Every year, it is estimated over 30 billion original documents are created, according to the McKinsey Global Institute. 85% of the documents are not retrieved, 50% are duplicates, and 60% of stored documents are obsolete. Yet document management is often overlooked and not considered of high-value.
A well-run Document Management (DM) strategy can address numerous challenges including compliance requirements (e.g. GDPR) and furthering your organization’s digital journey. This post discusses more current challenges in today’s Document Management environment and how companies should address these issues.
Document Management – What is it about?
Document Management, an important component of Enterprise Content Management, can also be defined as the management of enterprise documents in digital or analog format. Today’s world enables access to more information than ever before and most of it is not being created by the companies themselves.
With growing digitalization, organizations are challenged by enormous amounts of unstructured information residing in numerous platforms. Growing amounts of unstructured data, uncleansed systems and new technologies further stress the need for sophisticated DM within organizations.
Current Challenges in Document Management – Source: CAMELOT Management Consultants
From our previous experience with DM projects with fortune 500 companies across industries, we have developed a list of common challenges/pain points that organizations typically run into with regards to the area of document management.
- Adhering to security & compliance requirements/standards – Lack of concept for long term filing & observance to legal requirements. This can result in exposed sensitive & confidential information to unintended audiences
- Lack of a single source of truth – Content is spread across disparate repositories. The location of company documents could span anywhere from company internal networks to personal computers (e.g. solely in emails) resulting in countless hours spent attempting to locate documents, which means loss of productivity
- Antiquated technology & widespread use of file servers – Lack of search capability, uncontrollable document distribution, and unaligned processes are just a few of the many disadvantages of using an archaic DM system
- Missing standardization in terms of structure, organization & versioning – Which business roles are involved in the process? How are different drafts & versions of a document managed? Organizations face a lack of clarity around ownership and accountability of documents
- Deciding between inhouse DM vs. Cloud DM – Many companies fear the risk of cloud security or reliability on the cloud provider while not having the full inhouse capabilities to house & manage an internal document management system
How Can Your Organization Begin to Address These Issues?
Identifying the value in developing a document management concept can yield great results for companies. The data and information management community from CAMELOT has identified the following as document management best practices:
- Consistent naming guidelines
- Establishing naming procedures for employees as well as effective indexing in order to ensure easy retrieval of documents
- Appropriate user authorizations & access
- Develop role-based security controls that limit access to sensitive documents and secure storage of all company documents
- Retention & compliance policies
- Establishing policies that conform to industry regulations and set retention & destruction schedules (e.g. GDPR)
- Metadata strategy
- Maintaining metadata will help users locate documents more efficiently as well as replace folder structure in your Document Management System (DMS)
- Defined lifecycle processes
- Clearly established end-to-end processes stating how to obtain analog documents (e.g. scanning process) where to store, who has access to, and what action needs to be executed on a document at each stage of its life cycle
- Distinct approval procedure (4-eyes principle)
- Quality management
- Establishing guidelines for all documents entering a Document Management System (DMS) and defining KPIs & business rules for completeness of documents
- Efficient collaboration
- Assure well-organized collaboration anywhere, anytime
- Support of mobile devices, enable parallel changes as well as merging changes from other users while they are offline
- Consider access for external users (e.g. via supplier self-service in a SRM system)
CAMELOT Framework: Your Solution to Document Management Excellence
In short, CAMELOT’s Holistic Document Management Approach is to manage documents efficiently in the environment of processes, organization and IT. Our Document Management Framework (picture below) is broken down into four areas: External Requirements, Document Organization, Process Organization and Document Management System.
The first pillar, External Requirements, focuses on regularity, integrity and authentication. Legal requirements either established by government agencies, financial authorities, or any other entity must be adhered to. Retention requirements stating what specific organizational, commercial and legal documents must be retained and for how long must also be taken into consideration to avoid any penalties.
Document Organization, the second pillar, encompasses all administrative & organizational aspects including documents in scope, document classification and structure. General specifications of the document organization need to be holistically applied in the overall DM framework.
The third pillar, Process Organization, harmonizes the organizational technical aspects of document management. Defining the processes that need to be supported and how they work, as well as aligning DM processes with BPM are some of the activities conducted.
Finally, the last pillar is the DM system. DMS acts as an interface between external requirements, document organization and process organization by depicting their underlying structure and definitions. DM systems provide features such as document versioning, workflow automation, document search & tracking, audit trails and indexing. These systems have the ability to automate specific pieces of the DM process including document conversion, classification of documents, metadata capture, document distribution, etc.
Overall, developing and implementing an effective Document Management strategy can yield great benefits such as:
- Increased efficiency due to less hours spent on document search and tracking
- Greater document security & compliance adherence
- Easier collaboration amongst colleagues
- Decentralized information access
- Automated processes
CAMELOT’s Document Management Framework – Source: CAMELOT Management Consultants
The time to take the next step is now. Improving your organization’s Document Management practices can be used as a lever for increasing competitive advantage and can act as a key differentiator. By establishing a holistic approach that encompasses people, process, organization and technology, CAMELOT can help your organization achieve sustained Document Management success.
The author would like to thank Evan Pitt for his contribution & support of this blog post.