Every business should have a proper Document Management System (DMS). Without it, it’s easy to get lost in the massive amount of data you gather. Still, many businesses don’t have a centralized DMS to keep everything neatly organized. Instead, business owners and their teams rely on different personal accounts to store and manage documents.
This isn’t sustainable, as the amount of data that businesses need to have on record will only keep growing. If you don’t have a comprehensive DMS, you’re bound to get overwhelmed, which can cause all kinds of bottlenecks in your business.
But having a DMS doesn’t mean much if you don’t manage it properly. Here are some common mistakes that businesses make when it comes to document management and how to prevent them.
1. Not Training Their Staff on the Best Document Management Practices
Is there a naming structure in place that your team can follow when uploading documents? Do they use tags to organize the company’s files and make them readily available?
If the answer to these questions is “no,” you’ll want to make staff training one of your top priorities.
There’s a high chance that many people have access to your DMS and can upload files to it. Without a uniform set of rules, collaboration becomes extremely hard. If only the person who uploaded the document knows where it is, accessing relevant documentation will take far too long.
To eliminate confusion, you should at least have some conventions for uploading files. Make sure that everyone is on the same page as to how they should file and access documents, and that all the necessary metadata is there.
Always keep things simple when setting up a workflow for your team to follow. Complex DMS implementations can backfire and cause even more confusion.
2. Not Configuring Their Document Management System
Are you taking full advantage of your DMS? Many businesses don’t, mainly because they use their DMS as provided. They never fully change any default functions, treating it like an app rather than a full-fledged system. If this goes for you, there’s a high chance you could be getting more out of your DMS. Default functions might be getting the job done, but they can’t account for some specific needs you may have. This is why you should configure your DMS to fit your unique processes.
Take contract management as an example. An extremely useful feature of a good DMS is to notify you within a certain timeframe that a contract is about to expire. In many cases, you wouldn’t get this option by default; you’d have to configure it.
Your DMS might be packed with useful functions you’re unaware of. You can have hassle-free document management processes by assessing your needs more carefully and looking at the full spectrum of your DMS’s features.
3. Bogging Down Their DMS
There are many ways to overwhelm your DMS. The most common is not removing the files that you don’t need anymore or having lots of versions of the same document you don’t need. Your DMS probably saves older versions of documents as you change them. If something isn’t approved, there’s no need to create an entirely new version. A much better alternative is to go back to the previous version and make the necessary changes.
Another practice you should avoid whenever possible is filling up the repository with too many permissions. Instead of giving different levels of access to all your team members, you can group files into folders for which you’ll set specific permission. You can then add users you’d like to access the folder.
As for old files, it’s understandable to think that you might need them at some point, even though there’s a higher chance you won’t. If you don’t want to delete such files entirely, you can store them externally to free up your DMS a bit.
4. Not Focusing on Security
Much like you wouldn’t leave a sensitive paper document sitting on the table, you shouldn’t leave digital docs unattended. While a solid DMS will come with a plethora of security features, this doesn’t mean you can completely forget about this aspect of document management.
If you’re not sure how to keep your documents protected, here are some tips:
- Use encrypted storage – Whether your files are on a cloud or hardware, you need to ensure proper encryption is in place. You’ll also want to implement end-to-end encryption when sending files.
- Use version control – Sending a sensitive file across multiple users increases the risk of confidential data being exposed or tampered with. With version control, everyone can make changes directly to the doc, and you can see its entire history.
- Choose DMS sharing over email – Email is far from the most secure method to transfer files. It’s one of the key entryways for hackers to get a hold of sensitive information. Whenever possible, use your DMS’s external and internal sharing features.
Use Your DMS to the Fullest
Implementing a DMS doesn’t mean your document management efforts are over. In fact, this is just the starting point. Maintaining your DMS and ensuring that everyone in your organization knows how to use it properly is critical to effective document management.
Want to learn more about the best document management practices and see how they can help your Sacramento company? Feel free to reach out to Buckmaster, and our team will give you all the information you need.