10 Signs Your Business Needs a Document Management System

Almost every business from any industry, whether it be Accounting, Insurance, Finance, Medical, Engineering, Construction, etc, will create and store digital documents. It will generate reports, its staff will write business papers, create marketing collateral, and send and receive email correspondence. All these business documents need to be stored securely, organised, managed and maintained somewhere!...

10 Signs Your Business Needs a Document Management System

Almost every business from any industry, whether it be Accounting, Insurance, Finance, Medical, Engineering, Construction, etc, will create and store digital documents. It will generate reports, its staff will write business papers, create marketing collateral, and send and receive email correspondence.

All these business documents need to be stored securely, organised, managed and maintained somewhere!

Managing documents can equate to a considerable amount of administration for you and your employees. So, it makes sense that the services you use are easy to manage, can store all your business documents and files easily and provide your business secure access, at any time, from anywhere and on any device.

1 – Too many folders to remember
If you are not using a Document Management System already, you are most likely using a computer and its file manager to store and manage your files. Most businesses tend to use a separate folder for each client. This is a reasonable approach. However, in time as more and more files are added, these folders will no longer offer a uniform hierarchy. This will make it difficult for users to find the location of files located in different ‘client folders’. The result will be a considerable amount of time being wasted.

2 – Growing number of files and formats
From the moment a business is established, the number of documents it has to organise and manage increases and over time, as the business grows, the number of documents multiply and keep accumulating, to an extent where a system will have to be initiated to manage these files.

3 – Documents with duplicate names
File naming conventions are often implemented in businesses. This process is designed to make it easier to identify files and find where they are stored on a file server. However, this means you have to know exactly what the file name is to find it. This is a precise search method and is not really suited to generic searches where the exact file name is unknown! Also, it does not take emails into account – the most common form of client communication saved in a business!

4 – Duplication of files
File duplication is a common problem for many businesses. The same files can be easily opened and saved by different users. Files can be attached to emails and sent to colleagues for review, effectively duplicating a file in another location – an email server, and then duplicated again when the attached file(s) is saved somewhere.

5 – Managing version control
Many businesses, duplicate files as a way to create another version of that same file. This allows modifications and updates to be made to standard files, such as terms and conditions or a sales contract, shared in a business. However, this also leads to problems inherent with versioning workflow where an older version of a file may inadvertently be modified, and due to date modification, it could be identified as the latest version. This is not great if you are sending out the latest Terms & Conditions to clients! This also does not help when and if you need to find the actual latest version, or when you need to identify who made the changes!

6 – Lack of refined controls for access management
Though it is not entirely impossible to control who accesses what documents and folders on a file server, it does require a good level of technical knowledge and understanding of user roles and the permissions they have to access certain areas of a file server. Most businesses will rely on an IT expert or IT support service to manage user access. Most DMS will offer a robust user access management system providing an audit trail of activity recorded against this file.

7 – Too much time spent searching because data is hard to find!
A study conducted by McKinsey found that so-called knowledge workers’ spent 19% of their time searching and gathering information. In an IDC study, the results found that “data professionals are losing 50% of their time every week” — 30% searching for, governing and preparing data plus 20% duplicating work. [Source: Forbes] Why not ask your staff and find out from your team how much time they spend searching for through client files and looking for documents?

8 – Bottlenecking your operational capabilities
There are limited hours in a working week. Time spent searching for information will cause bottlenecks and affect efficiency. This will directly impact productivity, the number of clients you can manage or the number of cases that can be managed. Consequently, this will impact quality of service and ultimately the bottom line!

9 – Operational flexibility
As a business grows, there is a good chance that new offices will be opened. There may be a requirement to work from specific client locations or even from home. So, before this time comes, it makes sense to build in business flexibility so that as an organisation grows and changes, that ability to store, share, search and work on business documents information is made easy. A simple file system and file explorer is unlikely to be capable of managing your new requirements without significant assistance from costly IT experts.

10 – File security
Data loss is a risk that businesses cannot afford to overlook. It may seem like an unnecessary cost initially, but if client files and documents are lost, there is a good chance they may be lost forever. When this happens, the result normally equates to a significant loss in a business! So, it makes sense to ensure files are backed up properly. Ensure corrupted files and files that are accidentally deleted can be recovered. Ensure hardware is maintained to avoid incidents of disc corruption. Implement the use of security software, to mitigate ransomware attacks and the effects of viruses. The threats are endless!

Summary
These are just 10 points that highlight some of the frailties of managing your own IT infrastructure and internal IT services. So, it makes sense to consider other options, a SaaS solution, a cloud-based document management system. Read more about the benefits of implementing a document management system here.