Document Management Strategy – Why We Need One?


On a fine Monday morning as you are about to submit your invoice customer comes with a conflict in the contract which you signed say a year ago! Hell breaks loose, your boss is hurling emails to find the contract! You madly check your inbox for the contract document. Slowly you start to feel the pressure! Everything that happens thereafter is chaos! Have you ever lost or misplaced a very important organization document? If you haven’t you are one of the very few who are naturally organized or you have a proper document management strategy in your organization.

One out of every 20 documents is lost and approximately 25 hours are spent recreating each lost document. Sources: Gartner Group, AIIM, US Dept of Labor, Imaging Magazine, Coopers & Lybrand

Now you can do the math on how much revenue your organization is loosing on missing documents! Not to mention indirect revenue loss

A good document management strategy ensures your organization handles documents and information properly. Planning on improving access to documents easily by storing critical documents safely where authorized people can access the information easily should be the key agenda of a good document management strategy.

A good document management strategy should address the following areas of the document life cycle

  • Capture documents properly from the source of generation.
  • Easily access information
  • Determine who has access to documents
  • Reduce the cost of accessing documents and information
  • Mitigate litigation risks
  • Retain documents
  • Safely store critical documents
  • Purge old deprecated information as per the General Data Protection Regulation

Capture documents properly from the source of generation.

One of the areas where the document gets lost from the area of capture. You would have received a voucher from a vendor or a receipt. From this point onwards the document needs to be managed else the chances of losing them are high as time progresses.

Documents can come in a PDF, Word Docs, Scanned images in an email, file transfer, the shared document also physical copies can come in through the employees of the organization. All this depends on your organization’s work processes. You have to identify each area of document capture and figure out a strategy on how to handle these documents.

Easily access information

We have now sorted out the entry point of information into our system. Now we need to figure out a strategy on how we will handle these captured documents. An Invoice might not be handled the way a voucher from a vendor is handled. A resume will be handled differently from a credit note.

To improve information access we need to ensure in our document strategy early on how each type of documents is going to be stored and who will have access to stored critical documents so that they can collaborate on these documents.

Determine who has access to documents

You probably do not want your HR department to access the financial information similarly you don’t want your account department to access important employee information.

So while creating a Document Management Strategy you will need to decide who all can access which all documents. To improve information access, you need to ensure that the right people have access to the document. Asking access, for document and the waiting time associated with it can mean productive time of the knowledge worker lost. Which can commute to a huge revenue when there are multiple employees and hundreds of documents.

Soring critical documents with the right access are very important, along with that its also important that you improve information access. A good document management strategy should address that very well.

Reduce the cost of accessing documents and information

Searching an email for documents can take from a min to many hours if you have to sieve through each email you received in the past few months. Also getting a Document Management System doesn’t ensure that you can access information easily.

Approximately 10-12% of documents are not found in the first attempt. – Sources: Gartner Group, AIIM, US Dept of Labor, Imaging Magazine, Coopers & Lybrand

To ensure that people can access, search and find the documents easily it’s imperative that in the Document Management Strategy you plan the key metadata for every type of document, which needs an organized team effort.

Your accountant might search for an invoice with the client name + project name + invoice date, where an HR personal will search for a document with the Resource name + Job Role. So sit with your team figure out how they search for the documents and incorporate those into the metadata so that when they search documents are delivered immediately. Improving information access means that you bring in your department heads and knowledge worker while making your Document management Strategy.

Mitigate litigation risks, Retain documents

Storing critical documents has never been more important. You can fined or sued by the employee if you lose an employee record. How to handle documents that are critical to the organization is a very important part of a document management strategy

Ensure that you list out the documents that need to be retained to avoid costly litigations.

Safely store critical documents

Critical documents like your company trade licenses company strategic plan, marketing plan, etc needs to be stored with proper planning. The trade licenses need to be accessed by everyone who is in sales and needs to send it out with a proposal, but they shouldn’t be able to delete it.

Similarly signed PO should be kept safe during the entire duration of a project of the lifetime of that project. Efficient access to information by the right person can save a lot of time for everyone in the organization. While making your Document Management Strategy ensure you address these critical issues.

Purge old deprecated information as per the General Data Protection Regulation

GDPR and the right to delete information is becoming important. Also purging deprecated information is very important to remove the clutter in your organization and related confusions. A good document strategy should address how this can be done. Adherence to GDPR is mandatory in many countries so if you are dealing with vendors and customers in these regions its a must to have a clear plan for GDPR implementation on all the information that you are capturing.

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