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The Importance of Methodology for Document Management System Success

  • 5 mins

Document management is an inevitable aspect of every business. Yet when starting from square one, the task of implementing a document management system is daunting—even more so if the company is transitioning from an entirely paper-based system. A proper document management system allows a business to store and retrieve documents, collaborate effectively as a team, securely organize both digital and physical materials, and ensure the timely archival or disposal of records. This system must be able to scale with a company and adapt to its ever-changing needs.  However, if a system is implemented without a tailored design and integration strategy, the company will likely waste time and resources. One of the major goals of any document management system is ROI (return on investment). For this to occur, a company will need a system that has a strong methodology supporting it.  When a document management system is properly implemented with a methodology based on best practices, the system can truly help to maximize production, reduce costs, and improve both employee and customer satisfaction.  

Review: What is a Document Management System?

A document management system is a secure repository into which an organization's documents are centralized, organized, and able to be accessed. Most document management systems also allow members of a company to collaborate on documents, including the ability to limit access depending on role or project designation.  This system should be scalable and have consistent document standards and record retention parameters. Advanced or tailored systems will perfectly strike the balance between security and accessibility. They should also allow a company to automate aspects of the workflow, and operate entirely digitally or integrate physical documents as needed. An integral part of making a system efficient within a company is the methodology used to integrate the software, including automated workflows, security parameters, and records management.  For example, a business may need to retain physical copies of certain documents. If the company needs to store those documents off-site, maintain the records for three years, then dispose of alone cannot provide those resources. Another example: Many systems on the market these days suffer from feature bloat: Adding features that address special circumstances, and that go unused by the majority of users. Without a proper needs assessment, a document management system might be built for use cases that are not relevant...and miss those that are. There are now dozens, if not hundreds, of companies offering document management software solutions. But the software is only as good as the methodology behind it.  

How a Document Management System is Created

Regardless of what system a company uses, there are three main aspects of a scalable and secure document management system. These aspects are solely organizational, however. While these are the main components of any system, the integration of these elements will determine the success of the system within a company.  

1. Consistent Document Standards
Everyone within the company needs to know the standard practices when creating documents. For example, a company may need all documents to be time-stamped or certain documents may require a template. 

2. Document Storage and Retrieval
Document retrieval requires the ability to create, collaborate, and improve documents without redundancy or error. Document storage involves either a cloud-based or local server for digital files, and a physical space either on- or offsite for paper documents. Another aspect to consider is how old files will be archived or disposed of.  

3. Security Protocols 
Whether the company has entirely digital documents, only paper records, or needs a hybrid system for both – the security of these potentially high-risk files is a top priority of any document management system.  

The Importance of Document Management Methodology

Imagine a company purchases a document management system. The team receives a streamlined, out-of-the-box system—and it’s brilliant. But after three months of training employees, organizational blunders, and squandered resources, the company is no closer to having its core needs met. Or, say the company gets lucky and the system adapts perfectly to the business—until three years later when it is rapidly expanding and the system can no longer keep up.   Instead, that same company procures a document management system with a strong methodology. Before even using the software, the company’s team members are heard. Their needs and concerns are immediately taken into consideration. The company provides feedback at every stage, as the software is tailored to its specific needs. Three years later, when the business is ready to expand, the system support needed is already available. QFlow Systems believes that a document management system has not succeeded until the company is benefiting from the end results of utilizing it. We provide solutions, and we are able to do so because of the methodology we employ with each organization, as we tailor our product to the specific needs of each company.  

The QFlow Method: A Tailored Approach

After meeting with the company to understand what challenges need to be addressed, we create a prototype of the actual system. By immediately providing a working version of the system, the teams within the company can provide feedback right away.  We spend the necessary time gathering all of the technical details. It doesn’t matter what impressive feats a software can perform if it doesn’t provide solutions for the business that needs it.

The next step in our method is establishing the structure and taxonomy for content. This ensures that the system we create is organized for the company’s needs, allowing employees to quickly find documents and save time.  When it comes time to create automated workflows, we speak with team members and highlight opportunities for automation and efficiency. By speaking with the people who will use these workflows, we’re able to create specific solutions to problems they may not have even identified.

An inevitably important aspect of document management is the disposal of records. Certain companies have the need to meet legislative standards, mitigate risk, or destroy records in a timely manner. Conversely, a company may simply need to archive old records and preserve those of import. Our process allows us to determine the ideal solution for each company and automate that task.

When all of these components have met the expectations of a company, we move forward with the system’s launch. During this time, our dedicated team is present to ensure a smooth experience and proper results.

Additionally, we provide support throughout the life of a company’s system. This includes additional onboarding training for new employees and technical support via email and phone should any issues arise.

Want to learn more about how our unique methodology here at QFlow can deliver greater satisfaction for team members and create maximum productivity within the organization? Request a Demo today.