Document management strategies and applications are as susceptible to change as the advent of the features comprising them.
As entire business functions are increasingly subsumed by the cloud, smaller organizations and departments are working to level the playing field at the documentation level, as documents make up the bulk of information in most smaller organizations—especially those that are yet to undergo digital transformation.
That said, document management solutions are only as good as the road maps and plans set in place to potentiate them.
It’s only then that the full-fledged benefits of a document management solution can make the impact buyers hope it can make. The problem with strategy is that it involves myriad components, many of which are forgotten in the planning and deployment process.
Although many enterprise content management (ECM) solutions are designed to measure content, the main application and strategic framework of document management is to organize content so it can be:
Achieving this usually means reaching interdepartmental (or sometimes inter-business or inter-industry) consensus on how documents should be structured in any given solution.
So, without further ado, here is how document management strategies and applications can be brought to life for departments, organizations, and even inter-industry objectives.
A Road Map for Document Management Strategies and Applications
Strategy branching will be useful, as it’ll mimic the way computers, software, and document management solutions ‘think’.
Making a strategy umbrella is another framework that will help establish the most important objectives, including their sub branches. Without a document management roadmap, chaos will ensue—no matter how elegant the solution.
The medium in which this process is documented is irrelevant, but the groups required to make the decision are non-negotiable.
Obviously, the executive team should be involved to ensure that information is structured in a way that prevents knowledge silos, but HR professionals are equally important in the conversation, as they’ll be responsible for compliance and retention policies of the entire organization’s documents.
Strategic Platform Selection
Additionally, the platform should be considered in deciding how to structure information for document management strategies and applications. If a team chooses an on premises solution, they’ll need to be sure they are immune to information emergencies that may require out-of-office work.
On the opposite side of the accessibility spectrum, the cloud platform is an effective document management strategy for client-intensive industries in which responsiveness is key. Do not choose a hybrid solution unless your business has over 50 employees.
For a more comprehensive analysis of the differences between on premises solutions and cloud-based document management solutions, view this platform cheat sheet.
Managing Information Overload
Document management strategies and applications should apply to both knowledge and process workers in industries containing both types of employees.
For instance, knowledge workers and process workers are defined solely by their roles within an organization, and these roles are expressly differentiated by the way they handle information.
Although these differences are described in a variety of fashions, a process worker should focus on documentation storage, whereas a knowledge worker should focus on making documentation insight-ready.
- Not only will this reduce the burden and possibility of information overload, it will ensure workers within industries that contain equal amounts of both knowledge and process workers (such as manufacturing) know the scope of their role and its application within the use of document management tools.
- Another way to mitigate information overload with a new document management tool is by choosing the correct deployment model. Although many companies first take a stab at the “all-at-once” deployment model, a phased implementation and deployment is less time consuming, and will ensure mission-critical operations are kept intact during technology adoption stages.
- For larger organizations, one of the most effective document management strategies and applications involves choosing a localized or dispersed deployment model.
Workflow Considerations: The Most Important of Document Management Strategies and Applications
All document management strategies and applications, irrespective of deployment model, should consider document workflow management by department and process.
When an organization goes paperless, they remove several items from the workflow equation: printers, fax machines, and many filing cabinets.
In fact, one of the only traditional office items that should remain intact is the imaging technology, unless the current scanner is not fit for the throughput challenges of a paperless office. In such cases, selecting a scanner from a DMS vendor will help.
Additionally, using mobile applications to make up gaps in workflow will augment accessibility without detracting from security.
Ensuring System Continuity Over the Long Haul
This is just one of the reasons a scanner is so important in choosing an accompanying solution. It will be the means through which companies either leverage their document management solutions or let them go unused.
Despite the power of document management solutions, many companies bog down post-deployment and fail to use the system as a centralized repository for information, hamstringing the ROI these solutions can deliver.
Neglecting throughput for document management strategies and applications simply makes waste of all the planning efforts.
Although nearly all content is digital, employees aren’t going to put it all in one place unless consensus is reached on where it should go and how it should be leveraged.
Digitized Does Not Equal Organized
One of the biggest (and growing) misconceptions is that if something is digitized, it is organized.
Document management strategies and applications will be obsolete if all the digital clutter in an organization’s repositories is not consolidated into the solution.
This further illustrates the importance of choosing a system with comprehensive features to ensure none of your business processes are overlooked.
Tagging and rote classification only contribute to the digital landfill and chaos of our era. Relying on tools that auto populate forms and field within documents will ensure they are retrievable, but only in the event the document is stored in a solution with these capabilities to begin with.
A Note for Companies Rapidly Hiring New Employees and Workers
If you’re like many organizations exploring document management solutions, you’re likely trying to manage information proliferation as the result of company or department growth. Be sure to weave training for the system into new hires’ routines, or as the organization grows, the number of employees who know about the system and its purposes will dwindle in comparison to those who are ignorant of it.