When you’re thinking about implementing digital document management for your company or enhancing an existing system—focusing on the fundamentals, and defining goals helps ensure success. Putting the best practices for document management today can give you a big head start tomorrow.
How to go for best practices at your company
Start with goals and develop key metrics.
The problem with a few companies is that they don’t take the time to set goals and measure their progress. It makes it impossible for them to know if document management system implementation was successful or not since there’s no standard way of doing so in your organization. The answer might seem obvious, but it’s essential to be as specific about your goals with a search engine. Are you helping users find documents more easily and quickly? Or save on document storage costs? Improve collaboration and re-engineer manual processes?
When implementing a document management system, you should determine the metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) required to measure progress toward goals. It will help set your baseline. Meticulously choosing appropriate KPIs can determine whether or not an organization sees increased productivity levels resulting from its implementation.
What is your time worth? For example, it might take 10 minutes for you to process an invoice with the current system and find out that the same task takes only two minutes using digital document management tools. By sharing these measurable successes with your colleagues, you can show the value of the project to encourage user adoption as you move forward.
Prioritize Automation of easy and frequently used business processes
Automation is an excellent way for businesses of all sizes to reduce their costs and make more efficient use of employees’ time on specific tasks. Automated processes also help companies prioritize what they should be working towards based on business criticality.
After implementing a new order processing system, your company’s revenue could increase by as much as 30%. You might want to speed up customer service response times or integrate with accounting software for the early payment discounts. Automation is an excellent choice for simple or repetitive processes because workflow steps are defined with ease and time saved, making them easy to quantify. By using document management, manufacturers can find the documents they need to respond faster when customers ask about details related to their orders. With digital document management, customers get an automated response within minutes instead of hours.
Improve paper-based processes instead of emulating them
New technology has possibly eliminated extra steps in processes, but some companies mistake replicating paper-based workflows. When setting up digital strategies, it is essential to ask yourself why you’ve previously followed that procedure and whether those actions are necessary for this new context. The state government agency wanted to convert its purchasing approval process into a digital workflow. They tried to implement an automated system that streamlined the paperwork and cut down on waiting time for customers. The new process reduced paper-based processes, relying on comptroller’s assistants to collect and route approvals at every stage. The agency could approve invoices without a gatekeeper by building business rules into its document management system.
Capture content close to its point of origin
With document capture as close to the source possible, time is saved, and data quality improves. Tools like virtual printers or electronic forms are great examples of this technology in use.
Virtual printers let you avoid the hassles of traditional printing and scanning, saving documents directly to your document management system. Electronic forms also automate data entry for staff members by automatically extracting information from any saved files. The use of these forms simplifies, improves and accelerates data collection.
It’s important to share data with other business software platforms like ERP or CRM so that you can have a more efficient workflow. Keeping your business information in sync with other systems is a challenge. But when you use Document Management Systems that can communicate, it becomes easy and seamless. Sharing and retrieving data with other business software is essential for any company looking at increasing efficiency.
Ensure the user interface is intuitive and straightforward.
Keeping your users engaged is vital, with many websites and apps vying for attention. It means providing them with what they need without cluttering up their desktop screens or taking too long of an input time. The right document management system will solve all of your problems, but it shouldn’t assume that every user knows what each feature does. Good system design enables users and administrators to view only the information they need to accomplish the tasks. The interface can be customized to each role, making it easier for staff members to do their jobs without being overwhelmed by confusion or irrelevant information.
Take advantage of the cloud.
When you install on-premises systems applications, storage and networking technology within the four walls of your company, it is a given that physical assets are purchased. Physical assets like servers and routers are purchased for the company’s data center. They install these items to store information and are ultimately replaced when they become outdated. Physical assets constitute a significant investment that requires maintenance, upgrades and security monitoring.
The service provider is responsible for upgrades and patches with a cloud-based document management system. It reduces your need to invest in more IT resources which can be costly. It also makes scaling easier. Cloud document management systems are powerful tools that work for staff on mobile devices wherever there’s an internet connection, supporting remote work environments and greater flexibility of teams.
Create consistent folders and document type structures
The ability to find the information you need quickly is a must for any modern business. It is crucial to estimate the implications of your new document management system before launching. It includes thinking about how you want teams using it, what folder or type naming convention is used for different file types and any indexing conventions that may need to be explicitly implemented around those folders.
For guaranteeing the security of the information, it is vital to set clear rules and policies for where data should be stored and categorized. You can make it easier on yourself by coming up with a naming convention that Everyone in your company will follow. For example, if users want to manage invoice processes, this may be something like calling them “clientname_invoiceno MM-ddyyydate Amount .”It is essential to carefully choose standard index fields for document types and related documents so that the search process goes as smoothly as possible. With all of your crucial documents in one place, it’s easy to find what you need. For example, purchase orders and delivery tickets should share data fields to be pulled up with just one click.
Enforcement of naming standards, indexing fields, and folder structures are essential factors in ensuring people use them. Implement Automation through your document management software so that you can monitor their progress easily.
Set up (and follow) version-control policies
Maintaining document integrity is vital for ensuring only users edit the most current version. Understanding what has changed between versions and making sure that all previous documents are updated accordingly can be challenging but well worth it in terms of efficiency for your team.
Version control allows you to save your document as a new version, with each change being recorded and stored for future reference. Docupile provides a detailed history of performances, with each document’s status and date saved by the user. You can also see any comments made by users on it as well.
Version management makes it easy to keep your files up-to-date by automatically assigning versions numbers. When you use manual check-in, it’s possible to select a primary and sub number or document. However, if automatic version management is enabled on your account, the system will assign an individual tracking number for each item. You can check individual or multiple documents from the document tray and edit them in your folder. Locking checked-out documents is a great way to keep changes from being made while someone else edits the same document and also ensures that you have an accurate record of who changed what.
Use electronic/ digital signatures for tighter security and easier compliance.
With an e-signature, you can prove the authenticity of your signature by having it verified on a contract or vendor agreement. Can’t do this with paper contracts?
A resounding “yes” is all we need.
Electronic or digital signatures are an efficient and secure way to sign documents. They eliminate any risk that your signature could be changed or signed by an unauthorized person. A qualified one is usually legally binding and meets current security requirements- so they’re perfect for business. The document management system should include electronic signature capabilities to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Companies can protect themselves by using digital signatures and automated workflow, which will help in a legal, customer service or compliance issue.
Streamline approval workflows with Automation
The benefits of using document management software are enormous. Not only does it cut down on manual tasks and speed up processes, but the user also ensures greater accuracy in your work. For example, a company’s education department creates training documents intended for all employees.
Before a piece can be published, it goes through the following process:
- Content is organized and outlined by subject matter experts to address your topic needs.
- The education department’s staff member creates a draft based on the outline.
- The draft is reviewed for accuracy and flow by a third party.
- A professional line editor edits the draft.
- When the final draft is approved by all parties involved, it’s sent over to our design department for a bit of flourish of creativity before publishing.
The content could end up in various places throughout this process. For example, if an accuracy review finds that your document needs more work, then it’ll go back down the chain for revisions before being approved or denied at every step along the way.
The education team has been using a manual process for exchanging documents. But this leads to lost information, missed deadlines and potential miscommunication in work.
With a workflow built right into the document management system, people can send documents to those who need them with just one click of their mouse. It ensures that everyone within your company or team has easy access and understands what they are working on at any given time. Mastering the basics of document management will help you be more efficient and effective with your work. These principles apply whether it’s an invoice, customer order or any other type of workflow-based documents that come across in business operations today.
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The Docupile Smart Document Control system is a great place to start when looking into software that may be unfamiliar. The well-favored experience will give you an idea of what it’s like and if this type would work well with your company. Docupile is a platform that allows users to upload their documents and use Docupile’s “Your First Steps” guide, knowledge base documentation. There are many different features that Smart Document Control can offer. It’s a prebuilt system with digital file cabinets storage and sharing options for your documents, so you’ll never have to worry about losing confidential data.