Not many companies have the resources to operate on a global basis. It can take a large team of lawyers, experienced financial professionals and local facilities or representatives. To go global for a product or service also requires understanding the local custom so you don’t accidently insult the community.
Operating a business, locally or globally, will involve customer contracts, vendor contracts, financial reports, etc. The business processes and document content might be vastly different from Bavaria to Bali and Caracas to Quebec. However, we see four key characteristics of document management on a global basis and if you focus on getting these four correct, it will be a piece of cake.
The four universal document management requirements are: The files must be organized in a logical way, the files must be accessible to users that need the information, there must be an easy way to maintain the document collection (add and delete) and there must be security on the information.
Virtually all document management systems are going to have the ability to keep documents organized. It is essentially up to the enterprise to determine what organizational structure works for it. Some solutions will be folder based and some will be database oriented, the preferred method. Either way, a hierarchy or data taxonomy is essential. There might be a need to have an application that can translate because “Add” in German is “Hinzufügen”.
Access for users is a complicated issue. For cloud based systems, browser capabilities may vary country by country. Users will need a viewer that works with the file formats that are used locally. Data privacy rules might dictate where data is stored and therefore, impact how users can retrieve it. This isn’t an access rights issue, it is just the basic ability to use the system. Do your homework here.
To maintain a system is to keep a system relevant. The more ways a user can contribute content to the system the better. Different work habits and hardware/software technology across the globe will require a flexible solution. As long as users have the ability to contribute content, the usefulness of the system will prevail. A solution should support email in, fax, scan, batch upload, drag and drop and as many methods as possible.
Lastly, security will be a significant issue. With a far-flung operation, understanding the users and their need for access will be challenging. Having a solution with the ability to localize user administration is a plus, especially if there are some controls on that administrative access. There could also be local customs at work here as some locations will expect greater autonomy than others. Therefore, a flexible, granular security model is important.
We did gloss over the language issue, but Google Translate can work miracles with any browser based system. As for English based solutions, it is a bit easier as a good percentage of international business is conducted in English. Aside from these little hurdles and growing data privacy requirements, don’t let document management slow down your global expansion, it’s a piece of Gâteau (French) or Ciasto (Polish) or Kaka (Icelandic).
Millennia Group has been providing workflow and document management solutions since 1996. If you would like to learn more about how your organization can benefit from our experience, please contact us at email@example.com, www.mgdocs.com or (630) 279-0577.