Large enterprises can struggle with an array of issues, from problems with version control to document misfiling and critical data losses. Such issues could cost a lot, especially when it comes to personal, legal or compliance records, so this is where an enterprise-grade document management solution should come into play.
In the article below, we’ll look at how to prevent productivity and financial losses with document management automation, specifically by adopting a SharePoint-based solution for enterprise-level document management and collaboration.
Easier Version Control
Versioning issues may eat up a large part of knowledge workers’ valuable time on a daily basis.
Just some of the typical scenarios of poor version control include sending the wrong version of a document to a colleague or a client, working on an outdated document or making an executive-level decision based on outdated data. All of them can lead to substantial losses for an organization.
In its turn, a SharePoint document management system offers built-in version control capabilities that require minimal effort from the user.
SharePoint enables easy versioning to better track and manage information. A detailed log is provided, featuring details on older document versions and their modifications. If necessary, earlier versions can be recovered and edited or saved for reference.
This solution from Microsoft also allows managers to determine how many versions should be retained for each particular document, whether new versions will be kept each time an item is edited, and whether drafts and edits will be visible to everyone with access to the SharePoint solution.
Cross-department Collaboration, Simplified
In corporate environments, departments often have to collaborate on the same documents. If designed poorly, such collaborative workflows can become excessively complicated and challenging. Sending multiple versions back and forth between teams is likely to slow down productivity and hinder the results.
The good news is that contemporary solutions such as SharePoint automate many document management workflows and routines found in cross-department projects. Some of such routines include document approval, reviewing and editing, sending the right document to the right department, signatures, and more.
When it comes to workflow management, SharePoint offers a range of pre-programmed workflows, including Approval, Collect Feedback, Collect Signature, Three-State, and Publishing Approval. New custom-made workflows can also be added and customized to address specific needs of an enterprise.
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Together with user notifications and shared access to documents in the works, such automation can spare a good deal of working time for everyone involved.
Making Wasteful Paper-Based Collaboration a Thing of the Past
Paper-based document management practices are still common. Yet these practices are costly, wasteful and inefficient. Studies suggest that the maintenance of a 5,000-page archive (which is way too small for an enterprise) costs 27,000 dollars per year. At the same time, adopting a digital signature workflow only can save up to 59% of document management costs.
While printing alone can cost a company about 3% of its revenue, environmental impact also adds up to the issue, with 65% of all printed documents being thrown away the same day they were printed.
Document management solutions make it easier to take a lot of paper out of the equation. Making SharePoint document management more readily accessible through training and company-wide practices is one of the best options when it comes to eliminating the cost and inefficiencies of paperwork.
When it comes to digitizing paperwork, SharePoint supports workflows that simply eliminate many printing needs – for example, there will be no need for printing out a document to submit it for review or a signature. Instead, such documents will reach their recipients in their digital form, speeding up collaboration and bringing down printing costs at the same time.
What’s also important, while digitizing paperwork, they also go hand in hand with corporate policies on reducing unnecessary printing, thus multiplying the cost- and environment-saving efforts.
Addressing Compliance Issues
Riddled with numerous requirements and guidelines, document compliance can turn into a hassle for large organizations. Making sure documents adhere to certain storage, classification and maintenance rules is typically very time-consuming, stealing employees’ time away from more critical job functions. At the same time, failing to comply with such requirements may bring irreversible damage in case of regulatory audit.
In this regard, document management systems are indispensable. For example, SharePoint allows for enforcing particular policies of creating, managing, and keeping records automatically, with stringent formatting and user alerts in place.
At the same time, fail-proof version control and role-based access enable employees to trace back all document modifications and their authors, should it be required for compliance purposes.
Preventing Data Losses
Data losses are among the most feared consequences of poor document management. It’s not surprising: losing strategic documents, prototypes or business development plans can easily hinder a company’s competitiveness. But it’s more than that: losing sensitive information that a company is obliged to keep and protect under such PII regulations as HIPAA in healthcare, for example, can cause severe penalties.
To prevent data losses, SharePoint-based document management systems offer powerful built-in features, such as data loss prevention (DLP) queries.
DLP queries can identify sensitive and vulnerable information within the organization. Based on the query results, DLP policies can be then set up in SharePoint. Policies may block access to sensitive data and enable only a certain group of users to view and edit such documents. SharePoint offers a range of pre-programmed DLP templates specifying permitted actions. All of this can be managed via the dedicated Compliance Policy Center.
Since Microsoft Office tools are at the heart of SharePoint, the data loss prevention tools will be applied to all the supported document types.
Document management automation through digital solutions mitigates many risks associated with document-based collaboration and helps to prevent financial and productivity losses at enterprises.
One of the market-leading document management and collaboration platforms, SharePoint brings together an essential toolkit required for managing digital records across departments. From effortless version control to more efficient workflows and stronger compliance tracking, it ticks all the boxes for building paper-free and secure workflows.