If you don't work on your document management processes, then they will quickly overwhelm you. Improve the benefits of your document management efforts by taking the following steps:
1. Integrate, not overwrite
Your document management practices should support your business goals, not interfere with them – that is why they are called document management best practices.
Make sure that your document management practices support your business goals by not allowing them to get in the way of any critical operations. To this end, clearly define your company's goals and relevant business processes; then integrate document management practices that bolster the efficiency of those processes.
2. Set goals and track your document management efforts
One of the best ways to define a clear path for where you should be going is to map out where you have been. Your document management practices are not excluded from this rule.
Establish a list of document management goals (i.e. reduce paper costs by 20% within six months), and then create a list of metrics that allow you to track your progress towards that goal. Each document management practice that you engage in should support your goal, and regular reviews of your metrics will show you where you need to make adjustments in your practices.
3. Take full advantage of digital document management
While most organizations are now using digital documents, they aren't taking full advantage of digital capabilities. Instead, they are trying to transfer their paper document management practices to their computers. This is a mistake.
Digital technology is supposed to make document management easier, not replicate the challenges that you already face with paper. To help you overcome these challenges, document management software provides you with a unique set of capabilities. For example, instead of manually filing everything away, you can instruct your document management software to organize your documents based on their titles and content.
4. Automate what you can
One of the best document management best practices that you can integrate into your routine is a practice that cuts out wasted time. Seek out activities that you might not necessarily need to manually do; each of these should be automated. The typical employee wastes 130 hours yearly on unnecessary tasks. This means that if you have 10 employees, this step could save your company thousands of hours in wasted time annually.
5. Ensure that your team is comfortable using your document management system
Improving efficiency is the reason that you are developing document management best practices in the first place. In the midst of this development, you must remember to keep the ones who will be adopting those best practices in the first place.
If your team is unable to effectively use your document management system, then it will getting in the way.
Ensure that your team is comfortable using your document management system in two ways:
First, be certain that your system is usable. For example, a highly technical document management system may improve efficiency – if it can be properly used. However, this type of system is most likely to interfere with your employees' activities. Instead, always go with the user-friendly option.
Second, train your employees to effectively use the document management system. No matter how simple the system seems, each process will be new to your employees; the only way that they will learn how to effectively use it is with good training and repetition.
Are your document management practices helping or hurting your business?
With the right document management practices, your document-related activities will get out of the way, and allow your team to focus on running your business.