Paper or Electronic – The Future of Your Documents

August 14th, 2015

With the world moving closer and closer to everything being electronic; have you developed a strategy for document management?

 

Today’s post is from the  SafeSourcing Archive.

Faxes, letters, catalogs, whitepapers, newspapers, and books are all things that are in the process of becoming extinct or have been converted to a newer electronic version of what used to be.  The world has been electronic for decades and will continue to move in a direction where nothing gets printed on paper any more.  Whether you support or fight this trend, it is clear that the management of corporate documents is becoming a top priority as file cabinets become empty and hard drives get full.  Today we will look at some of the key points to developing a strategy for managing your digital documents and some details to keep in mind when looking for third party suppliers who can provide assistance to help you with the task.

Establish the starting point – One of first strategic decisions you will make in managing your documents electronically will be to decide how far back you are going to go in getting old documents converted to digital format.  Historical contracts, agreements, and other legal documents will likely need to be managed in this process but will not always have an electronic format.  Some strategic partners will recommend starting with all documents right now moving forward and develop a phase II strategy of converting historical documents later.  The strategic partner you select may also have a staff of employees and solutions that will allow for an easier conversion path as well.

Storage Location– Where you store your electronic versions of documents is the most important decision you will make for the security and protection of your company.  Your IT department will likely have input to lend on this matter and a corporate policy on sensitive documents will also come into play here as well.  Whether they are stored digitally in a database, as files in a folder structure, on computers within your company or  by a 3rd party, the location of your files and the backup procedures to ensure they are safe are important pieces that will dictate the solution, process or partner you choose.

Workflow integration – Document storage and management are one piece of this process, the other piece will be how those solutions/processes integrate with the productivity tools you are using today.  Many document management systems have links into the major office suites of tools like Microsoft Office that will allow for links into the document management system within the tool you are using.  This makes checking out and editing files by multiple people much easier.  Worklflow aspects of a document management system are very important as the majority of documents will have multiple people all working together on them and the capability for a system to allow this without overwriting existing edits is critical.

Version Control & Audit Trail – Along with workflow integration the capability of a document management system to allow users to lock files for changes, create new versions and to provide audit trails for all edits should be one that is required in any implementation.  Being able to track and rollout back to previous versions of a document is an important aspect to protecting companies in situations that arise years after an activity was conducted.  Automated alerts and change subscription features are other aspects to link directly to version control and should be investigated in any solution you review.

Managing corporate documents should be a top priority for every company and the keys above should be considered when evaluating current processes and new vendors to help with the process.  For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team in sourcing Document Management Solutions or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

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