Document management software has long been touted as a way to drive efficiency, become more environmentally sustainable and cut costs.
A recent report from The Telegraph said the technology has now evolved to the point that it is ready to deliver on all of these promises. Two key areas of maturation highlighted by the news source are the ability to automatically save each version of a document and track those iterations to ensure nothing is ever lost, and the capacity to establish distinct levels of control and access within a document management system to keep data safe. Both of these capabilities come together to create a flexible records management environment that can empower users to operate with greater freedom without sacrificing the control organizations need to keep information secure.
Going paperless enables records management leaders to establish controls and workflows that are powerful, flexible and trackable. Doing so begins with task delegation.
Using task delegation as a foundation for efficiency
Imagine you are managing a small sales team and you get a draft document that needs approval. You file it away in a secure location until you have time to get to it, but then you get too busy to review it and will be out of the office on vacation. In response, you delegate reviewing the file to a subordinate you trust, but to do so, you need to track down the original document, make a copy, give the copy to the subordinate, manually track versions and updates between that subordinate and the initial writer and ensure that all files are monitored and secured along the way. All of these processes make something as simple as delegation tedious and potentially risky, especially when you are dealing with sensitive or regulated information.
Consider this scenario within a digital document management system. All you have to do is use your administrative privileges to give your subordinates access to the document and the system will automatically track all changes. You can control permissions down to an individual document or establish broad working groups that create more freedom for data and file sharing among employees. Furthermore, modern document management systems can capture files from email and similar platforms and incorporate them into the software, allowing you to easily work with external partners as needed.
"Document management success comes down to balancing control with flexibility."
Avoiding risk in a flexible document environment
The ability to easily adjust permissions and delegate different workflows allows for a great deal of adaptability within an organization. However, this kind of system depends heavily on proper oversight to avoid having a document ecosystem turn into something akin to the Wild West. Organizations can't afford to have managers giving out permissions willy-nilly or be left with sensitive data leaving the confines of the company's digital walls all in the name of efficiency. Task delegation systems, however, are built with this need for balance in mind.
Besides being able to flexibly adjust permissions, workflows can be set to automatically alert leaders when changes are made, attach pre-set security protocols to the workflows users establish in the system and allow for automated audit trail creation. These capabilities enable leaders in charge of document management to quickly identify how healthy the system is and take action to eliminate any sort of risk that is in place.
Ultimately, document management success often comes down to carefully balancing control with flexibility. Organizations relying on paper-based documents don't have many options here as it is nearly impossible to track copies of files and ensure everything is managed effectively. Going paperless, on the other hand, enables organizations to build rules, checks and balances into the system, freeing users to delegate tasks to ensure operational efficiency without taking on extra risk.
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