Despite the growing recognition that a digital document management system should be an integral part of an organisation’s information management strategy, there are still many that continue to rely on paper files and emails to share and store their most important content.
Documents that are stored across numerous sources or within isolated repositories can cause information management problems and, in some cases, even create potential compliance issues.
In addition, there are storage implications arising from such an approach. For example, as large numbers of employees use email to share documents with other people within the organisation, more and more storage space is taken up by sending, forwarding, and storing emails with large document attachments. There is also a risk that different versions of the same document will be created and stored.
These points illustrate the nature of the challenge facing many organisations. In my view, a valuable first step in tackling this issue could be for IT and information management teams to better understand how their organisation’s paper and electronic files are stored, managed and distributed, and the processes used to do so.
Moreover, it may be helpful to carry out a detailed assessment of the organisation’s content in order to identify elements such as the variety, volume and location of stored documents.
I believe that such an audit, particularly when it forms part of a robust document management programme, can play an important role in helping to organise every piece of content effectively, irrespective of whether the content resides across various repositories, or is distributed across devices such as tablets and smartphones, or cloud-based systems. This will in turn help employees to find the documents they need quickly and easily, thereby enhancing the potential for collaboration and information sharing.
The need for an effective digital document management system is not a specifically new challenge for 2016 but its importance and value to the organisation is growing rapidly.
And as IT management teams begin to set and review their plans for the year ahead, they should consider making the implementation of a document management system a priority for their organisation, particularly in relation to how it can help them to distribute, manage and store their content and move each piece through the document lifecycle from content creation through to archiving of such materials.