Without proper document management in place, it’s highly likely that your business will perform at suboptimal levels of productivity.As you may expect, this can easily result in missed opportunities (especially when it comes to revenue).
Fortunately, it’s not as difficult as it may first seem to optimize your document management cycle. Let’s explore how you can do so on your own in order to reap the benefits.
What Are the Stages of the Document Management Cycle?
In order to optimize your company’s document lifecycle, you’ll need to have a solid understanding of how the typical document management cycle functions. While it’s easy enough to grasp that it begins with the creation of the document and ends with its archival, not everyone understands the steps in between.
Let’s take a look:
When a document is created, its life cycle begins. There aren’t any other criteria it needs to satisfy other than to exist.
As such, documents of all sizes and importance begin at the same stage.
After a document has been created, it needs to be properly classified. This will allow users to easily discern the document’s contents without having to search through it extensively.
This also plays a large role in storing the document, which is one of the most important steps in the average document’s life cycle.
3. Proper Storage
Depending on how sensitive the data contained within the document is, it may need to be stored somewhere with a high level of security. For instance, a spreadsheet with financial info about the company’s performance is best kept in a password-protected location.
Documents with even more sensitive information may need to be stored in a cloud database to prevent the physical drive from being stolen or damaged.
Even after a document is stored, it may still be required to play necessary roles. Not every document has a daily use, though, which is why it’s crucial to determine the proper storage method.
As long as the document is able to fulfill its intended purpose, it’s unlikely that its storage will result in any issues.
5. Destruction or Archival
Regardless of when it reaches the end of the document management cycle, it is either archived within a safe location or destroyed so that nobody can access it in the future.
What Makes a Good Document Management Cycle?
The stages themselves are relatively straightforward. Optimizing them, though, is notably more complicated.
It’s worth it to take the required measures to improve the life cycle of your documents. Let’s explore a few of the most notable ways you can do so.
Although the term ‘document’ usually implies that the item in question is heavily text-based, this isn’t always true. In fact, any electronic file can be considered a document, such as pictures, charts, etc.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to search through your database for specific documents if all your search criteria only include text.
Optical character recognition (OCR) software exists solely to solve this problem. It analyzes various documents that computers typically can’t read efficiently and converts them into text.
This can drastically reduce the time it takes for you to classify large numbers of non-text files.
Simply organizing your files isn’t enough— you’ll need to tag them accurately so that you know exactly what each file contains.
This doesn’t have to be an extensive process, though. For example, you’re able to assign a specific color as a tag on Mac computers. This provides a relatively easy way to understand what type of file you’re dealing with before you open it.
Although this functionality isn’t available on Windows, you are able to add text-based tags to the file. This will impact their visibility in search results, so tagging multiple files with the same keyword will essentially group them.
Prioritizing Secure Storage
Even smaller businesses should be wary of those who are looking to compromise their company’s important data. This is especially true given that the cybercrime industry is expected to surpass $6 trillion by 2021.
In order to secure your files as efficiently as possible throughout the entire document management cycle, it’s recommended to store them both in a physical and remote location. This will drastically reduce the chance of encountering a situation where you’re unable to manage your files.
When it’s time to archive files that you no longer need, it’s not always feasible to throw them on a hard drive and never access them again. In fact, there are many instances where your company’s employees may need to access old files— especially during client interactions.
So, it’s advised that you set up a hierarchy of who’s able to access files in your archive. This will accomplish two tasks:
- You’ll prevent lower-level employees from gaining access to data they shouldn’t be able to interact with.
- Those who should have access won’t need to ask you about the necessary credentials to view the files.
This attribute in itself can both reduce risk throughout the document management cycle and improve overall efficiency.
Incorporating the Right Document Management Cycle Is Crucial
You won’t be able to reach peak levels of efficiency without placing a heavy emphasis on it. Fortunately, the above information can help you understand the best ways to optimize your company’s document management process.
Want to learn more about how we can help? Feel free to get in touch with us today to see what we can do.
Document Automation Buyer's Guide
Jump-start your Customer Communication Request Ecrion’s 15-point buying guide, which details the top factors companies consider when selecting a Document Automation solution.