Document control – What is it and why is it important?
Have you ever in the course of a workday, maybe during a project, asked yourself: Where could that file be? That attachment? Or that document? Then you have had a brush with something central and fundamental to records management.
In the past, everything was on paper, and all offices regardless of industry had an archive and an archival system where documentation was stored based on subject, title, date, author, project, etc. The idea was that everyone were to be able to find the latest revision of what they needed and feel confident that nothing got lost.
Most modern records management systems function the same way and have the same purpose, but today we can do so much more.
The advantages of a records management system
There are a number of good reasons why an enterprise should have both administrative and technical documentation organized and under control. Let’s look at a couple of typical and generally accepted reasons:
- Centrally stored documentation is available and can be safeguarded
Most companies have a significant amount of documentation in electronic formats worthy of saving, business-critical e-mail being a prime example. When a user only saves e-mails and documents locally, they are inaccessible and in the worst case unknown to everyone else. At the same time, there is no control over the security. A shared records management system can capture the documentation, ensure its integrity and security, and provide everybody with controlled access to the documentation that the organization decides to store.
- The organization saves time and money
When all users place archive-worthy documents in a shared system, everyone saves time and is spared frustrations when searching and reusing. Time saved is money saved. In many organizations, some 10 percent of all work hours are spent searching and verifying. Here money can be saved.
- The employees avoid unnecessary duplicate efforts and duplicate documentation
A records management system saves employees unnecessary duplicate efforts and enables them to reuse existing documentation. That way they can avoid doing the same over and over again and can more easily make use of information others have written and/or saved.
- Publishing is simplified
Current solutions for records management are easy to integrate with web pages, making it easier to publish documentation that needs to be released, and have metadata simplifying indexing. Thus for instance search hits from search engines like Google are better secured.
- The system controls the workflows
With one shared system that everyone collaborates on, it is easy to send out documents consisting of one or more files per document for an internal hearing and receive comments from others internally and externally. The system controls these internal processes and makes it possible to track who comments what and when.
Such a workflow feature can also ensure the production of formal transmittal letters for shipments of documents to customers and others receiving documentation.
- Archiving as easy as one-two-three
Last, but not least, the actual archiving of a document is as easy as one-two-three. The system can be configured to generate a unique number and support terms such as title, date, document type, category, etc. This also ensures compliance with the storage requirements while at the same time allowing files to be automatically moved to cheaper storage media after set times.
With a records management solution, all business critical documentation is handled equally, which makes life easier for everyone. Even old and passive documentation is made available just like the newest version for those who need that.