Every business collects and stores data–from essential business documents and employee records to customers’ data and marketing and financial reports. These data and documents are critical to helping business stakeholders make well-informed decisions and help the company thrive and stay competitive.
With hundreds to thousands of documents and records, it’s easy to lose paper files and become disorganized. And without a proper document management strategy in place, disorganized records and documents can cripple your business.
Whether you’ve finally had enough of a disorganized document and record-keeping system or want to stay on the good side of the law, this post shares some of the best practices to streamline your document management process.
6 Practices To Streamline Your Document Management System
1. Go Digital
Businesses produce and collect so much data and information that traditional paper-based filing system is no longer practical. To help streamline your document management, consider going digital.
Document digitization is one of the essential phases of becoming a digital business. It means converting physical paper records and documents into digital versions using various tools and techniques. Typically, it can be done using tools like a bulk document scanner to capture and scan documents, converting them into PDF files for easy management.
Switching to digital documents can offer your business many benefits, from reducing cost and increasing productivity to improving data security and supporting your business’s sustainability efforts.
2. Invest In A Document Management Software
As you switch to document digitization, one of the essential tools you need to get is document management software to handle information and data output.
At its core, document management software can help collect, store, track, and manage all kinds of documents. Depending on the software you choose, it allows employees to collaborate, providing an overview of all documents and records related to a specific project, thereby improving productivity.
It’d be good to note that this software will be at the heart of your document management processes, so take your time to find the best system that fits your business goals and needs.
3. Create A Standard Naming And Folder Structure
Employees are likely to create a dozen to hundreds of files and folders. When doing so, they’ll often name these files and create folder directories based on their preference due to convenience and to help them stay organized.
However, when these files and folders are centralized like document management software, the different naming convention and filing structure can create confusion and complications. It can quickly become a headache when looking for a specific file.
With this in mind, implement a standard for creating file names and folder structures in your organization instead of leaving it to your employees. Consider drafting a template to guide your employees in structuring document names and folder structures. Doing so goes a long way in promoting uniformity and consistency throughout the company while making it easier for employees to find what they’re looking for.
4. Manage Access Control
Your business collects, stores, and secures data, including customer records and contracts. And not every employee will need access to every business document and data you have. As such, it’s essential to have strict access control in your organization.
To do this, have a hierarchical category of employees and create access permission for each type. Then choose which employees can access, change, or share specific documents. This way, you can ensure that your employees can only access and edit files and records they need to do their job.
5. Master Version Control
An effective version control strategy can help prevent confusion and costly mistakes for businesses that constantly update their documents. File versioning provides you access to previous document versions, reviewing changes applied and restoring them as needed.
The best document management systems should have automatic document change tracking, creating a comprehensive audit trail to show who’s responsible for the changes and the updated dates.
6. Schedule Regular Document Audits
Although it’s much easier to manage business files and documents with digital software, you’ll still need regular audits to reduce the risks of process failures and potential breaches. With regular audits, you can learn what documents are stored in the software, who has access to these documents, and determine if your small business complies with data security industry regulations.
Businesses of all sizes collect large volumes of data and documents. And as your business grows, so is the volume of files and documents you collect and store. That said, organizing your business documents doesn’t have to be stressful.
To help you streamline your document management workflow, implementing the above practices can be a good start. These can help ensure that everyone in the company can have instant access to updated documents they need, ultimately revolutionizing business productivity.
- Blogger by Passion | Contributor to many Tech Blogs in the United Kingdom | Fascinated to Write Blogs in Business & Startup Niches |
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