Over the years, document management systems have evolved to the point where they've become a major contributing factor to the productivity of your organization... or they can be, under the best possible circumstances.
So how do you lean into the strengths that make these solutions so powerful, taking advantage of those "best circumstances" at every opportunity? By making seven little changes to your approach that add up to a big, big difference before you know it.
Create a Culture that Embraces New Software
By far, the most important thing you can do to make a big difference with regards to your document management system involves embracing new software when the situation calls for it. But don't just drop a new solution into your employee's laps. Start slow, schedule training sessions to make sure people actually know how to use it (something that will certainly increase adoption) and make yourself available to answer any questions or to address any concerns that your employees might have. Change management is key here and how your organization achieves it will be a key to adoption of your document management system.
You should also make sure that you're making collaboration a central focal point of all your document management efforts. It will have an almost immediate impact on content creation, for example, as the quality of the work your employees will be able to deliver will always be better if they can freely partner with one another during the process.
Likewise, employees should understand their role in helping to organize files, label documents correctly, delete duplicate files and more. All of this goes a long way towards turning your document management system into something that drives results.
Enable Better Communication
If you had to make a list of all the elements that are the cornerstone of any successful project, communication would undoubtedly be right at the top. One of the major reasons why projects fall apart usually has to do with a breakdown in communication — which is why your document management system is about to become invaluable to that end.
By making your document management system your central point for communication, you're removing the need for people to interact with multiple applications just to get things done. Plus, you'll be eliminating yet another potential data silo for information to get lost in — which is why this is one step you should take sooner rather than later.
One Community Administrator to Rule Them All
This is one of those little best practices that far too many organizations overlook — having a project leader (otherwise known as a community administrator) to oversee your document management system moving forward.
For the best results, try to find someone who already has an idea of how to operate every aspect of the system. Not only will this help you continue to make sense of things, but it also gives your employees someone they can always turn to if they have any questions or concerns.
The Power of Versioning
Versioning is a terrific change to implement to your document management system because it allows people to make as many changes as they'd like to a file, all without overwriting the original content contained inside it.
At that point, you can always refer back to an older version of a document if you need to — something that is particularly important while editing. Plus, you'll be able to see who changed a file, why and when — all of which can be helpful in the long term.
The Importance of Access Rights
Another important best practice you'll want to implement involves defining access rights for every file and document in your system. Keep in mind that not every employee is going to need access to every last kilobyte of data in order to properly do their jobs.
Not only will access rights help avoid confusion by making sure that nobody can access or even edit a document if they don't expressly need to, but you'll also go a long way towards safeguarding those documents as well.
Tagging, Tagging, Tagging
Finally, one of the most important changes that you can implement to your document management system involves leaning into the importance of metadata and tagging — something that makes finding the critical data you're looking for far, far easier than ever before.
At a minimum, you should eliminate all guesswork from the equation by training your employees how to tag files and other documents the right way at the moment of their creation. Not only can this save a significant amount of time, but it can also increase productivity as well.
As you can see, improving your document management system is less the product of any one major move and is more about a series of smaller ones. But these small tweaks all add up to something far more powerful than they could be on their own — which is a very exciting position for you to be in.