Organization is a crucial aspect of managing a successful business. Though every company has different organizational requirements, how one tracks, stores and manages documents can significantly impact operational efficiency.
Various small businesses streamline their processes using DMSs (document management systems). There is a wide range of document management systems available for business owners. However, before implementing one in your company, it’s crucial to learn the importance of document management.
Why Document Management Is Critical to Small Business Success
When executing proper document management, business owners can reap several benefits for their organization. For example, it can reduce productivity bottlenecks — 83% of employees use up time to recreate missing documents. Additionally, it keeps teams informed and makes it easier to track essential information.
Though tracking and organizing your files with a DMS may come as an afterthought, taking the time to sort them can exponentially save businesses time and money. Here’s a further look at how vital document management can be:
- Enhance time allocation: It can take hours to source files if not managed correctly. By adopting a document management solution, you can avoid this pitfall.
- Successfully index content: When using a DMS, you can easily label and find documents.
- Generate reports: This is another timely task you can streamline with document management. A DMS can automate this task and allow you to customize reports.
- Added security: Data breaches are a common occurrence. However, document management systems maintain security to prevent hackers from stealing sensitive data.
- Reduced file redundancy: Storing the same information in multiple places results in accidentally accessing old files or deleting the wrong versions. A DMS can prevent these mishaps and minimize confusion.
How To Effectively Manage Documents With a Filing System
A proper filing system is necessary for small businesses. To file documents accordingly, location, access and order are the key elements.
For instance, the files should be close to employees who need access. It would also help if you organized them to increase efficiency and productivity. Organizing would include how you identify them and how long you keep your documents. You also need an orderly structure to ensure you can locate them effortlessly.
The overall process of filing is generally the same across most companies. However, you’ll need to factor in your needs — such as whether to file documents by name, chronologically or numerically.
Once you have determined a sound filing system, your team needs to use it consistently across the board. Therefore, you may need to create standardized templates for filing and compliance from your employees.
Why Your Company Should Use a Document Management System
As a small-business owner, you may consider using a document management system to keep your files organized. A DMS plays a crucial role in filing. The software can help you digitize files, turning your office paperless.
While this feature is excellent for the environment, it also benefits your business. Document management software has scanning capabilities and allows you to manage all files in one place. As a result, you can streamline your workflow and improve productivity.
Features to Look for in a Document Management System
Assessing your document management needs is vital if you decide to invest in a DMS for your business. Not all document management platforms are the same. Therefore, it helps to identify the features you need to learn which program will align best with your processes.
As your business scales, investing in a DMS that can grow with it is essential. Otherwise, you’ll eventually have to switch to a different software — which could be a hassle in the long run. When choosing a DMS, determine if it has the advanced features you’ll need to implement once your business expands.
Security and Recovery
One of the most important features a DMS must have is security. The last thing you need is a data breach of all your digital files. Consider looking for software that focuses on protecting your information.
Ease of use should be another key feature of your document management system. Your team should be able to access, manage and navigate documents with ease.
However, it’s essential to be realistic with your budget when planning on using resources. If you don’t have much, you might consider using a web-based DMS instead of an in-house solution.
Collaboration and Integration
Chances are, you will have different departments using the same DMS across the company. When looking at a DMS to invest in, it should have collaboration and integration features. For instance, real-time editing, file-sharing and integrated plug-ins will be helpful to your team. It should also have abilities to add and restrict user access to certain documents.
Version control is another key feature to have in document management. Having the latest version of a filed document is crucial, whether viewing or editing.
It’s also useful to have features that allow you to download documents in different formats — and return to older versions with saved “history.” Often, an employee will delete information by mistake. Therefore, reverting to the old version can help save time.
A DMS should also have tracking features that allow you to view who was the last person to work on the document. This can help reduce the risk of business errors.
Leverage Document Management for Business Growth
A strategic filing system can save your organization the headache of spending too much time and valuable resources on document management. Many businesses invest in document management systems. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to look into one.
While there is an upfront fee to purchase a DMS, it can significantly benefit your business in the long run. Yet, before you invest in a DMS, consider the costs and look closely at your budget. You’ll likely find the most appropriate solution within your budget.
⸻ Author Bio ⸻ ⸻
April Miller is a senior writer at ReHack.com. She specializes where she specializes in writing about business technology. In Particular, she enjoys exploring the wide range of different technologies in the workplace and how they affect companies and employees.