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Document management solutions should address basic problems

Posted by mrtroymason 
Document management solutions should address basic problems
August 24, 2011 08:42PM
Just like every company has different needs when it comes to organizing the information they produce, few document management solutions are the same. However, according to a recent Business Insider report, while not identical, there are a few areas that all such tools should cover.

All companies produce a wide range of paper records, whether they are legal records, product plans, internal memos or meeting minutes. No matter how mundane and meaningless, chances are the information should be kept, as it could provide value later on, according to the report.

And regardless of the company's best efforts to focus on digital information, chances are that many of the documents it produces are in paper form. That's why a document management solution is necessary. Such a tool organizes a company's documents and records, easing the process of finding them among overstuffed filing cabinets and a sea of folders.

According to Business Insider, IDC conducted research in the past few years that revealed a company with 1,000 employees wastes between $2.5 and $3.5 million unsuccessfully searching for documents each year. However, that can be avoided with the right tools.

For starters, a document management solution should govern how records are created. This will allow users to find the information and gain value from it at a later date, according to Business Insider. Included in this area is the addition of metadata. Such information as descriptions of the document, when, where and how it was altered should all be included.

Next, workflow should be controlled by document management, the report said. That means processes for the correct movement of a document should be defined, such as its path from creator to editor and on to approvers, according to Business Insider. Functionality for improving collaboration along the line may also be included.

The final two areas are archiving and publishing. Despite documents not being active, compliance management requirements may force a company to keep documents for various reasons. Also, companies may need publishing tools to distribute the document both internally and externally among stakeholders.

Offsite records storage is another important area to be covered under an overall management program. That was recently proven, though unfortunately, by the Foundation for Lincoln Schools in Nebraska. The organization, which is the part of the local public school system that awards scholarships, lost numerous paper records after a fire at its office.
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