Very few, if any, businesses can be run, let alone thrive, without documentation of some form or another. This may for some businesses mean years and years of historic, old paper documents, maps and plans. For newer organisations all documentation may be held electronically, but however that documentation is stored it is essential to a firm’s success and growth so an effective document management strategy is essential. In fact, it could be argued that document management is just as important to a business as its IT, finance or marketing strategies in achieving customer satisfaction, streamlining processes and increasing profits.
In this technology age documentation is a valuable business asset; it helps employees understand the business better and can reveal opportunities for improving sales. It can, of course, also be the source of inefficiencies if unnecessary documents continue to be used long after they have ceased to have a purpose so understanding what the documentation is required for and what business benefit it offers is vital. It is no longer just paperwork to be archived due to regulatory requirements, although clearly this is sometimes the case, depending on the type of business.
Consider what happens if archived documents are difficult to find because of a poor filing/management system (and this can be just as true for electronic documents as for paper documents); employees waste time looking for the document and may find an outdated version which could lead to unnecessary extra work to bring it up to date because the current version could not be found. All of that wasted time equates to inefficiencies that affect the bottom line profits of a business. Instead a good documentation management strategy could be one of the routes to making the business more efficient and hence increasing profits.
Some companies employ staff purely to manage an ineffective and inefficient documentation system that could instead be re-organised and contribute to business profits rather than being a drain on resources. So next time a staff member can’t find the right document consider how a document strategy could improve rather than hinder your business.