4 Document Management Steps You Should Follow
Has your ERP data storage grown exponentially over the past few years? Has your business become a pack rat, hanging onto records and data just because you can? As electronic storage capacity has increased and gotten cheaper, it is much easier to hold on to information. While it may seem that the cost to store data is cheap, it can be more expensive than you think. These hidden costs are why having document archiving capability, as a part of a document management system, is so important.
Big data and the intelligence we gather from that data have helped businesses become more strategic, efficient, and customer-focused. You’ve considered the question, “How do we get value from all of the data we’ve been accumulating.” However, as electronic data and paperwork accumulates, we need to ask the question, “What information should we really be keeping?” This question is addressed by Information Governance.
The hidden costs of too much data
Information Governance encompasses document management as well as information security, compliance, business intelligence, and big data. It attempts to find the balance point between extracting value from data and reducing the potential risk of data. While the cost of storage may be minimal, it can cost exponentially more if there is ever a reason to do e-discovery for legal or compliance reasons. When there is a legal action of some sort, auditors or regulators or the FBI can secure the data on a company’s servers and workstations and sift through it all. A study by the RAND Corporation, Where the Money Goes, estimates that e-discovery costs an average of $18,000 per gigabyte.
4 ways to manage the risk
There are steps that you can take to minimize your risk.
- If you don’t need it, delete it. Yes, this can take time, but every piece of unneeded information not only costs money to store, but it is a liability. Think of all of those emails in your inbox that also have attached documents.
- Purge customer email and unnecessary information. You are liable for customer data. If a customer is subject to legal action that requires e-discovery, and you have received related customer data, your systems are open for discovery as well.
- Classify information. You should classify all information that you are storing. For example, if an email string is discussing sensitive company information like business strategy or engineering changes, that email should be clearly marked as confidential. This is legal protection.
- Make document management policies and follow them. It can be easy to ignore the document archiving process—the task is complete and you move on. However, creating a document management strategy is important for your long-term success and efficiency.
You can perform document management manually—that’s what you had to do when your documents were all paper—but automated document management systems (DMS) are available that can make retrieval, retention and disposition easy.
Automated document management helps to reduce liability
A good document management system performs many tasks that make information governance much more simple. A few things that it can do automatically for you:
- Securely maintain important documents with an audit trail. You are responsible for documents that are referenced or subject to e-discovery throughout their entire retention period. It is important that they remain unchanged, secure, easily accessed, and have an audit trail.
- Create a library of documents for easy access. A DMS will automatically archive your documents and make them easy to search and browse. It will keep documents that may have started out in proprietary forms in standard PDF format.
- Purge documents when they are no longer needed. One way to ensure that your document archival policies are followed is to automate that process. A DMS can keep track of required retention periods and purge documents that are no longer needed.
- Secure your important work papers. A fundamental piece of any good document management system is security.
Manage your documents with Sage ERP Document Management
Don’t take chances with your documents. ASI offers Sage ERP Document Management by Altec to help you capture documents, streamline business processes and automate distribution of documents. One part of this product’s capabilities is document storage and retrieval with full audit tracking and role-based security. Contact us to learn how you can integrate this document management system with Sage ERP software.