Capturing, sharing, and storing documents with an online management system is the status quo for many organizations today. Since 80% of all corporate information is in the form of documents, managing them is essentially the same as managing your business intelligence. So are you proactively managing, or just statically storing your vital information?
Ask yourself the following four questions:
Are your documents organized?
If you are dumping documents in a folder, whether manually or with an online document management system, then it’s not being organized. What happens if you forget what the folder is called, how it’s labeled or what sub-categories were used? Organization enforces a certain structure that naturally follows the business processes, making it much easier to locate documents, especially by users who didn’t create them. This saves valuable time and frustration.Are your documents actionable?
Organization is the important first step to help documents become actionable. But finding a document is only part of the process. Usually specific information within the document is what’s needed. What if the document you locate is hundreds of pages long? Searching for a particular contract term or date is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Once your information is categorized, it needs to produce a useful action in some fashion. For example, it should generate reminders, populate reports, or provide contract details. When information stops being just facts and figures on a document and instead creates actions that streamline workflows, then it’s actively being managed.
Taking a holistic approach to organization from the start means that key pieces of information known as meta-data, such as dates, terms, and relevant individuals, will also be formally categorized and therefore more easily retrieved. With most online document management systems, OCR (Optical Character Recognition) features make searching for data within a document incredibly simple. Think of it like Google for your documents.
Are your documents accessible?
In order to be properly managed your business data must be accessible, even beyond your company’s firewall, while still remaining completely safe and secure. If an important file is needed but can’t be accessed, it’s fairly useless.
With the recent string of violent storms in the Midwest, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where business-critical information is needed, but was stored in a cabinet or resided on someone’s PC in the office which was just destroyed.
Documents and information need to be retrievable in every unforeseen circumstance in order to be successfully managed. Using an online document management system is the perfect way to meet this criterion. Critical data is available instantly from any Internet connection, no matter where it’s located.
Are your documents protected?
It’s happened before: a disgruntled or recently fired employee willfully jeopardizes your business by stealing data or files. A traveling employee inadvertently leaves their corporate laptop on a train.
Online document management technology provides convenient yet controlled access to information. Corporate data is available whenever, wherever it needs to be, but only by those who’ve been granted permission to retrieve it. Strict security protocols and automatic audit trails that time-stamp and track user activity help protect critical documents from possible malfeasance or mishap.