Benefits of document management
Probably the biggest benefit of document management is just being on the same page. Having everyone in the organisation having access to all the latest and up-to-date files. So many errors and mistakes can occur when everyone is looking at different documents. For certain types of documents (think policy or procedures) these can cause legal ramifications if you are reading off the wrong document.
Having a workflow
Most documents will follow some kind of workflow. It will go from drafts or working document through to the current document, through to an archived or obsolete. The amount of documents in the workflow can get more complex if you hire a graphic designer. This is because you will have your draft working files, likely in Word format, and the designer will have their working files in their software. Cloud storage has made it so much easier to share files with many people. For example, with Google Docs, you can have unlimited people have access to a document. You can revert to an old version, see who made changes. Give some people read only access, and others full edit access. You can revoke access easily.
For sharing and revoking access to files, these steps should be included in any onboarding you do. So a step will be to share files with a new staff member when they are needing to use those files. And you can have another step where you revoke access, or unshare, those files. Not only does it clear up space on those people’s cloud storage but it limits any chance of having them edit files after they are no longer working with you on that project.
It doesn’t really matter what system you use, as long as you are consistent!
These days, so much of the paperwork is all electronic. There are so many ways to make paperwork on the fly and be done automagically. For example, on a website, you can have customers input data and the web server can use software like Gravity PDF to generate all the required paperwork instantly. Adobe Document Cloud now allows you to collect signatures without any extra software. It is even easy to ask for feedback and comments from people using online services where they don’t access the original file but a proxy. Sharing the file with unlimited people and collecting their input.
If you are doing a paperless office, it makes sense to ensure you have all your templates set up, looking good and being functional. Have your templates in a centralised location available to those who need them. Export as PDF and send.