During a peak business activity period a critical production issue started, it turned out to be an issue due to a change which was introduced in the last quarter. The support team was mobilized quickly and debugging started. To the team’s surprise, the current state document didn’t have any details about this change. After a lot of struggle and investigation, the documents related to the changed was found in one of the developer’s local machine- it took a couple of days to resolve the issue which could have been solved in a few hours.
In another unique scenario – a submarine encountered an issue amid the Pacific Ocean. When the engineers started investigating the issue, they needed the diagram of the engine. Quickly the design diagram was found however the document had the whole engine segment missing as it was replaced recently during regular and proactive maintenance activity. Needless to say, the team had a very tough time finding the correct diagram and map which was relevant.
We have numerous such activities in our teams or wider teams across the organizations – not to mention the mature and large organizations.
You would have already guessed the core issue common in the outlined examples and that is – lack of a good Document Management System.
Every business today uses some form of a document management system to archive and manage the innumerable documents generated every day. From paper-based filing systems to electronic document management to customized content management systems, our ability to manage various forms of data like texts, videos, and voice recordings has come a long way.
A structured document management system is vital to facilitating smooth business operations. Especially in today’s complex and collaborative work areas where document production and sharing are extremely rapid and sophisticated. Consequently, an organization’s document management systems must also evolve at the same pace. In this article, we deep-dive into some of the most common and persistent challenges a business faces when it comes to document management and how they can be addressed to make it a success in our personal and professional life which would eventually cascade the benefits to our organizations.
“In a nutshell, if all of us are at the same page in the same document we have a great Document Management System “
Ashok Mulchandani, Business Partner, Aurion Systems PTY LTD
6 Biggest Document Management Challenges
- Confusion about the latest revision or version
When you finally locate the document, you’ve spent hours searching for, you are not confident if this is the most current version? Or is there another version somewhere else within the organization?
2. Lack of Search Functionality
Since the data is scattered in forms of many types and large volumes, we always have a tough time searching for the right document based on some piece of existing information. Additionally, the lack of metadata makes it even tougher to search within the large pool of data and documents.
3. Declined Productivity
We never had it so difficult to locate the right document, edit the right version, and avoid printing, scanning, and attaching documents to emails. These challenges are robbing of our overall productivity on a regular basis.
4. Compromised Security
Security has always been the top priority for every organization. Documents floating around in paper or digital format create an immense risk for a company’s sensitive and confidential information. Therefore, security around how documents are being shared, published, and stored is always a concern.
5. Lack of Integration Capability
The utilization of data through different stakeholders’ lenses is paramount for decision-making. Hence seamless integration with different systems and business applications is needed for better control over the data and improved decision-making ability.
6. Lack of Collaboration Capability
Often times a document is a shared responsibility of many departments or parties within an organization and this leads to back-and-forth communication and generation of multiple versions of the same document – which eventually is a very time-consuming and confusing process hampering the productivity of the team in a traditional document management system.
Key Features & Benefits of An Effective Document Management System
A modern cloud-based document management system offers great features for intelligent information management practices. A DMS should make our work easier, more productive, more efficient, saving hours of tedious tasks by locating the documents quickly. The following infographic provides some key features and benefits of an effective Document Management System:
- Comprehensive Search & Metadata: An effective DMS enables users to locate documents and information based on document identifiers, metadata, relationships, and content. Since DMS provides facilities to tag information with metadata, the same information or documents can be searched for and found using different search criteria.
- Integrations with Other Systems: Effective document management systems integrate with other business systems and applications such as email, network folders, CRM, ERP, legacy ECM, and others.
- Version control: A DMS automatically maintains and tracks all the versions of documents in the sequence of changes made make it easy to see what has changed, who did it, and when the changes were made.
- Regulatory compliance support: For the organizations operated in a heavily regulated industry, a document management system can help reduce the risk of non-compliance. The system allows users to streamline compliance processes by automating audit trails, managing their information, and creating workflows.
- Easy Scalability: While selecting a DMS we should ensure that it offers automatic scalability of the system so that it can accommodate business growth or change quickly.
- Security: A DMS provides robust security features like access permissions and control features, segregation of roles and duties, audit trails, federated authentication, enterprise file encryption in transit and at rest, intrusion detection mechanism, data loss prevention, and high availability.
- Easy Collaboration: A DMS gives us a centralized platform that improves collaboration and communication with the team. It simplifies for users to share and collaborate on documents — with features like project document management, task tracking, workflows, co-authoring, and easy sharing of documents between users.
- Workflows for Traceability: A DMS with workflow automation helps ensure consistency by tracking the progress of every step of a business process. Workflow automation streamlines common business processes — such as contract approvals, controlled content, and billing — sending notifications when a task needs to be completed.
- Remote Accessibility: Using a cloud-based document management system, you can access your files from anywhere, on any device. That means you can work remotely from the office, home, airport, hotel, or coffee shop whenever you want.
How to start and not stop at the end of this article piece?
I would recommend starting simply by just taking this approach, which has negligible risk, simple and yet an amazingly effective positive step towards our goal of a proactive strategy
A) Take pen-paper or manual method (start now)
Start implementing the recommended strategy using your existing technology resources for a known and low-risk segment of customers within your business to find out what works and what doesn’t. Indeed, this causes efforts, but this will pave the way for better clarity around unknown risks.
B) Take help from technology
Work towards making it unattended, assisted by using Super-fast digital solution such that it works autonomously without losing its efficacy by engaging a solid, affordable Business and Technology solution partner.
If you are a CEO/COO/CIO/Managing Director/General Manager who is spending more time in reactive/preventive mode than future-facing, please reach out for an exploratory conversation.
Our Contact details
Pradeep Mishra (Director and Co-founder)
Ashok Mulchandani (Partner – Business Success and Strategic Transformation)
Amit Bhagat (Director – Business Strategy)
Please feel free to leave your suggestions and thoughts in the comment box below!