Avoiding Common Document Management Mistakes

You've made the investment in a document management program. You're on your way to greater efficiencies and a way out from under all that paperwork. Now it's time to roll it out and get your team up to speed. To help you have greater success out of the gate, we've gathered the most common document management mistakes and challenges and how you can avoid them or correct them if they already exist.

Even though you are well-versed in the inner workings of your new document management program, the people who will use it the most might be unfamiliar. Put yourself in their shoes. Think about what would be important to you if you were approaching a new program for the first time. If you were a new user, would you be able to find the files you need?

Poor Organization
One of the main reasons you decided to move to a document management system was to make finding documents easier. One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your new system is neglecting to establish a common naming scheme and folder descriptions so users can understand what they will find in each folder. A straightforward naming convention will make it even easier to navigate the system. You might consider numbering your folders and files so that they appear in the order they were created. This will further facilitate searching through files because users can easily use next or back arrows to move from one file or folder to another.
Rolling Out the Program Too Early
Of course, you're anxious to put your new document management program to work, but we recommend holding off on giving new users access until you have folders and files set up. If new users see nothing when they log in, they may be less likely to use the program in the future because they don't immediately see its value or have to wait to start taking advantage.
Duplicate Files & Folders
Be careful not to create duplicate files and folders. This could open the door to version discrepancies in the future. Having a clear naming structure will reduce confusion so that users don't add the same file to more than one location. Avoid creating files names with words like "general" or "misc." These can quickly grow into wastelands for uncategorized files that are difficult to control. You might consider designating a workspace manager to help keep folders clean and organized.
Too Many Users
Don't give every user the ability to create folders. Having too many users creating folders leaves the door open for problems with unnecessary folders, mislabeled folders and other inconsistencies.
Not Following Best Practices
Everyone who uses the document management system should receive adequate training and some kind of best-practice guidelines so they know how to use the system and what is expected of them.
Out-of-Control Versions
Establish guidelines for uploading new versions or editing existing versions. One of the most common reasons for lost progress is version confusion.
Not Communicating
When it comes to effective document management, taking a "If you build it, they will come" approach can backfire. Don't assume when you add a file that users will find it on their own. Take advantage of the share and comments features to communicate with other users. The approvals feature is an effective way for procuring reviews of important documents.

Now that you know the pitfalls to avoid, you're poised for success. Coordinated Business Systems offers end-to-end document management solutions customized to your specific business needs. If you have questions about your document management system or haven't yet converted to one, we can help. We offer free document management evaluations to identify how document management can help improve your workflow and save your company money.