The world is increasingly digital, and as such, it is incredibly difficult to navigate the professional landscape without having an awareness of and the skills to carry out digital tasks. As a result, Digital document management is becoming a more and more desirable skill; the job market is competitive, and it is paramount that the right steps are taken to allow someone to keep up or even stand out from the other candidates, and digital document management can help.
Filing & Numbering
Digital documents need to be stored correctly; it makes it easier to access them when they need to be referred back to for whatever reason. The filing system needs to make sense for the business. Think about how the files are numbered and where they are stored. Consistency is important because it can make it difficult for other users to find the right files. Numbering the files diligently makes it easier when it comes to creating the reports too. Storing the files can take up a lot of room, especially if the files themselves are large, which is why learning how to compress files and PDFs is another vital digital document skill.
Depending on the needs of the business, it is likely that documents will need to be distributed for a number of reasons. Distributing documents properly depends on the purpose of the document; if it is only meant to be viewed, then you have more options than if you need others to remotely collaborate on the documents. Emails take up time, and they aren’t the most secure option. There are a few different methods to explore depending on the intention of the document. You need to be able to assign different levels of access to different people using a filter system. This can limit the need to act as a gatekeeper when permission is assigned and save time too. While it might be somewhat time-consuming initially to set up the different levels of access and assign them as needed, once done, it requires almost no maintenance unless, of course, the personnel itself changes.
Collaboration & Reviews
Instead of having to print the documents, make changes and scan documents for reupload or even download the documents, make the changes, and reupload, there are more efficient ways. You need to be able to work on a document collaboratively, review it and make any necessary changes with ease. This means changing the master document as opposed to creating different versions that then need keeping track of. Collaborating on and reviewing documents goes hand-in-hand with your distribution methods. This can even go back to how the documents are stored. The right platform can facilitate these actions, allowing multiple users to access and make changes to a single document as necessary. It is also possible to merge documents if necessary, but this is a longer process that requires more human oversight than simply collaborating on a single document.
Integrating documents digitally is vital for a few different areas of the business, like procurement and cost control. This is why, as mentioned above, you need your collaborative efforts or document revisions to integrate with the software properly in order to ensure that the final or newest draft is always the one that is available. However, more than that, any data entered into the system needs to be able to fully integrate with your software and records ideally, automatically. It is no use only having the latest version of the document available in one place. It needs to integrate with the system in order to be accessed remotely by anyone who needs it. This can save time and energy and help to streamline processes.
Traditionally, all reports were created by hand, which could be a cumbersome and time-consuming task with the constant need to refer back to and cite the correct data. Reporting now falls under the digital document management umbrella. The reports need to be formatted properly and consistently across the board, which is where the filing and numbering efforts come in. If the report is going to refer back to something, it needs to be found easily in the digital filing system. The efficacy of the integration process and the access to the data will affect the accuracy of the reports, which is why it is important that the right systems be put in place. Finally, the reports need to be user-friendly. This means transforming the data into easily digestible summaries and conclusions to ensure that they can be understood at a glance.
The Bottom Line
Digital document management is becoming less of a desirable skill and more of a necessary skill. Employers take this ability for granted because, in this day and age, everyone should know at least the basics of managing documents digitally. If you lack this knowledge, then fear not; there are a tonne of resources out there that can help you learn from infographics, step-by-step guides and tutorials too.