By Hellen Lubanga
An electronic file manager, often known as a document management system (DMS), is an automated solution for storing, managing, safeguarding, and grouping files. Document management software entails features such as organizing, securing, capturing, digitizing, labeling, and authorizing your digital documents.
But how do you know that you are prepared for a DMS system? The easiest way to figure this out is by taking a deeper look at your current processes and their efficiency. After your internal audit, you will likely need to onboard a DMS system if:
1. You have too many folders to keep track of.
Before investing in electronic file management software, chances are you are using a desktop or laptop. The majority of organizations keep a distinct folder for each client. This is a sensible strategy in the short term. As additional files are uploaded, however, these directories will no longer provide a consistent structure. Users will have a hard time locating files in different “client directories” as a result of this. As a result, a significant amount of time will be wasted.
2. You have started to forget the names of your files.
In most firms, pre-determined file naming standards are used. This procedure is intended to make it simpler to identify files and locate them on a file server. However, in order to locate the file, you must know its specific name, which isn’t well suited to general searches if the exact file name isn’t known. A quality DMS will not need you to know the exact name of the file, as you can just type in related tags and pick from the various suggestions brought up.
3. File duplication is proving to be a recurrent problem.
If you work in a business where there is intense collaboration on projects, then duplication of documents is unavoidable. With a regular computer server, your employees would have to download the files being worked on before sharing them with the next person. This means they would have the unedited version somewhere in their email, plus a new version they have worked on. Now replicate this for the five to ten employees (or even more in some instances) and imagine the number of duplicates in existence. Accounting for all versions would be quite a headache!
4. Access control and management is a challenge
Controlling who has access to what documents and folders in your company can be quite tedious if you don’t have an IT person on board responsible for managing access permissions, access requests, and access revoking. The good news is that the majority of DMS have a strong user access management system that includes an audit trail of activities against this file. This means not only can you grant or revoke access with a few simple clicks, but you can also keep a trail of when and how the permission was handled. Convenient, right?
5. You are wasting too much time searching for the information you need.
Time is finite. Normal workdays last about 9 to 10 hours, meaning the amount of time you have to finish work (unless you work overtime) is limited. By spending large amounts of time constantly tracking down information, the efficiency of your business is greatly affected, which in turn impacts the quality of your service and eventually your income. At first, it may not seem like a lot, but when you do the math, it does add up.
Say you spend an average of 4 minutes looking for a file, and you use approximately two files an hour. That’s 8 minutes in an hour. In a full 10-hour work day, that’s 80 minutes. In a month, that is 2480 minutes. Now multiply this by the number of employees you have and it should help you visualize just how much time file searching consumes.
6. The company has plans to expand in the future.
As a business grows, chances are that additional branches are likely to be opened at different locations. Or maybe to improve productivity, the company could include a work from home policy. Whatever the case, it would make much more sense to have one cloud-based system than multiple systems all over the place.
7. Company Files keep disappearing.
When you start to realize that documents are being misplaced, then it is definitely time to look into getting a DMS. Not only will this store backups of your documents for years, but you will also reduce the chances of a data leak, thus saving you millions in damage control and legal fees. (Read our article about paper data breaches to learn more.)