time monitoring and reporting of who is viewing documents and when they're accessed
- Tracking edits being made to documents and files (Audit trails are important)
- Retrieving previous versions of edited documents (Often a critical feature)
- Controlling and regulating when out-of-date documents can be deleted is important to government and regulated industries
- Accessing, editing, and sharing documents via mobile devices is a requirement
Once you have a better grasp of all a modern document management system can accomplish with workflows, you can then begin to formulate the strategy and foundation of where you can go today and in the years to come.
Consider Where Document Workflow Can Take You
After an organization has laid out the basic framework of what it desires out of document management software, it can look for extra luxuries that may be included. This means consideration for remote access to the software through smart devices, laptops and tablets. This quality can provide employees the opportunity to work from home and focus on group projects remotely. Other benefits often include business form customization, which eliminates the need to use any kind of paper in the workplace.
Office Space: The amount of paperwork has moved to a staggering level and to house these paper files is becoming cumbersome. With the cost of office space only climbing, no budget allows for hundreds of thousands of files in file cabinets to be stored on a floor. Move these documents to the digital landscape takes 1/1,000th of the space and has so many other benefits. ROI becomes a very quick equation. Document management workflow can reduce office space requirements reducing overhead costs.
Labor Hours: What if your existing team could get more done with the time they have each day? The time taken to manage a poor document workflow process (or no process) can be costly in total time spent each day to support. Get more done in less time leaves budget $s for more important items.
Quantum Leap in Customer Service: If you're like most departments improving how paperwork is managed, accessed, and filed away can be the difference. Improvements in speed, accuracy, and accessibility of data can transform the service of your team and those you serve. Exceeding expectations of those you serve will make you a rare commodity and a known value to the organization.
Become THE Interdepartmental Hero: That's right, your amazing organization of information and lightning fast accessibility will make you a go to resources for the rest of the organization. What often took days will now happen in hours (or less!). A modern document management workflow system will revolutionize how work is done.
Document Management Workflow Answers
At V-Soft Consulting we understand the challenges to overcome in putting a plan in place for a proper document management system. We've been trusted by many similar organizations just like yours to implement technology on time and on budget. Through our hybrid service model and expertise across diverse technology stacks we can help bridge the gaps that may exist in your plan.
Feel free to fill out our "Submit an IT Question" form here and we'll answer your question honestly and accurately, without any sales pressure. Why do we approach it like this? Because that's the way we like to be treated.