With flexible working and Bring your own Device (BOYD) policies becoming the norm, it is increasingly difficult for business owners to keep track of one of their most valuable company assets, i.e. their business-related documentation.
If important files, such as client proposals, technical notes or legal NDAs for example, generated on laptops or Tablets belonging to outreach personnel are not backed up, then you could end up losing precious data if they are lost, stolen or tampered with.
A document management system will eliminate this worry; not only will offsite staff be able to access, manage and update business-related documents from anywhere, they will be more productive because they are not wasting time trying to locate a document they know they’ve received but can’t remember where they stored it (if they stored it).
The thought of implementing a document management system can be daunting or perceived to be a waste of time but rest assured it is neither. If you follow some basic guidelines your chosen system will make your staff more productive, your file management and tracking processes more streamlined resulting in improved efficiency overall. However if you implement a system for box ticking purposes without thinking things through, it could end up being an expensive “white elephant“.
Here are some points to consider before choosing a DMS:
- Don’t be fooled by the term “Free”- once you’ve read the small print you’ll soon realise there are a number of hidden costs- usually relating to licensing or storage – that can soon mount up. Image and video files, as an example, can be heavy on storage
- Think about security – does your chosen solution include data encryption, user authentication or digital watermarking?
- Consider the types of documents you are dealing with – financial, medical and legal documents must be managed in accordance with industry legislation and/or standards
- Do you need an onsite, hosted or hybrid solution? – dependant to a large extent on the above
- Does it include search facilities? – if not your chosen system will be no more efficient than email
- What about file management and version control? – particularly important for managing software updates or technical documentation
- Document management systems are not file sharing systems, make sure you understand the differences before making your purchase. You’ll need to understand the question, “What is managed file transfer?” to know about file sharing.
About The Guest Author: Sue Hunt is the head of marketing at Cognidox, a software company that specialises in helping its customers achieve quality certification through better document control processes and improved knowledge transfer procedures for their end users via secure web portals.
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