Often businesses know why they need a good CRM or ERP System and why having this in the Cloud opens up new opportunities.
But Documents can be overlooked and not handled in the same way.
Given that everyone stores Documents in some shape or form, this can be an expensive oversight.
Whilst the level of importance of Documents can vary from business to business, this is why we think everyone should be considering what makes a good Document Management Tool within their business:
1. Get Organised
Many businesses exchange Documents in attachments via Email –this traps pockets of useful business information in Personal Inboxes and removes from being shared business information.
If you find yourself reaching for your Inbox or Sent Items as a first port of call to find a Document or Contract, this can pose a blocker to the productivity of your business.
Ideally we should target to keep our unstructured information of Emails and Documents running alongside our structured records – this avoids Emails or Documents forming an outside silo of data that becomes hard to manage.
For many businesses this can be an important area of Compliance to Regulatory Standards; if we cannot locate an up to date certificate, or prove how we track policy documents, this can be an expensive mistake.
The best businesses work as a team, sharing pools of useful information to engage each member of the team to the goal or KPI of the business.
Having a common, regular format for how we store Documents and Data is crucial to building up our Teams and avoiding the problem of Team Members being disconnected from the tools that will help them achieves their objectives and the objectives of the business.
We want to get the best from our people, and that means having a common structure and language to our data that brings people into our teams and avoids people feeling isolated out if the structure is over complicated or not transparent.
Having a Document Management Solution gives us this common format for how we store Documents, and so builds a common structure that our teams can depend on.
Whilst we want a common format that our Teams can depend on – we may also want to ensure that sufficient protections are in place to avoid everybody in our organisation having full access to any Documents.
This security needs to be simple enough to be maintainable by the business, and avoid having requests go through IT to make security an IT concern instead of a business concern.
A good Document Management Solution should connect this level of Compliance and Security to the business and avoid the problems that a Network Share can present.
4. Stop using the Network Drive!
Network Drives had their time but can be hopelessly out of date in today’s IT Instructure – posing problems for remote workers, version control and managing security levels.
File Systems are made for storing Files internally within the Network, and not for managing access to Metadata, Searches and Security.
Having a Document Management Solution resolves these problems by making Documents accessible through the right Security Channels, and also letting us take Regular Backup, Recycle Bins and Version Control for granted.
5. Keep Documents in your Security Envelope
Without a good easy to use Document Management approach, it is easy for Documents, Files and other potentially secure information to end up on Laptops and other Removable Storage.
If these Documents (particularly Spreadsheets!) contain Personal or Confidential information, this can easily become a Data Breach.
In the past, Data Breaches could prove embarrassing and result in a loss of trust from Clients and Suppliers.
Post GDPR, Data Breaches can also incur financial penalties and must now be managed to show that a Company understands the cause of the Breach and take steps to close the potential for future Breaches – and so can be an expensive accident.
A good Document Management system should make it easy for Users to find and work with Documents without the information in these Documents being copied into Local Filestores or Emails, and so prevent the likelihood of Breach.
6. Machine Learning
Once upon a time we could only search, index and report on Structured Data in our Line of Business Systems – but the world is changing, we now have ready business level access to Machine Learning to extract meaning from the Documents, Emails and Images we process and store.
Having a good Document Management system in place allows us to take advantage of these newer technologies and bring innovation into how we operate.
Lastly, why integrate Document Management with CRM?
Documents usually relate to a particular Client, Opportunity or Project within a business, and so having a storage structure that matches the transactions of the business brings greater productivity to the business as users and teams can locate key information quicker and easier.
Joining this with CRM helps keep critical business information in a single location to make this easier for teams to run as a business from within a single system.
This is easier than ever in the Cloud, and using the Microsoft Cloud as an example, we can use Dynamics, SharePoint and Teams as a set of Business Apps using a common set of data integrated together between CRM, Documents and Emails.
We do this by introducing DocMan as the bridge to join Documents and SharePoint together – you can find out more about DocMan here, and get in touch with us for our expertise integrating Dynamics, Office and SharePoint together.
Within the Microsoft Cloud, we integrate Azure Cognitive Services to bring intelligence to how we manage the Documents, Emails and Photos that we need store in SharePoint alongside Dynamics.
Tracking Photography against an Order – can we store this centrally and in a way that supports future growth in our operations.
The following articles on the uses of a Document Management System may also be useful reference:
https://sharepointmaven.com/implement-document-management-system-sharepoint/ – more SharePoint focused, but a good explanation of how a good Document Management System varies from a straight ‘lift-n-shift’ from a Network Drive.