Adopting and implementing Docsvault document management system may seem as nauseating as the idea of eating an elephant to most people. However, if you remember the old adage about how to eat an elephant – one bite at a time – you may find the process easy. The mission to implement document management system in a medium to a large organization with hundreds of thousands of documents may seem too difficult at the onset. However, if broken down in smaller pieces, it will become as easy as eating a piece of cake. This is what we call strategic document management.

Also, Docsvault is easy to use and implement, requiring minimum learning curve. Nevertheless, here are a few guidelines that will allow you to implement Docsvault in your organization easily:

       I.          Devising a Policy

Document management software (DMS) should be adopted in an organization with a clear mission and vision. Let’s say your mission is to have ‘a paperless office’ or ‘ensure regulatory compliance’ or ‘have a structured filing and retrieval process in your organization’. Your vision should encompass all the aspects of your mission, so when you inform your employees about the implementation of DMS, it will help them connect with the idea and purpose of your goal.

Once they understand the basic concept, they will be able to understand the minute details of your organization’s filing structure and policy. Also ask for your employees inputs, as they are the ones who are going to use it on daily basis. Once you have devised the policy, get it tested by a few department heads or senior managers from various departments; it will help you form a uniform policy throughout your organization that connects all departments with each other and facilitates collaboration.

Here are a few pointers that you must discuss with all the end users to get a brief idea about your documentation policy:

–        Filing structure

–        Naming policies

–        Workflow and task allocations

–        Metadata and profiling

    II.          Deciding Rights And Responsibilities Of Users

Docsvault has a wide range of functionality such as creating cabinets and folders, adding and deleting files, profiling, version control, export documents and many more. However, it is not advisable to give access to all these features to all users. Your users should have access to the functions needed to meet your organization’s need optimally. You can divide your users in different groups to decide different access levels for all these groups.

Let’s say for example the first group includes your senior managers and power users who need access to all functions, the second one includes the majority of your staff who are end users and the third one includes your IT staff who will have admin rights.

Here are examples of access rights that your end users should have so that they can carry out day to day tasks:

–        Create, open, read documents

–        Search files and folders and perhaps save searches if required

–        Edit documents and create new versions of documents (but not overwrite earlier versions)

Here’s a brief idea of rights your power users or senior staff should have:

–        Create and delete cabinets, folders and folder sections where all users store files

–        Create predefined folder, security, audit and profile templates that is to be followed by all your users

–        Run audit queries

–        Empty recycle bin

–        Export documents and folders

Your IT staff should have permissions to enforce security policies, generate reports, configure user logins and access rights, schedule timely backups, etc. to ensure your repository is safe and secure.

Along with these rights, you must also specify the responsibilities of the users so they are accountable for their actions. For instance, your end users must be held responsible for the creation of documents and their metadata whereas your power users must be accountable for all the information exported or deleted. Your IT staff should ensure your backup is up-to-date and the software is functioning without a hitch.

Preparing Filing Structure

This is one of the most crucial points to ensure a good document management system in your organization. Once a set filing structure is defined and communicated with your users, your staff will find it easy to maintain a consistent structure and be able to easily retrieve information quickly.

The first step towards good filing structure is determining your business functions, activities and transactions. Let’s say your business functions are production, sales, marketing, accounts, human resources, etc. Your activities include production planning, project or batch planning, devising marketing strategies, generating sales invoice, settling payments, keying in employee information, etc. Transactions are day to day actions for fulfilling activities and functions.

When you prepare filing structure, make sure it is 3 levels deep – function/activity/transaction. For instance HR/EmployeeData/Insurance&Mediclaim.

Folder names should be alpha-numeric – for example – HR-2012/ED-2011-12/INSM-01. The numeric values can be date or month or year or all of them. These simple coding policies will ensure all your users understand filing conventions easily.

Sometimes, people are overwhelmed by the seemingly complex nature of implementing document management system. The bottom line is to keep it simple. In the next part, we will provide guidelines on naming policies, security policies and email management.

Also, check Part 2 and Part 3 of Strategic Document Management