Here are some tips for getting your company or personal electronic files and documents better organized in 2019. These tips will really make life easier if you are currently storing your company files and documents on a network drive or you use a document management system but never really configured it for your business.text
Millennia Group Blog
The open office concept is all the rage, both at work and on Wall Street. It is not only being executed in corporate offices but there is a booming industry of shared office space startups that take open office to a whole new level. These spaces do have some intriguing features like comfortable common areas to gather and in the case of shared office spaces like WeWork, beer on tap.
However, we have also seen the demoralizingly small workspaces at some companies and we hear the grumblings of workers about a lack of privacy and inability to focus. We are not owners of office buildings, nor space designers. We are, however, somewhat responsible for this phenomenon because we provide the tools that have enabled this to happen – workflow and document management. We do feel a little guilty, but enabling tiny workspaces isn’t the whole story.text
It is usually with good intentions that a project is tackled with extreme attention to detail. Every possible variation of input and output are considered and analyzed. Focus groups are put together to gather information from all interested parties. The process is time consuming but can result in some good data being gathered and a successful project outcome. It is the right way to do things.
Now the hard part is trying determine how users will find that data if they need it again. The data that was gathered may have dug up some minutia but also large sets of data that will be used every day. The trick is to provide the everyday user with the ability to find information in a few clicks (simple interface) but also provide a way to find that one obscure piece of data. Can a one size fits all search work?text
Let’s face it, if we encounter 10 of our co-workers during the day, it would be impossible to categorize all 10 as highly structured, organized rule followers. It might be more realistic to say maybe three of the 10 fit that description. If you extrapolate those numbers out in a company of 1,000 employees, that is 700 employees that can take a unique approach to structure and organization. No big deal unless any one of those 1,000 employees needs to go back to find a document because the CEO has a question.
An easy way to turn all 1,000 employees into super organized, happy rule followers is to use electronic workflows where-ever possible. The end result of workflow is the final, approved set of information upon which all employees can rely. There will be no more guessing on which supporting documents were the basis for the final credit approval or what version of a spreadsheet was the final one used in the report. All users will be able to confidently say to the CEO, Yes, this is absolutely, positively the one.text
As businesses become more micro focused on efficiency, the number of highly targeted software solutions treating one specific pain, soar. Examples include expense report management or employee onboarding solutions. These are cloud based, third party solutions that typically generate a “document” as an end product or include supporting document attachments.
That point solution may in fact become relied upon by the business users as their document system because that’s where they go to find the documents they need. It’s not uncommon for these applications to list document management as a feature. The functionality doesn’t qualify it as a document management solution and the organization should be careful to accept it as that, no matter whatcha call it.text
Every business wants its staff to perform at its peak and to get one plus one to equal three through communication and collaboration. Collaboration can be complicated, even with technology. Maybe the best way to highlight how complicated collaboration can be, is to think about the creation of a report that summarizes a new project.
The report could span multiple departments or even include inputs from outside parties. Therefore, security becomes an issue. Some collaboration may be parallel such as when working on budget numbers simultaneously in an online spreadsheet. Other collaboration may be sequential wherein the spreadsheet then provides input for the narrative part of the report – can’t start one without the other. The archival of the completed report needs to be managed as well. These are all issues that make any single technology solution a difficult fit.text
In essence, a good records management policy and effort helps companies continuously downsize and de-clutter. That is not to say that the company moves to a smaller space or reduces headcount. In this context it is the systematic process of eliminating information that is no longer legally required or relevant to the business. This sounds fantastic for every company and every employee doesn’t it?
It sounds great to have less irrelevant information to sift through and maybe clearer lines of site to people in cubicles around you, unless you like to work in a bunker. New office space configurations and the wave of digitization have reduced the chances of boxes piling up. But even those pesky digital files need to be purged every once in a while. So why is it so hard to do?text
If you’re a fraudster you can easily obtain a fake driver’s license or passport. You can create a fake social media profile complete with fake friends. It’s difficult to confirm the actual identity of someone without a DNA profile or finger print on file with the FBI. And that is for confirming someone in person much less remotely.
The widespread use of electronic signatures has taken longer than some people expected and that is partially due to the ability to verify the signers. If we could feel as comfortable with the validity of the electronic signature as we do with a wet signature, electronically signed documents would become the norm. But electronic signatures come in varying degrees of authenticity so which one do you use?text
Do you ever marvel at the number of choices available in the bottled water aisle at any grocery store or online market? There are dozens of options to choose from. How about barbeque sauces, bourbon, pizza or crackers? There are far too many choices and it gets frustrating and time consuming to make any kind of decision.
This has some similarities to the frustration many people experience when they are searching for a file at work. They may find a copy of the file duplicated in multiple places. Determining which copy is the final version is both time consuming and frustrating. The process of de-duplicating is not an easy task, but reducing our choices has obvious benefits and it can be done.text
We recently attended and exhibited at a technology trade show for the commercial real estate industry. The technologies that were in the spotlight were wide ranging from remotely monitored and controlled water values to AI solutions for recurring administrative tasks. Less “hot” technologies were also represented like accounting, lease management and of course workflow and document management systems.
Blockchain is poised to spice up the future of the document management world. There is quite a way to go before transactions are conducted and documented with blockchain documents. However, the concept is promising and it is sure to have an impact on how documents are stored, created, shared and even alter the definition of a document.text
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