If your company has been around for some time you’ve most likely run into the issue of losing digital documents, mixing up files, experiencing communication issues, etc. The problem often starts with simply trying to find the document you need, but it doesn’t end there. Now you need to be sure the one you found is the correct one. (Just because it says revised doesn’t mean it’s the latest revision.)
The key to identifying the best system to help your organization is to try and define the top two or three pain points that need to be addressed. It’s not often easy to pin point the exact issues, but if you talk to enough individuals in the company the recurring themes typically bubble to the top.
Here are the five most common pain points we see experienced within companies and organizations:
Pain Point #1: Searching For Documents and Drawings Takes Much Too Long
The amount of time a person spends searching for a document or drawing directly relates to cost for the company. In today’s competitive market, access and the ability to find what you’re looking for quickly is crucial. You need a system that allows you to find the right information with the least amount of effort. Searching for a file should not lead you down a rabbit hole. Heuristic searching is more and more the way to go.
Pain Point #2: Not Sure the Found File is the Most Current Version
We often find ourselves asking the question, am I 100 percent sure this is the most current version of the document or drawing? When you’re dealing with dynamic files, drawings or documents, version control becomes an issue.
- Who last edited this document?
- When was this file updated?
- What if I need to share a file with someone but don’t want to grant them access to the network?
- Can I review previous versions and understand what changes were made?
Version control issues are unavoidable if there’s no document management system in place. Working with the wrong version of a document can big a big waste of both company time and money.
Pain Point #3: We Can’t Afford to Have a Security Event or Lose Control of our Files
As cyber-attacks increase, it’s critical to use a software stronger than a simple file share. On top of that, you need to be sure the right people have access to the right files. Balancing the two in a closed network is not always easy.
You should assign the appropriate permissions for team members — who can edit, who can share, who can only view. If a team member isn’t in a position to be altering documents or sharing with others, prevent it from being an option in the first place. The more control you exert from the start, the less likely you are to experience security issues later on.
Pain Point #4: Digital File Organization is such a Mess No One Knows Where Project Files Are
Organizations are littered with file cabinets, laptops, drives and so on. No longer relevant files are kept on network shares far longer than needed.
Perhaps the idea of others saving documents anywhere they want makes you uneasy. Everyone has their own method of organizing — and that can be an issue.
How often do you or others ask the following questions?
- Everyone has their own files that need to be accessible by everyone, how can we centralize all these files into one place?
- How can we prevent accidental overwrites and duplicates?
- I don’t remember the file name. How else can I locate my file?
Pain Point #5: We Can’t Afford a Full-Fledged Document Management and Workflow System
You may be thinking, “We’re a small company; those workflow management providers are too expensive.”
We all know you get what you pay for. Unfortunately, many of the one-size-fits-all providers are priced low, or free, for a reason. Using the wrong document management and workflow system can significantly impact the quality of downstream functions and end up costing the company way more. (We have a great story about a company using a free box service and having one of their customers get access to almost all their production drawings.)
As technology advances and the need for document management increases, more companies are now offering affordable options. Many are priced based on your individual needs as a company. One size does not fit all.
As new technologies emerge, IT companies may shift to adapt, but their main purpose remains the same: to deliver solutions and support necessary for your company to succeed.