With employees, consumers, vendors and others all expecting the ability to pull up specific documents at the click of a button, businesses have had to quickly digitize and optimize their document management systems of late. The first major push began more than a decade ago when it became clear that digital files were far more easy, efficient and affordable to manage than massive paper management systems.
Although the paperless office is still not truly a reality, organizations have started to come closer to this prize. Now, with behaviors of end users changing so quickly and constantly becoming more demanding with time, documents need to be digitized and managed properly in these formats to ensure instant access. One of the best ways to optimize a document management strategy is to first gather as much information as possible regarding the needs and objectives of the users involved.
Going the extra mile
CMS Wire contributor Greg Council recently suggested companies begin to use metadata within their document search policies and programs, as, when done effectively, this will have a profoundly positive impact on accessibility. This is somewhat of a breakout idea and one that very few organizations have likely embraced, but might become a requirement before long given the immense range of file formats and information sources that must be accounted for.
For example, Council pointed out that data from social media, webpages and emails all need to be archived in many situations, and that metadata itself is even more difficult to manage than traditional data. He argued that businesses can better position themselves for success in these endeavors by ensuring standardization is achieved across document and metadata descriptions, and work to modernize the systems in place to manage archiving.
The author noted that many companies do not have the time nor resources to keep up with the ever-changing demands of metadata and document management, but that certain solutions can help to streamline the projects and yield positive outcomes. According to Council, software is available for natural language processing, search hierarchy management, classification automation and more.
Still, businesses must remember to build a strong foundation of policies and processes to ensure the solutions function properly after implementation.
Bringing it all together
Again, metadata is already becoming a more sensitive and critical matter in information governance, and this trend will only accelerate in the coming years. Metadata has been at the center of scandals and breakthroughs for at least two years now, and firms that blend relevant management strategies into their document management protocols will be positioning themselves for successful risk mitigation and information governance.
Document management systems that can handle a variety of format needs and accessibility requirements will always be helpful, and can be even more powerful when coupled with workflow automation software. Allowing technology to assist in some of the more repetitive tasks associated with document and metadata management can go a long way toward optimizing the processes involved in information governance.