How to Identify and Improve Your Document Management Workflow

Posted by Kurt Meemken on January 6, 2015

Document management solutions are designed to provide your company with better business management and organization capabilities. Implementing a document management solution offers your company a number of benefits, but if it is done incorrectly it will create more headaches for you and your employees than it solves.

document_management_workflow_2As you consider a new document management workflow solution, it is imperative that you first assess the state of your current document management techniques. If you don’t correctly identify your current workflow process and document management style, you may end up implementing a workflow that is ineffective for your company. With a clear vision of your company’s workflow, you’ll gain a better understanding of your business and improve overall performance with your new system.

Do You Have Security Protocols?

Depending upon your industry, document security compliance and regulatory demands will play a role in selecting the solution that best suits your business. For example, a healthcare firm must follow the guidelines set forth under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to protect a patient’s private information. A good place to start when analyzing your document management workflow is with security protocols.

Whether your company handles sensitive patient records or deals with tax/accounting paperwork from individuals or other firms, it is vital that your document management workflow solution provides reliable tools for the safe transmission and storage of sensitive documents.

Do You Value Collaboration?

Collaboration is a valuable asset in many corporations because it allows employees to share files and edit group documents without wasting time or creating multiple versions of the same document. However, this doesn’t mean that every company considers strong collaboration tools to be a must-have item. When selecting a new document management workflow solution, you’ll need to assess the importance of collaboration tools for you company. Do you need/want to share documents in real time? Is collective editing important? The answers to these questions will help guide your business toward the right solution.

Do Third-Party Vendors Need Access?

There are two key factors to consider when analyzing access to business documents: internal and external access. From an internal perspective, is there a need within the company to provide employees with both on-site access (via workstations on the company network) and mobile access via a secure connection on a web browser, smartphone or tablet?

What about external, third-party vendors? If you have clients, either customers or vendors, that require access to your documents, you’ll need a system that provides them with secure access. One such example would be a web portal that gives your company the ability to push documents through a website to allow secure client access.

What about Integration?

Your document management workflow solution may need to integrate with other systems in use in your office. For example, if you operate an accounting firm, you may desire a document management system that integrates easily with programs such as QuickBooks to help manage tax, audit and accounting documents. Additionally, you may find that integration with your email system is beneficial to file sharing.

File Retention and Document Purging

Every company has a different policy for record retention and disposal. While some firms need to retain documents for months, if not years, others have no need for long-term storage. In either case, there will be a need to properly dispose of documents once they are no longer needed. Depending on the policies and regulations that apply to your industry, a document management workflow solution can aid in this process.

The right workflow solution will allow your employees to set firm policies for document retention periods when new files are created. It can also establish a system for reviewing files before purging, while also providing guidance on the destruction of backup and archive versions of documents.

Current Paper Processes

Last but not least, analyze the manner in which your company currently handles paper documents. Has your business already gone paperless? Or are there still certain components, such as PTO requests and invoices that are completed and submitted on paper? Document management workflow can help you manage both paper and paperless documents without creating confusion or disruption in the office.

Selecting the Best Document Management System

If you work with a IT services provider, a good firm will take the time to ask you these questions, and more, about your business – and then help analyze the information. Only after your business’s document management style has been analyzed, can a provider help select the workflow solution that meets your current demands in a manner that improves efficiency and productivity in the office.

Talk to a Document Management specialist Contact a Marco Rep

Topics: document management, Security, Financial, accessibility, Integrating, Paper, Efficiency, productivity