Document management is core to your digital transformation journey

By: Stan Corner

Digital transformation is often discussed in a future context, but the reality is that it’s happening right now, and if your business isn’t getting on board with it, there’s a chance you’ll be left behind.

The digital journey can sometimes feel overwhelming, but the key is in chunking it into smaller projects that contribute to a long-term digital strategy, while also improving the way you do business today.

Looking at how you store, secure, search and share your business information is a great place to start. In the digital age, we have data in larger quantities, in more places than ever before, yet many businesses do not have a central repository for sensitive business and customer data.

Storage and security are crucial

By storing data across multiple locations, from filing cabinets and Windows files to third party sites and applications, you could be exposing your business to a wide range of risks, from the physical destruction of paper-based data to data breeches from unsecured data. 

The challenge of data storage is a global one, as the BTS team recently explored at the 2018 AIIM Conference in Texas.  In Australia, new laws have been introduced making it mandatory that businesses report any data breech where customer data may have been exposed.  And with governments in Europe and the USA imposing even tighter regulations, it’s likely that this is only the tip of the iceberg for Australia.

It will impact your customer experience too.  Today’s customers expect that your team can access real-time information about their account and interactions with your organisation at the touch of a button.  If your staff are wasting time trawling various folders and locations for information, nobody wins.

In the digital era, having a central repository for all your business information just makes good business sense.

Tips for getting started

Often starting the process is the hardest step, and it can be easy to put it off in favour of business as usual, but my advice is that procrastination is only going to cause you more challenges in the long run.

It’s time to commit to the journey if you want to protect and future-proof your business.  Here are my top tips for getting started.

1. Develop a document strategy

Having a clear path to follow from the outset will increase your chances of success. Think about what you want to achieve and set clear goals and parameters. Taking the time to document what you are doing and why you are doing it will help you articulate it to your team, and give you a point to come back to if the project starts going off track. 

2. Understand the current state

With so much data everywhere, it is critical that you understand where your data is, and who can access it.  Once you know this, you can create a map of your data and use it to identify where you are most at risk and determine the best way forward.

3. Prioritise and focus

Don’t try to do it all at once, because it can quickly become overwhelming and this decreases the chance of success.  Look at where you are storing sensitive and/or customer-related data and choose one area to focus on.  Breaking the process down makes it less resource intensive and, most importantly, easier to get started!

It can also be helpful to choose an area where you can see results quickly, such as scanning all of your paper documents to digital.  Chalking some runs on the board in the initial stages is a great way to build and maintain momentum.

4. Identify redundant data

You’ll likely have a significant amount of data that you no longer need.  In fact, in our experience, around 30 – 40% of the data businesses currently hold can be termed as ‘ROT’ (redundant, obsolete or trivial).  Resist the urge to keep everything.  If it no longer has a purpose, and there’s no legal requirement to keep it, it may just be weighing you down.

5. Review and select a secure storage option

Once you have a documented strategy, and a clear, prioritised data map, it’s time to look at storage options. There are many different document management systems out there for all budgets and environments.  Some store your information locally, others use the Cloud. 

There are benefits to both, and what’s right for you will really depend on the size and scope of your information.  Do your research or work with a partner, like BTS, who have expertise in the range of systems out there and can match one to your needs.