Documents—whether hardcopy or softcopy—are critical to any business. Every marketing report, customer and business record, and other business documents are essential to help your business thrive and remain competitive.
However, creating a logical way to manage your business data can be challenging. If you want to streamline your document workflow and improve the productivity of your employees, take a look at our list of best practices for efficient business document management.
1. Invest In the Best Document Management Software
The first step towards a well-managed business document is choosing the right document management software for your business. This can help you manage and control all kinds of documents.
At its core, a document management system is a comprehensive software that stores, tracks, manages, and provides controlled and secure access to documents in a business. It also allows your employees to collaborate, give an overview of all documents related to a specific project, share information, and improve productivity.
As the world becomes more digital, the right document management software allows your business to thrive in the increasingly competitive industry, streamlining your document workflow. So, take your time finding the best document management strategy that fits your business needs and goals.
2. Have A Consistent Directory And File Structures
Generally, employees create their file names and folder structures since they create thousands of folders and files monthly. While it may be for their convenience and have the best naming intentions, having their own document naming system can develop complications when files and folders are transferred to a single data center. There’s a risk of forgetting their original naming structure or becoming unfamiliar with suitable filing processes.
Thus, when you start moving to a digital environment, you want to create a standard naming convention to ensure effective document management. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to file naming; you should make one that works best for you and your business.
Regardless of how you decide your naming convention, you should create a template that instructs all staff on how to name your documents properly, ensuring uniformity and consistency. When your employees adhere to the same format, your employees can easily and quickly pull out the right document.
3. Select Access Rights
Not every employee in your business will need access to every document in your documents management software. There will be sensitive documents such as business contracts or employee performance records that should remain confidential.
Fortunately, most document management software can help provide access permissions to users of your choice. So, create a viable access control. Take time to identify which senior members of departments and staff have specific access to documents. Moreover, you should set control access for employees, choosing which of them can access, share, and edit documents.
4. Take Advantage Of The Cloud
Migrating to the cloud is one of the best practices of document management. A cloud is a powerful tool for managing digital documents. This online repository allows easy access from any device and anywhere, making it much easier to collaborate on projects.
With cloud storage, there’s no need to back up files or worry about data loss. This simplifies the process of collaborating and sharing documents. Fortunately, most document management software allows for cloud storage, ensuring an easier transition.
5. Have Consistent Document Version Control
If your business constantly updates its documents, it is necessary to set up an effective version control strategy. File versioning means you get access to previous versions of the document and can restore them as needed.
An automatic document change tracking helps create an audit trail on who’s responsible for the changes and when they were updated. In addition to tracking document changes, it also helps track down the movement of documents within a company.
6. Regularly Audit Your Documents
While managing your business documents with a documents management system is much easier, you still need to do regular audits to mitigate against potential breaches and process failures. Auditing allows you to learn what documents you have in place and determine if your business complies with sector regulations.
Moreover, you can conduct audits externally and internally. External audits can be done annually, while internal audits can be done quarterly or semi-annually.
Organizing and managing your business documents may not be the most exciting task on your to-do list. However, it shouldn’t be a headache. An efficient document management process can help streamline your workflow, ultimately revolutionizing your business-critical processes.
So, make sure to stick to the best practices for document management as discussed above to keep your business documents in the best and most logical shape possible.