Summary: How organized is your document management? Would it earn the Martha Stewart stamp of approval? Or does it resemble a storage locker that hasn’t been cleaned out in decades….
Most new customers of ours need to switch from a Shared Drive to Document Management software. I’ve seen everything from well manicured, neat as a pin shared drive that’s only lacking external access, to a chaotic black hole of files in files in files. Most often I see numerous versions of the same file stored in multiple locations. This causes confusion for users to find the correct version.
Whatever the motivation is to seek a Document Management Software, it’s important to note that it’s not as simple as just hiring a cleaning service. No tool can fix all the shortcomings of your document management system for your organization. There needs to be some change in process and approach, and yes, everyone in the home has to chip in. But with these seven simple housekeeping tips for Document Management, your files will feel right at home.
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The most successful implementations require one thing, a great housekeeper. This champion is the primary driving force behind the change that the organization needs to succeed. They have identified the struggles that face your organization and have a plan to tackle them. They have done their research into the options available in the market, aligned the goals they wish to achieve with the software, and built a case to the leadership team.
During the process of acquiring a new software or during post-purchase, you must review and catalog internal documents. It’s this point where most companies will either hit a snag in implementing their Intranet or will dedicate resources and be thankful they did.
2. Decluttering and Restructure Documents
One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from new customers is not knowing where information is, or which document to trust. The biggest impact that this uncertainty has is on your customers. This can come from incorrect information, or outdated policies followed.
Once you’ve culled all outdated or irrelevant content, the next step is to organize your documents in a way that makes them easy to find. This builds up the trust with your employees that they can find the information they’re looking for.
3. One Source of Truth
Create one main document repository and link to it from the various team/department sites.
- With all documents stored in one place, any change is reflected in all other repositories linking to the main one.
- Have 1 person or a small team of content managers.
- Workflow can be enabled on the folders where users that try to upload or edit documents are sent to the content owners for approval before the document is published, or the change is implemented.
- Not all overlapping documents may be relevant to all teams/departments. This allows the document owners the flexibility of customizing what documents they need, but only managing the files directly in one location.
- Team or Department specific documents – Each team/department has specific documents used by just them. Their documents are stored within their team/department site with either one primary content admin, or the team manages those documents.
4. Restrict Create/Edit permissions
It’s important to have governance in place to ensure the quality of content being published to your intranet, especially if you’ve already spent the effort of reviewing your current documents. This is especially true for Document Management which if not managed correctly, can get out of hand quickly. Consider implementing a policy around naming documents, folder structure, and permissions to enforce Document Management within your organization.
5. Migrating Documents
The easiest way to get your documents on your new intranet is by bulk importing them into the software. However, you may be pulling over the same problems you’re currently dealing with. At this step, stop to consider the most effective method for users to find the content they need. Take this opportunity to do a little Spring cleaning. Upload the master copy to the location you’ve selected and then remove any unnecessary copies, excluding backups, so that all employees must access this master copy.
With Intranet Connections, importing is fairly easy with the options of Multiple File Upload and CSV Import (to include metadata). If your current solution complaint is searchability, Import CSV would be the best method as the metadata can be included in search results as well allowing the user to know they’ve found the right file before clicking on it. Clean-up of your current documents should be done prior to migrating over your files. If there’s limited time to review your documents, consider pulling over the key documents that are currently causing the most pain points for your staff and customers. If this is the method you choose, be sure to remove these documents from the previous location. You’ll also have to communicate the change to your staff so they know where to find these specific documents going forward.
6. Review Documents Often
Depending on the document, it’s important to review a document periodically to check for any quality issues or outdated policies. For example, any HR policies that need to be reviewed. While changes should be managed directly, the review date can help ensure an update to policy doesn’t get overlooked.
Using Policy Assist tools to set Review dates, you can also enable email and/or site alert reminders to notify reviewers of when policies are coming up for review. These reviewers will need to be able to modify the document or policy in the document application.
Tip: As you’re importing your documents, you can include a review date for the document or policy in your CSV file as part of the metadata that’ll be filled out as you import your policies.
7. Enforcing Policies
This couldn’t be easier with the implementation of Read & Confirm for your policies. With policies, you can choose who needs to read and confirm the policy or choose the option of ‘Everyone’ to target all logins within the software.
For each policy, you can decide whether or not you want to enable Read & Confirm of that policy. The policy owner or admins will have optics into what policies users have or haven’t read.
In the example above, we can see only 15% of employees have read the Employee Handbook. By clicking into the % Complete for that policy, we can have a look at who hasn’t yet read and confirmed this policy:
Unconfirmed shows under the Confirm Date column to indicate the employee has yet reviewed and confirmed the policy. The Supervisor or Manager (listed beside their name) can easily follow up with the employee.
Have you successfully migrated your documents over to create a source of truth? Or do you currently struggle with document management internally? I hope these suggestions help with planning out your updates to your Document Management process, as well as give a starting point to those looking to migrate from another platform.