It's Time to Improve Your Document Management Workflow

Document Management_Blog

Jul 14, 2021

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Proposals. Invoices. Contracts. HR forms.

Regardless of an organization's size or business sector, well-crafted and managed documents—in all versions, formats, drafts, and stages of approval—are central building blocks to virtually any well-run organization's business processes, day-to-day operations, and ultimate success. More often than not, the busier a business gets, the more employees can expect to produce, share, approve, file, and manage. As a result, more precious time is spent on tasks like versioning of documents, document sharing, and finding them later. 

In fact, studies show that employees primarily tasked with creating, managing, and editing company documents reported wasting up to 2.5 hours per day searching for necessary internal information or files. 

Additionally:

  • Employees spend nearly 20 percent of their workweek searching for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help them find it.

  • Each day, 46% of employees within small- and medium-sized businesses report spending unnecessary time on antiquated, paper-based workflows.

  • According to 1200 surveyed information and IT professionals, they spend an average of 4.5 hours a week looking for documents—coming up short almost half of the time.

At the end of the day, these figures make it clear that failing to put effective document workflows in place is almost guaranteed to impact a business's bottom line. And, with more business operations and transactions taking place remotely than ever before, digitized document workflow solutions are also more crucial than ever before.

Smart document management workflow can improve processes across your organization.

Creating a smooth document management workflow is a business imperative.

There are many reasons why creating a centralized system for teams to create, edit, share, store, retrieve, and otherwise manage documents is crucial for any successful company to gain a competitive edge within its market.

The benefits of more effective document management are plenty, ranging from a reduction in overall operational costs and increased time savings, to the advancement of company culture objectives and improvement of overall morale. Generally, an organization will center their workflow around the implementation of document management system (DMS) software, digital document management workflow software, or a combination of document management solutions. 

At the most basic level, a well-thought out plan for an organization's document management workflow should provide:

  • A centralized and digitized document creation, storage, and management system

  • Document control and secure access to business documents 

  • A workflow that will incorporate and integrate with other tools and business processes

  • Better accessibility to materials like company brand assets, training documents, and different types of documents make it easier for employees to do their jobs faster.

Digitizing documents can also benefit organizations in many other ways, including error reduction, better brand consistency, and reduced dependence on costly storage solutions, like storage facilities. Businesses can also reap benefits through the employment of several practical workflow solutions, like:

  • Payment processing

  • Electronically-process invoices

  • HR processing automation

  • Document approval and document tracking tools

  • Central document collaboration platforms

  • Document imaging and digitization of paper document archives

  • Automating processes to enter electronic form data for healthcare and other data-reliant organizations

Assess your current workflow process, document challenges, and policies

The more customized a document management workflow solution can be to your organization's unique needs, business processes, and company policies, the more money and time it can save your organization. The first step to improving your document management workflow process is to assess your organization's current systems and pain points. 

Some essential questions to ask stakeholders and team members about your organization's document workflow and document management style are:

  • What percentage of your organization's documents are digitized?

  • Across teams and departments, what percentage of regular tasks or processes still rely on paper documents or paper-based workflows? 

  • How much paper does your organization use and store? (Use our paper volume calculator to find out.)

  • Are paper documents safe in the event of a natural disaster or catastrophe?

  • Do you have a system in place to ensure that documents are instantly retrievable by key data points, like customer name?

  • Do you regularly need to give clients or other third-party vendors external access to documents?

  • On average, how long does a typical document approval process take to complete?

  • On average, how long does it take to obtain a signature for a contract document?

  • Does your current document workflow system prevent the risk of lost documents and allow for info to be shared seamlessly between departments?

  • How important is mobile access to documents for each team in your organization?

  • Does your organization have standards or protocols in place for confidential document security?

  • Are there industry-specific regulatory requirements your organization must follow for document management? (e.g.: Do your employees have to store HIPAA-compliant medical records or comply with financial sector regulations?)

  • Does your company have policies in place for how and when to purge or update documents? 

Improve your document management workflow today

It may seem like there’s quite a bit to consider when determining how to configure your own organization's document management workflow, and what type of management software system and other document management solutions your organization may need. But no need to stress—Milner has decades of experience helping thousands of companies optimize and digitize their document management workflows.

Does your company need help to build more efficient, customized document management workflows?  Get started by taking our free self-assessment, or by reaching out to us any time. We will be ready to answer your questions and help your company achieve and exceed your business goals.