Six Best Practices For Adopting Document Management

Like any other project management approach, adopting document management system (DMS) requires that you follow a set of best practices in order to reap some of its promised benefits – eliminate the ‘paper chase’, reduce reliance on paper documents, quickly retrieve even the most historic of information, intelligent filing and archiving, reduce storage space requirements, enhance security, prompt recovery from disasters, stringent compliance, better collaborative authoring of complex documents – and the list goes on and on. Read on for a quick preview of some of the best practices you need to consider before adopting a document management system.

Best Practice Makes Perfect Sense

Enforcing best practices is a sure way to ensure a successful implementation of your document management strategy. Here are some best practices that will give you a head start to successfully adopting document management in your organization.

  • Start off by defining clear objectives and requirements for your organization: What do you want to achieve from a DMS.
  • Next, make sure you understand which business processes need DMS. Not all activity is worth putting under DMS control, so think carefully before deciding what will give your business immediate payback.
  • How you intend to deliver document management across the organization is equally important as why it is needed. Your choices may include in-house solutions, outsourcing, hosting or a combination of these approaches. There is never a one-size-fit all answer – adopt what works best for you.
  • Next, select the most appropriate tool or service for your organization. This is one of the most critical steps in your entire DMS strategy, because your decision will likely impact your work for several years to come. Depending on what business you are in, or what other existing tools or systems you want integrated, you may need to give greater or lesser weight to certain aspects or features available in the systems you review. Make sure the ‘objectives and requirements’ that you and your team identified earlier on are always front and center.
  • Once your tools are identified, you now need to prepare to introduce them into your organization’s workflow. Usually, DMS vendors will have solid implementation methodologies and guidelines to offer. However, working within those guidelines to customize the tools for your unique needs is always a good idea. Training is a crucial element for success, as is publicizing the arrival of the new system.
  • Old habits die hard, and therefore you need to mandate use and monitor adoption to ensure you reap the benefits you initially sought to achieve from implementing a document management system.

Documents are like any critical resource in your company – be it talented staff, intellectual property or high-value inventory. If managed well, documents could be turned into invaluable information that could give you a competitive edge over your competition. Like any successful endeavor, adopting a document management system is best achieved when you stick to simple yet tried and tested best practices.

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