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by Shashank Shukla

5 Min Read | Mon, 15 May 2023

11-Step Winning Document Management Plan for Your Organization

A lot of the work for most companies worldwide is stored in documents.

Together these documents contain hours of time and effort the company's employees put in. Managing these documents is an important task that can be challenging to attempt when the number of documents is overwhelming.

In this blog, we lay down 11 easy steps to successful document management.

Managing documents is a crucial part of every organization in today's fast-paced business world. Effective document management can help businesses:

  • increase productivity,

  • minimize costs, and

  • ensure regulatory compliance. 

However, implementing document management systems can be overwhelming, especially for small businesses without a dedicated team. This blog provides an 11-step winning document management plan for your organization.

Step 1: Identify Your Document Types

The first step in creating document management systems is identifying the documents your organization produces.

This could include financial records, contracts, human resources records, marketing materials, and other documents specific to your industry. Categorize them in a way that makes sense for your organization, such as by department or type.

Step 2: Establish Document Ownership

Once you have identified the document types, assign a document owner for each type.

Allocating this responsibility is important to establish a chain of command regarding the documents.

This person will ensure that all documents are properly managed and stored. They will also approve document revisions, define access controls, and ensure regulatory compliance.

Step 3: Regulate Document Retention

Determine how long each document type needs to be retained based on regulatory requirements and your organization's needs.

Retention periods vary by document type, so it's important to research legal and regulatory requirements for your industry.

Remember that retention periods may change over time, so it's essential to review and update your retention policy periodically.

Step 4: Organize Document Storage

Decide where and how documents will be stored. You may choose cloud-based storage, on-premises storage, or off-site storage.

Each storage option has advantages and disadvantages, so you should select the best choice for your organization. Consider factors such as security, accessibility, and cost when deciding.

When discussing document management, we increasingly refer to an electronic document management strategy.

In the case of digital documents, many document management solutions are available online that can make documentation storage a breeze. Services such as Dropbox Business and EisenVault can easily store large amounts of official documents.

Step 5: Define Access Controls

Determine who has access to which documents and their access level.

Access controls should be based on document sensitivity and job responsibilities. For example, financial records should only be accessible to employees who need them to perform their duties.

Use a role-based access control system that is easy to manage and provides an audit trail of who accessed which documents.

Access controls should be based on document sensitivity and job responsibilities.

Step 6: Create Document Naming Conventions

A standard naming convention for documents helps ensure consistency and ease of searching.

Naming conventions should be easy to follow and provide enough detail to distinguish between similar documents. For example, use a naming convention that includes the document type, the date, and a brief content description.

Step 7: Track Document Versions

Establish version control procedures to ensure that the most current version of a document is always available.

This is especially important when multiple people are working on the same document. Use a system that tracks changes and provides a history of revisions. Avoid using file names to differentiate between versions of the same document.

Step 8: Determine Document Retrieval Procedures

This includes how documents will be retrieved through a search function or a manual process. Use metadata to tag each document with relevant keywords and phrases to make searching easier. Also, consider implementing a document management solution that provides a search function and automatically categorizes documents based on their content.

Consider implementing a document management solution that provides a search function and automatically categorizes documents based on their content.

Several excellent document management software or DMS systems are available today that can transform your business's document organization, like Cognera and Greenbox.

Determining which data management software best suits your organization's needs can be tricky. Zoftware can help you search for and compare document management solutions with a few clicks. Get suggestions from our software experts for your requirements. Visit our website to learn more.

Step 9: Set up a Document Review and Approval Process

Set up review and approval processes to ensure all documents are accurate and meet regulatory and organizational requirements. Establish a system that tracks document changes and approvals, such as a workflow tool. This ensures that documents are reviewed and approved on time and that there is a clear audit trail of document changes.

Step 10: Develop Disaster Recovery Procedures

Develop procedures to ensure that documents are recoverable in the event of a disaster. Create backups of all documents and store them in a secure off-site location. Also, consider implementing a disaster recovery plan that includes procedures for restoring documents after a disaster.

Step 11: Train Employees

Train all employees on document management systems and provide ongoing training to ensure compliance. Ensure that all employees understand their role in managing documents and are aware of the policies and procedures for document management. Provide regular refresher training to reinforce best practices and ensure all employees are up-to-date on any changes to the document management plan.

Final Word

In conclusion, an effective document management plan is essential for every organization, regardless of size.

A winning document management plan includes:

  • Establishing document ownership.

  • Defining access controls.

  • Keeping track of version history.

  • Setting up a document review process.

  • Developing disaster recovery procedures.

Online document management systems can perform these tasks automatically. Find a solution tailored to your organization’s needs. Visit Zoftware to get started.