Did you know you don’t have to rely on paper documents for your office?
Research shows it takes -- on average -- 18 minutes to retrieve a paper file.
That’s 18 minutes before you can answer your customer’s question. Or, 18 minutes before you can answer your boss’s question. Ultimately, it’s 18 before you can start doing your job.
If your “filing system” is a hodgepodge of email folders and shared drives (along with paper files in filing cabinets); it could be even harder to find a document, much less the RIGHT version of the document (how many of you have spent hours editing and commenting on a document only to find out there was a newer version ready and half of your points had already been addressed?).
If you’re still using paper documents to store your company memory, document management is a better answer.
Document Management: What Is It?
According to industry association AIIM, document management “is the use of a computer system and software to store, manage and track electronic documents and electronic images of paper-based information captured through the use of a document scanner.”
Basically, your documents are stored electronically in a secure repository and indexed for fast, easy retrieval from anywhere you have an authenticated connection.
Instead of digging through stacks of paper or various filing cabinets, you search on your PC (phone, tablet, or even copy machine) to find the document you need in seconds -- not 18 minutes.
Common features of document management include:
- Check in/check out -- this feature “locks” documents from being edited when someone is using them (checked-out), preventing confusion during editing
- Audit trail -- shows who accessed and edited the document, an aid for businesses who must comply with specific documentation regulations
- Version control -- create separate versions of documents as edits, comments, and new content is added all the way through to the final version. Allows you to roll back to a previous version of a document quickly, as well as to compare versions.
So the next time you’re wading through your co-worker’s desk, looking for the paper file you need because they forgot to get it to you before their vacation, remember there’s a better way to get work done -- document management.