Beginning in the 1980s, a number of vendors began developing software systems to manage paper-based documents. As the world digitized, the systems followed suit: Developers started writing a second type of platform to manage electronic documents. Digital document management was born.
The electronic document management system evolved to the point at which it was able to manage any type of file format, with applications transcending digital document management to include online collaboration tools, document indexing and metadata, workflow automation, records management compliance, auditing functions, information security and, arguably one of the most invaluable capacities, document version control.
Yet, the struggle continues.
Enterprises, nonprofits and NGOs, marketing agencies, startups … they all embraced these powerful information management platforms. Yet, organizations continue to struggle with document control. And since information creation and propagation is the name of the marketing game, it’s the marketing agencies that feel the most pain.
Agencies butt heads against the same marketing asset management issues over and over. And from where do most of these issues arise? You guessed it: a lackadaisical approach toward version control.
Versioning is a process by which documents are checked in or out of the document management system, allowing users to retrieve previous versions and to continue work from a determined point. Versioning is useful for documents that change over time, requiring the ability to not just update in real time, but also reference a previous, archived copy.
Collaboration chaos, content collisions and efficiency freezes … Oh my.
Marketing agencies of all shapes and sizes – across geographic boundaries, sizes of customer base and degrees in market cap – experience the same issues with their internal documents. From infographics and whitepapers to email campaigns, blog posts, PDF sell sheets and e-books, creative teams come across content collisions on a daily basis.
Collaboration chaos ensues and documents are thrown into a pit of obscurity, with team members unaware if the version they’re working on is the correct, most recent one. Documents get lost or unintentionally abandoned, frustrations erupt and a storm of negative energy whips through the workplace with a chilling force that ices over relationships and freezes productivity in the pipes.
The software is not the problem.
As stated in the introduction of this blog post, automated information management systems have been around for a few decades now. But, as life continuously reminds us, just because something exists doesn’t mean it’s being implemented. And even if it is being implemented, it’s often not being leveraged to its fullest potential.
The software utilization is the problem.
When you have 20+ versions of a marketing campaign flooding into 20+ team members’ inboxes, keeping track of the current, correct version becomes practically impossible. If you have an all-inclusive marketing asset management solution for complete process automation and document version control, make sure that 1) you’re making the most of it and 2) it’s the right system with the best functionality available on the market.
MAKE THE MOST OF IT:
- Make system usage part of employee job descriptions and performance evaluations.
It’s not enough to develop a document management policy. That’s just your starting point. You have to follow up on this strategy by making its usage part of everyone’s performance reviews. When people are motivated to use the system – when the system is in line with workplace goals and objectives – they’ll be much more inclined to use it effectively.
- Put documents/files in the system immediately.
This way, you’re able to track history from the most accurate starting point and eliminate confusion.
- Don’t keep saving new copies into the system as new records.
Use the versioning functionality that’s built into the software. That’s what it’s for!
MAKE SURE IT’S THE BEST SYSTEM AVAILABLE:
- Use a system that makes versioning automatic.
You shouldn’t have to “think about it.” You want your team to be fully onboard with the solution. If the software is a hassle to operate, or if it’s already outdated within a few months, no one’s going to use it.
- Use a system that lets you compare documents.
If someone forgets to track changes, you’re still covered with document comparison capabilities. With advanced document version control systems you’re able to pinpoint changes between versions.
- Use a system that embraces change.
It should also be adaptable to any operational changes you experience, evolving with your organization. Making changes to the system’s functionality – e.g., the rules you make for it to use – should be simple and seamless.
Ready to continue optimizing your agency’s document control? Click below to download our free report: 8 Marketing Asset Management Strategies Your Agency Needs To Know.