What's the Right Solution?
Document management, in the strictest sense, refers to the organization and storage of documents, and there are many different ways to manage documents. The trick is to find the right “way” to manage not only your documents, but also other content forms (video, audio, images), as well as the processes and people that make your business flow. So, don’t throw money away on document management. Chances are you need far more than an indexing system for your documents.
For instance, you may need to automate work processes through tools that improve the way your business manages paper-based content. These kinds of tools are particularly relevant to paper-dependent institutions like financial, banking and healthcare.
Some businesses that have widely divergent geographic locations or “on-the-road” employees need tools that help their employees create, share and process information without being tied to a server or requiring IT support.
Large organizations may need an enterprise content management and collaboration platform that enables users to capture, manage and share content securely in the cloud from any mobile device or PC, no matter where they are or what time of the day or night it may be.
How to Determine What You Need
The first step is to assess the systems and process you have in place now. Determine how to optimize what you have and develop strategies to augment with additional tools or devices. Your goal should always be to improve the work environment and maximize efficiencies at the lowest possible cost.
Second, consider what processes can be simplified and automated. We’ve all heard of the information explosion, and it applies in businesses as well as our daily lives. The flow of digital data, printed data, incoming and outgoing information takes up 90 percent or more of each employee’s time. Simplifying and automating makes for more productive employees.
Third, consider internal security requirements. Since many of today’s content management solutions are cloud-based, take a good, hard look at security and integration. What do you need to do internally to ensure that a cloud system will interface with the right devices in a secure internal environment?
Structured or Unstructured Information?
All this available information has created knowledge possibilities never before considered by many businesses. In the past, using unstructured information for analysis has been too cost prohibitive and too time prohibitive to be of any real use. But with today’s information management systems, unstructured information analysis is becoming more common in the business world.
You should consider whether you can use unstructured information for valuable insights into your business as well. It’s important to understand the difference between structured and unstructured information: Unstructured information is information that does not have a pre-defined data model and/or is not organized in a predefined manner. In short, unstructured information is information that can’t be dumped into a spreadsheet or database and analyzed.
This could include social media, Word docs, PDFs, audio files, PowerPoints, videos, images, IMs, and email. In all these instances, the information can provide compelling insights. Using the right tools, unstructured information can add a depth to data analysis that couldn’t be achieved otherwise.
Unstructured information can provide insight into the cause of an ongoing problem in the billing department, for instance, or may highlight a problem across one age group and can provide better customer feedback with better insight into problem solving.
Structured information, on the other hand, can be easily organized. This can include machine generated data like web server logs, point of sale information, medical monitoring iinformation and GPS data as well as human generated information like data entered into a computer: age, zip code, gender, etc.
While there are still “document management” systems, today’s businesses require solutions that encompass larger parts of the information life cycle than just document management. Enterprises today need to manage paper and other forms of structured and unstructured data; they need to improve workflow processes; and, perhaps most of all, they need to monitor and react to changing expectations, both internally and in the marketplace. Download our white paper below to help you determine what features and functions your business needs.