Document management projects may not always work as per your expectations. In this article, I will give some insight into the best document management practices to avoid common mistakes.
The most common problem seen is that many organizations still store some digital documents in multiple locations or personal file-sharing accounts. The amount of digital information is growing at an ever-increasing rate. Chaotic approach to document management leads to frustration and waste of resources. From mundane and time-consuming search the right document version, to slowed business processes, more mistakes likely occur and expenses go up.
DMS plays a vital role in facilitating effective collaboration between employees, but their implementation not always runs as smoothly as expected. Lousy project approaches and wrong expectations lead to ineffective Document Management Systems (DMS). In this post, you will get insights on document management project implementations and advice you on few of the best practices.
Let us see a little tale on a big file server
Merry is the IT manager of GrowBig a fast-growing digital marketing company. GrowBig’s information was managed on a file server until now. Information like contracts, invoices, reports and other digital documents were maintained on a file server. GrowBig is growing and expanding day by day. Employees have started facing problems with the file as it has become a mess. They have complained about the file server becoming a mess, documents being lost, documents not being retrieved and the final versions being hard to identify.
So Merry decided to go for a Top notch Document Management System. She also hires a consultant to define document types, metadata and also provide access to all. She thought the problem is solved.
But, a few weeks later it turns out the system did not attract too many users. Most employees prefer to use the file server system, some after using the new DMS shifted to file server after three weeks.
What went wrong? Well, Merry made some typical mistakes while launching DMS in GrowBig. Let us analyze those mistakes and check details of document management best practices.
Mistake #1: Regarding the document management system (DMS) as an application instead of a platform-
Some IT departments think of the DMS as if it was MS Office. They buy the DMS, install it and give it to the employees to work on it. This is a wrong approach as DMS is a platform, not an application. This means that the DMS offers a number of features for document management. Features like version management, search and others which by means of configuration or coding can be used to build the application.
But DMS usually comes with a default application and user interface. The default application for DMS covers the insufficient case. It will be surprising if all document management requirements can efficiently accomplish it. Take for example Its Guru needs contract management where its guru needs to have a system to notify you some time before the contract expiry date to stop or renew the contract. Such features are not uploaded automatically; you need to configure them with your document management company in the favor of creating a powerful contract management application.
How to avoid this mistake?
Develop a Document Management Roadmap: Recognize the document-centric applications for your organization and prioritize them based on the impact and feasibility.
You can revive some document management system after failed implementations. Take a step backward to move forward again.
Mistake # 2: Making things too complex
A DMS can be compared to a Swiss army knife with a bunch of pre-built document management features. But if a knife is wrongly used it can cause dirty wounds, so the same goes for document management. Some DMS are capable of using their features to the fullest. They define different types of documents with lots of metadata. Develop workflows that spread to multiple walls creating user interfaces with some options.
Mistake #2 is opposite to mistake #1. Implementing #1 is way too simple as compared to #2. Some DMS implementations presume all users are trained archivists who are pro at categorizing documents.
99 % of employees want to get their work done and are not interested in filling metadata or handling workflow task if there is no value added for them.
How to avoid this mistake?
Balance the right and complex.
Your business analyst should be an expert who knows where to stop. Squeezing that extra function or button. Expertise who has an unbeaten track record in similar implementations, knowledge of user design and technical background create the perfect mix.
Mistake #3: Forgetting about change management
Often preached and rarely performed: change management
A DMS implementation touches a large segment of your employees. Dragging and dropping the document of file sharing is far easier for any employee, even though it creates chaos in the organization. Both of these factors make change management very essential. If you want the change, you need to involve employees. If you don’t include employees, they will end up using the old file server saving system.
How to avoid this mistake?
The formula is “just do it.” Just don’t provide training to your end users, but involve them from start to end. Explain to them all the plans, analyze each phase. Make them test each implementation after every sprint and show them the value.
Document management best practices will help you utilize the DMS system to its full capacity. Just installing a DMS system is not enough to have it entirely used.