Knowledge management is an integral part of any business – some businesses have solid management systems while others require new solutions in the face of a growing and changing information landscape. A document management strategy can help to identify your information managements’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for a more productive process.
A document management system needs to be tailored to your workforce as well as your business. Here is a strategical framework that will help you to put one together.
The first step, as the decision-maker, is to ask yourself some uncomfortable questions. Does your staff spend too much time searching for documents? Is internal document scanning taking up too many productive hours from your staff? Are members of your team not sure what documents to keep and what to get rid of? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be time to consider a new document management system to streamline your operations.
The planning phase – Process/integration/workflow
Embracing the opportunity to change your process will boost long term productivity. Comprehensive workflows and systems are the backbone of a constructive environment. By mapping out the areas of strength and weakness, you can begin to formulate a process. Next, the question of integration arises – this should include the aspects of your business that you would like to add in your information management. Finally, the trickle down to the interaction of your workforce should be considered – who will have access, ‘where’ and ‘to what extent’ are important workflow and security aspects to consider.
The research phase – Know what’s out there
There are a few types of services that are available in this sphere that can help your business. From outsourced document management systems and consulting with document management companies for training on internal management, to self-managed document scanning and archiving processes. That is why it’s essential to understand what the market has to offer. A good step is to consult with a professional document management company to find a solution that can be integrated with your current workflows and frameworks. Whether you need mobile access to live file solutions or simple electronic retrieval of digitised files, there are levels of services and information types that will need evaluation before they are implemented. Small details such as the decision to move to offsite archive storage can have a genuine impact on the functionality of your business, so it’s crucial that the research phase is comprehensive and thorough.
The implementation phase – Scope, timing and training
Once you have decided on the right process, tailored for your business and operational needs, it’s time to move on to the implementation phase. This facet of the strategy can tend to evolve; you will also need input from multiple departments to establish a way of working that integrates everyone’s needs. Assign a person in charge per team to handle the process of implementation and provide useful feedback as it happens.
Step 1 is the Scope: Carefully assess the document management project as a whole. Address what you are trying to achieve and how you plan to execute it.
Step 2 is the Map: Plan workflows and assign the person in charge of each team with the integration framework.
Step 3 is the Timing: Make sure to implement the changes at a time that’s most suitable for your business. Avoid busy seasons for introducing change as it can initially slow down output.
Step 4 is the Training: Supply the operational leads with the tools and training they need to achieve efficiency. Then begin to integrate the process into the broader teams. After the new system has been in use for a while, gather feedback about its functionality and retrain on any areas of concern.
A strategical framework can help smooth the move to an updated document management system that works for your workforce and your operational bottom line.