Document management is a broad subject and concept. If you would like more information on this, you can take advantage of the many articles, white papers, presentations and publications that define the document management system and technology. However, several of them are dedicated to orienting the best service or the best business processes to work on the initial solution. In many cases, companies buy document management solutions with no clear objective, beyond general statements on the automation of business processes, the deletion of documents, the search for archives and the improvement of intra and interdepartmental communications or exchanges.
On many occasions, a company usually buys a solution to identify the real problem. Let’s reverse this approach.
So where should you start?
According to an extract published on an online assignment assistance web page, each company has its own documentation concerns and, as such, there is no right or wrong place to start. In general, the response may depend on several elements, including current problems, their needs and their propensity to adopt new technologies. Basically, you should not only focus on the department considered to be the “weak link”, as it may present more important problems than conventional record management.
The first step is to list all the departments of your company, as well as your commercial applications. It is essential to keep in mind that a ministry can have several different and distinct applications. For example, the company’s financial service may include supplier accounts, payroll, financial controls, business financial planning, customer accounts, procedures and policies, audit, financial controls, etc. All of the above functions could use the document management system for different purposes.
Standard companies have the following departments:
- Human resources
- Accounting / Finance
- Information technology (IT)
- Administrative / executive offices
- Contract management / purchases
There may also be specific processes in a department, such as financing and bank loan requests, subscriptions, policies, insurance requests, laboratory or clinical documentation, production, manufacturing or product documentation, construction management; among other business-specific applications and processes.
Understand your document management problem
Even before you go out and buy an electronic document management solution, it is necessary to start investigating the various concerns related to the documentation you have. Below are several important areas that you can examine for each department:
List each type of document for each department: this may include electronic files, paper, fax, among many others.
Hold conversations with business personnel and professionals in the field: to get a clear picture of the unique concerns of document management, as well as the obstacles that each of them faces daily with the most important documents.
Identify and describe the entire industry and administrative systems of your organization. This can generally include human resources management systems (SAP / HRM / ADP), SAP legal systems (accounting software), legal software (such as Serengeti), sales systems (such as Sales force) and technical systems (Team center). ) among other methods used in a department. One of the most useful tools you can use here is IT because they manage these particular systems on their servers.
Departments have concerns about document sharing within the department: the usual doubts are the impossibility of locating the document at the specified location, the restrictions on file sharing, exchange of documents in the form of attachments to e-mails or even the absence of authorizations to access document editing
Many companies also find it difficult to share documents between their departments. Let’s take this as an example: if the marketing department is supposed to write a new product data sheet and has to work with sales and engineering services to collect essential documentation and information. In this case, it is likely that each of these departments cannot share files through its various file sharing arrangements. Therefore, they will use the attachments to e-mails to transfer the documents if necessary.
Most companies work in particular with subcontractors, suppliers, external consultants, and then ask each party to share documents. Basically, this is done via an FTP site, attachments to emails or even cloud sharing sites like Drop box. Such approaches are ineffective and can create confusion about the valid formats of the specific document known as shared. In addition, each time the documents leave the organization’s servers, security concerns accompany these situations.
As a general rule, when documents are shared by email, files occupying approximately 1 Mo of disk space can take up to approximately 10 MB, because each user sends the document continuously to the next recipient, thus occupying space in the mailbox while keeping local copies in your specific shared files. Finally, the “last version” of the document becomes difficult to identify and may require further investigation to determine its concerns or even to locate the final version of the document.
Check the business procedures in which documents are sent manually to the company for comments, approvals or various actions, such as database updates. Compliance with regulations, the possibility of scanning documents (on paper) to remove physical storage, delete documents according to retention schedules or even enhance the security of various documents (such as files containing personally identifiable data).
After evaluating all the previous areas, it is necessary to organize them according to the most important need, then prioritize the concerns raised by the most significant efficiency gains or return on investment (ROI). As mentioned earlier, there is practically no wrong or right place to start. However, you can understand the problem and start looking for the ideal solution.
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