February 25th, 2014
Whether or not you have a formal enterprise content management (ECM) strategy, your company probably has its own methods of creating, storing and sharing documents among employees. This method probably works just fine, but is it the most effective, and does it safeguard the integrity of sensitive company or client files?
Efficiency is the name of the game in today’s breakneck market, so it’s worth your while to carefully define an ECM strategy that optimizes your employees’ time and talents, company budgets and other resources.
Start today with these five tips to define an ECM strategy for your business:
- Identify your ECM team: Determine who among your staff should create and manage your ECM strategy. While IT will play an integral role, it’s also important to include end-user employees who will access the system day-to-day. They will provide powerful insight on which functions will help them do their jobs.
- Evaluate your current methods: What are your company’s existing processes for storing and sharing content? How are the processes structured, and what are the bottlenecks and other pain points? What are the effects on productivity, and which departments stand to benefit most from improved processes and enhanced ECM capabilities?
- Identify causes: Are your content issues caused by people, processes, technology or some combination of several factors? Take a deep dive to find the root causes of your bottlenecks and sluggish processes.
- Enhance and optimize: Once you’ve rooted out the problems, it’s time to implement an ECM strategy. Your solution may address document storage and delivery, data capture, technology standardization, business process automation, and numerous other areas that will help improve business outcomes.
- 5. Evaluate your results: After implementing your new ECM system, it’s important to monitor your results and identify any red flags. Are users adopting the new system with ease, and are they satisfied with the results? Are you noting improvements in your processes, and greater efficiency across your organization? Refine your strategy as needed to ensure you’re addressing the issues you set out to solve.
You may also consider hiring a consultant to help you create your strategy or to manage specific elements of your ECM – things like document capture, scanning or automating repeatable processes.
January 27th, 2014
Document management is an important objective for any company, particularly in industries with strict compliance measures requiring fast and frequent access to digitized archives, reports and other records. But with so many options for document management software, scanners and other tools, how can you be sure your strategy is sound?
Here is a list of features you need for effective document management:
- Powerful Search: Whether you’re using a customized document management solution or an “off-the-shelf” program, it’s important to be able to search for and find exactly what you need – whether it’s text or OCR (optical character recognition) – and no matter what the content type.
- Revision History: Your program should preserve all versions of a document while also providing instant access to the newest version of the file. This ensures that all iterations of the document are preserved, allowing you to quickly find or roll back to earlier versions.
- Retention Rules: The ability to define document retention and disposition rules is an important part of any document management system. Such rules reduce operating and storage costs and minimize the legal risks of keeping unneeded documents or destroying necessary files.
- User Access Controls: Access controls allow you to define which users and departments can view which types of documents. For example, you may grant permission for your HR department to view salary and benefits information while restricting access to such files to other employees. This is important, as role-based document access provides the right permissions to the right employees while safeguarding sensitive or confidential company information.
- Seamless Import Capabilities: Your program should offer importing features that allow users to add folders or individual documents quickly and easily using standard operations like copy-and-paste, drag-and-drop or right-click and select. A good system will allow you to import files by the hundreds or one at a time while retaining content hierarchy of folders and subfolders. Importing also should give users immediate access to documents and allow them to save new versions in real time.
- Integrated Workflow Options and Routing: Workflow options allow you to design, manage and support document workflows, improving efficiency by automating and speeding up business processes. A good program will give you the tools you need to create predefined workflow rules and parameters, even with the most complex processes, as well as role-based workflow security, team-based workflows, and yes-no decisioning.
If you’re not sure your document management program is up to snuff – or if you need to build one from the ground up – you may consider hiring a consultant to advise you on the best solution for your business, whether it’s an off-the-shelf program or a custom strategy.
December 17th, 2013
The electronic age has created an explosion of business information, making it difficult for companies to manage their records efficiently and strategically. But, for most companies, records management is a critical part of doing business, and it’s absolutely imperative for businesses in highly regulated industries that must be able to access records quickly and easily.
Make sure your company’s sensitive information is secure, accessible and meets compliance measures by avoiding these five common records management mistakes:
- Storing your files on site: Businesses amass files at an alarming pace, and in-house storage is the most costly and least secure option for inactive paper files, electronic messages and other records. Protect your business by making a digital copy of sensitive and important documents and consider storing them in the cloud, on a secure server or external hard drive, or at an off-site records storage center.
- Not establishing an effective indexing system: Records management is more than moving your files to cloud-based storage or an off-site facility. It’s important to establish an indexing system to ensure quick and easy file retrieval, particularly in industries that are audited frequently.
- Not defining a records retention schedule: Creating a retention schedule is an important aspect of records management, particularly in industries that are legally required to keep files for a specified time period before destroying them. Automating this process provides an even higher level of efficiency, as it establishes rules-based policies for storage, retention and retrieval for every type of document.
- Not shredding documents regularly. Identity theft is on the rise, and business trash is highly vulnerable to criminals, competitors and even disgruntled employees. As a result, proper records disposal is more important than ever. Just as it’s important to create a schedule for retaining records, it’s also imperative to shred documents on a regular basis.
- Assigning records management to untrained staff: While it may seem cost-effective to assign records management to junior or administrative staff, this is penny wise and pound foolish. Your records management professional should have the training and background necessary to implement your company’s storage, retrieval and retention policies, ensure compliance with legal requirements, and manage any technology or system issues.