If you’re using a document management or enterprise content management system only to organize and retrieve documents, then you may be overlooking a huge range of other uses that can make your company run much more efficiently.
Here are 3 initial examples of high value uses you may not know about:
1. Controlled Assets
If you need better control, security, and flexibility over how your files are stored, accessed, and edited throughout the organization, you’ll love this feature. The right document or enterprise content management system will allow you to easily limit a file to a couple dozen people or make it accessible to the entire organization in just a few clicks.
For example, perhaps you want all the people in a department to be able to view a document, but only the heads of the department can make changes to it. Maybe you want to know which documents were accessed, when, and what changes were made.
To obtain the same level of control with traditional filing and storage, you had to physically restrict a person from accessing documents. This meant hiring someone to lock/unlock the storage room, police who could enter, and monitor which documents got checked in and out. Not a very productive use of time.
Electronically, this is also often the case with cloud storage services like DropBox or Google Drive.
Without secure access, documents can be taken out by both authorized and unauthorized people, left out in the open, forgotten, and eventually lost. What if your clients’ confidential material or your company’s trade secrets were left out for anyone to see and take? That situation wouldn’t end well for your organization. Lost documents can be expensive and time consuming to replace. Some are irreplaceable.
The controlled assets feature ensures documents stay in a centralized location when being viewed; therefore, they can’t be lost. If a new document happens to get uploaded to the wrong file group, a quick text search will allow you to locate where it has been placed. From there you simply move it to its proper place.
2. Regulatory Compliance
All organizations are bound by various laws and requirements for regulatory compliance. For most, they dictate how records and client information must be accessed, processed, stored, and - at a future time - deleted.
Failure to comply can have disastrous results for an organization: hefty fines, withdrawn license to operate, investigations into corporate activities, lawsuits, loss of client, community, and investor confidence. The regulatory compliance feature can be a TREMENDOUS advantage for your company.
Using a combination of security controls, audit trails, archiving, and disaster recovery measures ensures an organization is able to validate the information stored and demonstrates its compliance with regulations and legal requirements.
Anytime you upload a new document that must follow these laws and regulations, you can specify the length of time you want it to stay in the system and what you want the system to do with it once that time has passed. You can either have it remind you that this file needs attention or have it automatically delete it for you.
3. Corporate and Departmental Communication
Most organizations choose to send out a companywide email when they need to share information. Unfortunately, these emails tend to either never reach its destination or get ignored by employees (I’ve witnessed an organization send an email to its employees only to be marked as spam by its own email system).
That’s the last thing you want to happen. For example, if you have a policy update, it’s important that your employees take note of the changes and adhere to them.
Some document management systems have an internal emailing system that allows users to share messages within the system. They can attach documents and see when a message has been opened. In this way, the recipient isn’t tempted to save the document to inappropriate places and the sender can know that the email made it to its proper and intended destination.
This type of system should stand out very specifically as a tool for important or even confidential internal communications that raises the attention to key internal messaging and the accountability of the organization to read and ultimately act.
Take Advantage of These Uses
Using a document management or enterprise content management system to organize your documents is an essential initial step, but additional consideration should be paid to so many of the other potentially valuable ways these systems can deliver wider application and increased ROI. Taking advantage of the full range of potential uses opens the door to improving your workflow and organizational efficiency, increasing security, retaining documents for compliance, and dramatically improving collaboration within departments and your company overall.
These are just a few examples of proven methods and solutions to the management of processes and documents that can substantially improve the well-being of any process-centric organization.