Managing documents has never been easy. It’s a capacity that many companies spent years developing back in the old days when the business world hadn’t gone fully digital. They had sophisticated filing systems, archives and even employed people who did nothing all day but manage documents.
Today, though, companies still experience problems. Not only are files and folders stored on computers, but they’re also on mobile devices, on multiple cloud platforms. Not only that, but files and folders usually have to be shared among employees on a variety of digital platforms, meaning that the complexity has risen a great deal.
Many businesses are suffering from document overload. They’re now generating so many documents that it’s hard to keep track of them, who needs access to what, and where are the files are stored.
If that sounds like you, fear not. Here are some strategies to help people suffering from document overload.
Regularly Backup Your Files
Backing up files can be a time-consuming process. But once you get into a rhythm, it’s actually easier than you think. Most companies follow a strict process of backing up their files every couple of weeks or so. Develop this capability in-house and make sure that you’ve got a team of people who can carry out this work quickly and efficiently.
If you’re using a cloud provider, you can even outsource this function to them. Smaller companies may prefer this method to employing their own people.
One of the main mistakes that companies make when it comes to their files is that they don’t cull files when they’re no longer in use. Instead, they keep literally every document ever created by the firm, which takes up unnecessary space on hard drives and makes folders even more cluttered than they need to be.
Culling files should be something that everybody in your organization is responsible for. Everybody should be trained to delete files that are unlikely to be needed again. The trick here, of course, is knowing which files should be deleted. Deleting old invoices is probably a bad idea, given the proclivity of tax agencies to want to investigate every last transaction your business engaged in. Create a folder called “Old” and get employees to dump old files in there, just in case.
Create A Nested Folder System
Part of the reason folders get so cluttered is because they’re very “catch-all.” For instance, a folder called “business” could contain just about anything.
If appropriate, try nesting your folders by company department. Then get department chiefs to come up with appropriate sub-folders based on their operations. For instance, the marketing department could have folders labeled “content,” “strategy” and “people” with subfolders in each.
The goal is ultimate to ensure that there are folders for every file. Orphan files look ugly and clutter up your document management.
Use Software To Manage High Volume Documents
According to http://symfact.com/third-party-risk-management-software/ companies can struggle to manage high-frequency documents, like supplier invoices. Failing to manage these can, in turn, mean missed deadlines and poor relationships with vendors. As a result, it’s imperative to ensure that your document management system is as good as it can be. Fortunately, there are software solutions out there that will manage documents for you, set reminders, and help you keep your relationship with suppliers healthy.
Keep All Documents In A Single Root Directory
When Microsoft designed Windows, they wanted to give the user maximum freedom to manage and organize their files as they wanted. And while this is helpful, it can also lead to administrate headaches for businesses. Often, there’s nothing stopping employees from saving files to local drives, different folders outside of “My Documents” and the desktop. Because of this, CIOs and other managers need to insist that documents are confined to a single root directly says https://www.thebalance.com/computer-file-management-tips-2948083. Create a root folder entitled “shared documents” and make sure that all employee documents are filed there. Not only does this make for a less cluttered hard drive, but it also makes it easier to run backups.
Use A Logical Hierarchy
Files and documents should be filed away according to a strict hierarchy. This should be logical and designed so that everybody in your organization can understand it, even newcomers. As such, don’t use abbreviations, like “BMS” as some people won’t know what that means.
There are no set rules for how to structure the hierarchy: it’ll depend on the nature of your business and the extent of your directory. High-level folders should be broad, with increasingly specific folders as you go down.