Documents are essential assets for every business. From customer and sales records to employee and company data–businesses of all sizes create, collect, store, and use hundreds to thousands of documents. And as your business grows, so is the volume of files and documents you need to manage. 

That said, it’s common for businesses to struggle to keep up with document management strategies, which can negatively impact your company’s operations and productivity. This is where a well-planned document management strategy comes in. 

In this article, you’ll learn the basics of document management strategy and how to build an effective one for your startup. 

Understanding Document Management Strategy

A document management strategy dictates how your business should collect, create, organize, store, distribute, maintain, and destroy documents. Essentially, a document management strategy lays out how your startup handles physical and electronic documents.

When done right, a document management strategy can provide numerous benefits to your business, including:

  • Improved workflow efficiency
  • Risk reduction and regulatory compliance
  • Reduced operational and storage costs
  • Improving team accessibility and productivity
  • Monitoring and managing document activities

Creating An Effective Document Management Strategy

To help you implement a successful document management strategy in your organization, here are essential steps to follow:

1. Assemble Your Team

Whenever you plan for any corporate strategy, assigning a team responsible for the policy’s creation and implementation is essential. The right team can help ensure all documents and processes are considered.  

Generally, you want the team to include individuals from each department who can assess and voice out their department’s demands to ensure that their needs are incorporated into the overall plan.

2. Define Technological Requirements

An effective document management strategy requires the right technology to help streamline the process. As such, you want to define the technical requirements that match your business’s needs. From document management systems to document transmission solutions like online fax from a computer, your project team should identify the right technology that can be beneficial in collecting, creating, storing and managing documents. 

For this step, you need to assess your options for technology solutions. No system works for all businesses. So, find the one that works for your startup’s goals, needs, and budget. 

3. Assess Your Existing Processes

With your team, thoroughly assess each department’s existing document management processes. During this step, study and investigate each protocol and determine the current document lifecycle. For example, how are your documents created, collected, processed, stored, and deleted? 

This approach can give you a better insight into the current document management processes, helping you understand which areas in your workflow need improvement.

4. Create Goals And Metrics

It’s easier to take on projects knowing what you want to achieve and how. As such, defining goals and metrics are necessary to help you understand whether or not your strategy was effective. 

Whether you want to optimize your documents while lowering costs or be a paperless company, you want to be as specific as possible with your goals. Whatever your reasoning, having clear goals and the right metrics to measure your results against can help you see if you’re on the right track.

5. Develop And Detail Your Strategy

Now that you have the essential information and insights you need, you can start ironing out the details of your startup’s document management strategy.

Generally, you’d want your strategy to cover the following considerations:

  • Promote automation of existing workflows
  • Standardize how documents are captured, collected, and processed
  • Creating a robust data backup and recovery process
  • Establish strict permission and access control to sensitive files and documents

6. Roll Out The Strategy To Your Team 

Once you’ve sorted out the technical details of your startup’s document management strategy, it’s time to implement it. You can roll out the strategy across one department to see how it would go before implementing it across the entire company.  

To do this seamlessly, ensure employees are thoroughly trained on the new management strategy and systems. This is particularly important if the new workflows differ from the previous ones.

7. Continuously Review And Tweak Your Process

The work doesn’t end after a successful implementation. You must conduct regular reviews and checks to ensure your employees adhere to your outlined document management strategy. Also, you want to check if these strategies help you achieve the goals you’ve set out. Otherwise, you can make the necessary tweaks to your strategy to improve its success. 

Wrapping Up

Every business, particularly startups, needs a well-rounded document management strategy allowing employees to manage critical documents easily. By following the steps mentioned above, you can create a strategy that can help control the flow of documents and information in your organization, improve the accessibility of files, protect sensitive data, and ensure compliance with government regulations.