What do most office employees do with their day? They create documents. A huge amount of them. 500 billion each year according to Microsoft Office.

Now take those 500 billion documents and view them alongside these enterprise document management strategy stats:

  • Employees spend 8.8 hours per week searching and gathering information, rather than creating it.
  • According to the International Data Center, knowledge workers spend 30% of the workday searching for information.
  • UK employees spend over one million hours a week searching for misplaced documents at a cost of £20 million a year to their businesses.
  • It takes up to 8 searches for workers to find the right document.
  • 83% of knowledge workers lose time on document collaboration issues.

Despite the evolution of technology, many companies still clearly struggle to provide an adequate document management strategy for their workforce of avid content producers.

If you’re in the process of creating or updating your document management strategy, a quick overview of its history reveals some great tips and tools for an enterprise document management strategy roadmap that will work for your company.

How document management strategy in the workplace has evolved

Before the digital revolution, offices relied on physical paper documents to get business done. The inherent problems ranged from locating documents to slow collaboration processes, from delivery delays to coffee spills. Paper documents were fragile and time-consuming to manage.

It’s no wonder then that organizations such as the AIIM championed the ‘paperless office’, with research suggesting that removing paper documents in the workplace could improve staff productivity by 29.7%. However, simply going digital isn’t a complete document management strategy in itself. As with any new content management system, it comes with its own set of challenges.

An all-too-familiar example of a challenge that arose is this: An employee works on a document and saves it to their desktop. Next, it gets attached to an email and sent back and forth to colleagues for review. Edits are inserted but keeping track of the latest version is getting tricky. Did everyone remember to turn on Track Changes? Is it the latest version that’s being edited now? Meanwhile, employees are switching between email programs and MS Word, wasting time while the document is wide open to errors.

Document management software

Fast forward to today and businesses should have what they need to manage documents effectively via Document Management Software.

Document management software (DMS) is used to track, manage and store both documents and visual assets. Paper documents are digitized, reducing storage needs and enabling fast file location with advanced search engines.

Unlike traditional DMS practices, with current Cloud-based Document Management Systems such as NetDocuments, iManage and SharePoint, document management strategy today is designed to keep employees up to speed with the latest version of a document while facilitating real-time and remote collaboration between multiple users.

Document management is also sped up with handy features such as e-signatures, which research has proven saves companies $20 per document and increases turnaround time by up to 80%.

stack of documents on desk

The hangover of traditional document management strategy

With such a tech-led evolution in document management strategy, where are companies going so wrong?

Firstly, despite the available software, many businesses are acting like their paper-centric predecessors. Only 17% of people work in what could be described as a paper-free office and 20% report that their consumption of paper is actually increasing. In these cases, all the original problems experienced by offices almost two decades ago have still not gone away.

Another major problem with document management strategy is relying on manual processes such as collaborating via email. This practice is incredibly common. In a study carried out by Harris Interactive, it was reported that 92% of those surveyed relied on email to edit and share documents, with 83% of Knowledge Workers wasting time each day editing the wrong version of a document.

If enterprises wish to increase productivity, collaboration, and compliance, human error needs to be minimized by investing in readily available and easy-to-use document management software.

What are the important elements to consider when choosing software for your document management strategy?

1. On-prem, in the cloud, or hybrid?

The first factor you should address when designing your document management strategy is where you’ll manage and store document information. There are numerous options available for businesses, but they usually sit under on-site, the cloud, or hybrid categories.

There are advantages of each category and enterprises should weigh these up alongside their individual business objectives. That said, there’s a reason why the cloud-based content management market is set to grow in value to around 34.42 billion USD by 2022.

A few standout benefits are listed below:

  • Reduce IT costs: With cloud solutions, there’s no need for a physical server or the upfront cost of hardware. Money is also saved by utilizing the cloud provider’s IT crew, reducing the cost of IT services.
  • Convenience: Employees can work on-the-go and from any device without downloading apps or carrying around heavy machinery. This can greatly boost employee output and productivity.
  • Scalability: The cloud’s services are elastic so you can scale up or down depending on your needs and only pay for what your company uses.

Read next: Head in the clouds? The on-premise software vs. cloud debate

2. Accessibility and security

A common misconception around cloud-based solutions is that they are a threat to security. However, cloud software allows you to work from anywhere without the need for VPNs, which is especially ideal for international enterprises. With company data more accessible, employees are less likely to rely on consumer-grade file share apps or the use of their personal, unsecured devices to access company data - both of which are hacker-prone.

Reputable cloud-based solutions will regularly have their security setup rigorously tested internally and externally.

How well does your document management system fit in your enterprise content management ecosystem?

As with any tech that has an enterprise-wide effect, you need to carefully consider how the tools involved in document management implementation strategy affect the other software that makes up your enterprise content management network. These include the systems relating to Digital Asset Management, Web Content Management, Business Process Management, and Records Management.

Templafy’s template and digital asset management system is designed to seamlessly integrate with other parts of enterprise content management systems that companies are already using. This means employees can easily find and access document templates as well as brand assets like logos, images, and videos from within office software, without switching between applications.

The use of templates

Consider integrating intelligent document templates to supercharge your document management strategy. Hosted via the cloud, dynamic templates such as those utilized by Templafy, allow employees to access and edit on-brand document templates pre-populated with the latest employee and company information. They give workers all the tools they need to create documents that follow the latest company and brand guidelines while saving time in the document creation phase.

Alongside the versioning benefits that DMS bring, features like Templafy’s BrandChecker optimize brand compliance by identifying any off-brand elements and offering pre-approved alternatives at the click of a button - again saving companies time monitoring the output of employees.