The value of document management systems

I’ve never been a great fan of electronic document management systems. I can see how they can be useful but I’ve seen a lot that, in spite of hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to install them, are not used effectively because the people who are expected to use them find them too hard.

Now there are many reasons for this and it’s not always the fault of the system itself. Often it is lack of, or inappropriate, training (done from a system perspective not a user perspective); or it could be that the structure sitting behind the system (often a hierarchical file plan) is too complicated or it’s hard to work out where to save a document.

Also people don’t trust that they can find their own documents at a later date, let alone other related documents or documents that someone else has saved. They need lots of reassurance.

The earlier document management systems were modelled on the hierarchical filing structure that had been used for paper based filing systems. These hierarchies were copied on to the computer drives to cope with electronic documents and then later built into the document management systems.

Document management systems are designed to help people to store information and to find documents that they have previously saved. They resolve issues related to different versions of the same document and  enable easy access to documents by multiple people – with appropriate security and access. However often they haven’t lived up to the IT hype and have got bad press from users.

Over the past few years Microsoft has been improving the document management aspect of its collaboration tool SharePoint to a point (no pun intended) that SharePoint 2013 is now capable of managing electronic documents in small-medium enterprises. Gone is the complex hierarchical filing structure. Welcome the cloud, Office 365 and tagging documents – by type or by some other category you choose – for easy access from wherever you are on whatever device you are using.

I’ve been working with some business partners recently to put together a SharePoint solution for SMEs so they can have all the benefits of a document management system without the complexity of the earlier systems.

It’s looking pretty exciting so get in touch to let us  help you organise your business information in a way that you can find what you need when you need it, quickly and easily.

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