Effectively Initiating a Document Management Strategy

Implementing a document management strategy can be a daunting prospect, especially in an organisation that holds vast amounts of paper documentation going back years that has to be retained because of legal requirements. In some organisations the process can seem so complex that just initiating the archiving and management process can be a difficult hurdle to overcome.

What adds to the difficulties is that there is often no clear answer for a given set of document management and archiving requirements. Each business is different and there are many possible solutions so just what are the essential characteristics for an effective strategy?

  1. Focus on the Business Objectives. What is the reason for initiating a document management system? Is it legal or regulatory? Is it to cut costs, improve efficiency or enable the company to grow? Without a good business case it will be difficult to gain support both at the executive and coal-face levels so make sure there is a clear vision and always keep sight of it.
  2. Measure the Benefits. Any type of successful project must be able to demonstrate measurable benefits in a tangible way. This re-assures senior executives that their investment will deliver on its promises, and encourages and motivates those working on the project.
  3. Don’t Forget the Detail. Before embarking on implementing a document strategy ensure that a detailed plan is in place so that no aspect of the business documentation is lost in the transition from a manual management system, but don’t get bogged down in details that don’t matter otherwise the process will never get off the ground.