We have all encountered the situation on our way into the grocery store where a young girl in uniform is selling cookies. Or maybe it’s someone dressed as Santa ringing a bell. In both cases, the story doesn’t end there because you have a second encounter when you exit the store. So the issue is, which do you prefer, addressing the situation on the way in or dealing with it on the way out?
This post is not really about the Girl Scouts or the Salvation Army of course. This is an analogy for how your company deals with its critical business information. Either your company has a well-defined process and structure to identify information as it enters or it relies on advanced search capabilities to find information where-ever it may hide. Or, oh no, it’s a free-for-all at your company.
There is obvious business value when the right information gets into the right users hands at the right time. And conversely it is a detriment to have users wasting time trying to find information or worse, finding the wrong information. Therefore, it is highly recommended to have a strategy to make sure information is accurately tagged and easily accessible to your users. There are different ways to try to accomplish this.
First, you can implement a document management system and create some policies and procedures that users are supposed to follow for putting documents into the system. The system will naturally need to have a structure to it that makes sense to the users and the classification process will need to be as easy as possible. For instance, keep meta data tags to no more than six in number. There is no doubt that the risk here is user apathy.
A second method would be to use AI and smart search engine capabilities to programmatically classify and return search results to users. This search engine would do all the work so that users can “throw” files into the system with little to no meta data. In fact, it could be a version of federated search where the engine finds documents located in multiple repositories. This is simple for users, but the risk is unstructured or inaccurate search results.
We have mentioned it before, but we generally see a mixture of methods. Working files tend to be on a shared network drive with control based on department and users browsing or searching in hopes of finding what they need. No meta tagging at all. Archival or record type files tend to be in a document management system with some meta data requirements as files are added.
The use of AI can help simplify the identification and classification process and make it better than it is today for both working files and record files. Ideally this should be part of the front end of the process. There is no need to take the risk of the search finding the information you need when the solution makes the process friendly and easy on the way in. Improving your approach on the front end will make the back end result that much better.
Millennia Group has been providing workflow and document management solutions since 1996 and continues to develop better ways to make information easy to find. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.mgdocs.com to find out more about the latest AI centered solutions we are working on.