How many times have you heard the phrase “human error”? Usually this phrase is associated with a person interacting with technology and the blame being placed on the person.
The other phrase we hear is computer error. However, there is no such thing as a computer error or a technology error. Even if the person interacting with a computer or some technology is not to blame for a mistake, somebody built the technology or programmed the computer. It may not have been the user that was to blame, but it still comes back to human error.
Think about a computer program for a moment. Whatever the program does is exactly what it was programmed to do. While it may be wrong, it can only follow the instructions that were entered into it by the programmer. Without beating a dead horse, let’s just take this one step further. If you have a computer program that adds two numbers together and then provides the sum, if the answer is wrong, the problem was that the programmer made a mistake. The program itself did not make a mistake, the person who designed the program made the mistake. Whatever the answer was, the program did exactly what it was designed to do. It was just designed incorrectly.
So why harp on human error? And what does this have to do with document management? It’s simple; it’s all about asking the right questions and system set-up. While storing documents in an online document management system will provide benefits to any organization, to be truly effective, some thought needs to go into the initial set up. That’s what determines your success.
Document Management Exploration
One of the first steps in setting up your online document management system is to determine what documents will be stored in the system. Exploration is the process of looking at all your organization’s documents to determine:
- Where do they come from
- Who creates them
- How long they need to be stored
- Who accesses them
- How are they get accessed
- What other documents are they related to
- Are they part of a document set
Armed with this information you can start to lay out the basic structure for your online document management system. The next step is system design or set-up.
Document Management System Design
Here’s where you determine how documents are going to be accessed and how they are grouped together. From the information gathered in the exploration phase, you can create the underlying electronic archive structures (think of these as electronic folders or perhaps electronic file cabinets) with appropriate indexes.
Assuming a good system design, finding documents becomes effortless. This increases employee productivity. However, document management systems are very forgiving by design. Even if your document discovery was done poorly and even if you did not customize your document management system correctly, users will typically still be able to find the documents they are looking for because of the many ways the documents can be indexed or “filed”.
Now this is not an excuse for not doing your homework up front. If you spend the time to set-up correctly in the beginning, it will make for a better user experience and for easier maintenance.
Get Help for the Exploration and Design
The reason you go to a doctor is because you don’t want to treat yourself. Most people take their cars to a mechanic to get it serviced. Why is this? It’s because of the knowledge and experience of the professionals.
Why not do the same thing with your document management application? Given the benefits of a properly set up system, doesn’t it make sense to engage professionals that have experience? For more information on how DocuVantage can help you with your Document Management Set-Up, please visit our document management services page, we help each one of our clients with their exploration and set-up. We also make sure that your solution is a success from day one and guarantee it.