Document Management isn’t new but the need for it is greater than ever with the management of unstructured data out of control more than ever.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How many laptops does my organization have?
  • How many documents reside on those laptops?
  • Which of those documents are linked to regulatory compliance?
  • Which of those would help other employees?
  • How many people have access to those documents?
  • How many documents (Knowledge, legal documents etc…) are deleted each year without anyone knowing?
  • How much money could you save by storing critical documents in a central repository so they can be leveraged by other employees?
  • How many file shares do I have? What do I keep, what do I delete?
  • How many public folders do I have? What do I keep, what do I delete?
  • What are my legal obligations?
  • What are my freedom of information obligations?

You may have gone through this process already and realize the opportunity and the obstacles ahead of you!

Managing documents is a pervasive problem within organizations, business owners hear about the need for managing, finding and retaining documents. Just about every line of business has a need for document management and they turn to IT for help.

Now add the complexity of file shares and public folders – most companies are at a loss as to how to deal with that mess. TBs of data to deal with while not knowing if it’s valuable to the organization or should be disposed of. Additionally, the impact to custom applications that dumped the data their to begin with.

Generally IT’s approach is to product evaluations focus on how well a tool supports
managing, finding, and retaining documents. Sounds like a good approach? Not really, it only addresses the toolset and not what the business wants to accomplish. This is why the business usually abandons the solution after a short period of usage.

So how do you avoid a wasted investment and embarrassment? Address the following:

  • Each business has a different set of needs and priorities – each department has different jobs goals and external factors influencing it. A structured approach is required to articulate and agree upon their specific needs and priorities.
  • Corporate mandates negatively impacted the user experience – navigating a file share vs a document management systems is very different. File shares make use of a folder hierarchy and Document Management systems use classifications schemes (classes, folders and meta data). Unless the controlled vocabulary maps to the businesses vocabulary users wont be able to find their documents. Also, once disposition schedules execute, users files will begin to disappear which may lead to negative perceptions regarding document availability.
  • Document Management toolset usability problems – The toolset must be available from the users common set of tools in which they work in daily. Most people work in Microsoft Office and therefore the integration must be seamless. Failure to do so means that the users daily routine is impacted – change = negative perceptions.

After digesting the aforementioned points, you begin to realize that in order to be successful IT must work closely with the Business to develop their acumen specific to each business. This is the only way Document Management investments will be utilized and widespread compliance achieved.

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