The efficiency of any document management system (DMS) largely depends on how well it serves end-users. What can eventually affect the system’s good purpose? We have conducted a dedicated research and found out 3 major factors. These are destroyed information management workflows, inept use of third-party tools and external programs and a variety of document formats. All of them are closely interrelated.
Single files vs. DMS information blocks
Single text files like MS Word are widely used by individuals and companies on a day-to-day basis. For the last few decades, Word has become a de-facto standard to store diverse types of information. It offers a set of handy features enabling the user to easily and quickly accomplish necessary tasks: templates, graphics, tables, text formatting, reviewing and PDF conversion options. Word documents are supported by many platforms and devices and are smoothly shared between different client applications.
So far so good, unless the company introduces the information management system that completely redefines user experience for the worse. Some systems prompt users to work with built-in information blocks instead of Word documents. The developers of such systems, in their endeavors to streamline information management, believe that the company staff would eagerly welcome a new solution. As practice shows, some workflows go broken as they still require adherence to single files. The risk of information loss is very high.
Document management solutions developers are challenged to craft such a system that allows complete and safe transfer of corporate knowledge into a single information system. On top of that, it should provide enough flexibility for end-user to work both with information blocks and single documents within the same environment.
The users’ preference to work with single files turned into a big dilemma among all the information concepts. Document management developers and integrators opt for a unified solution with a one-stop access point and a common database. End-users in turn unwillingly move from their comfort zone to such systems. Over time, they have worked out their own approaches to information systemization across single files and folders. Any change would imply much stress, they concur.
A fair compromise between developers’ endeavors and users’ deeply-rooted experience might be a hybrid solution. Along with the possibility to smartly classify information inside the system, the users can attach single files and export a necessary piece of information to commonly-used formats, such as Word, Excel, PDF, CSV. Enough flexibility, isn’t it?
Still, there are some pitfalls in adopting a hybrid document management system, for it generates more chaos than order. The local and central storages might replete with multiple copies of the same document impacting chains of business processes. It is vital to ensure that information remains up-to-date everywhere to such an extent that users are deprived of a single bit of confusion.
Most probably the credit will go to cloud services. They blur the line between single files and all the information available to the user, care about regular back-ups and high-level security and offer a scalable storage space. What is more, you can access a necessary document on the go or upload it to a remote client or employee. However, the user needs a constant and stable Internet connection in order to access the cloud information. Cloud solutions per se are nothing else than advanced traditional document systems.
Is there an ideal solution?
Let’s have a look at the problem from the perspective of a business analyst and take into account all possible document management challenges. A soon as we realize that they vary from one company to another, we dare to state that the ideal solution might be a custom document management system. It is tailored to your specific needs. It might encompass a number of etalon documents and templates, configurable export and import options with version control and notification system, advanced authoring and visualization tools, and a wealth of many other perks.
Answer to stereotypes
We know a great case when a development team came up with a brave idea of implementing file management right into an informational system. Let’s take a look at MS OneNote and its ability to integrate Excel and Visio files in the editorial area.
Users can drop independent files of various formats in the OneNote environment and edit the content in native editors. Also, users are allowed to directly integrate a text body in the main OneNote editing area to use available editing tools.
It’s important that the program allows creating new files or group files together within the environment. It saves users’ time otherwise spent on the process of adding each new file to the DMS.
This case illustrates how developers can challenge abiding stereotypes about corporate document management and provide end-users with discretion over the files they add and edit.
Some takeaways prior to your custom project
If you are about to use a DMS in your enterprise, pin the above three factors and some of takeaways to let your staff smoothly embrace changes and preserve their long-standing experience, maintain effective workflows and eliminate all the hassles of document management at the same time. Here are your helpful tips:
- Provide a universal space for working with text, graphics, spreadsheets, files and messages
- Don’t ignore external text editors (Word, Excel, Visio, PowerPoint) to equip users with necessary tools to start their work straight away
- Integrate user’s filing cabinet into a centralized environment and ensure that information remains updated
- Make all the files searchable with a set of filters
- Integrate corporate emailing system with DMS
Tell us about your goals and our business analyst will
contact you shortly to further elaborate on the most optimal solution.