Wondering about the benefits of good electronic document filing? With the acceleration of communication and the multiplication of information-sharing platforms, companies are managing ever-increasing volumes of documents.
At the same time, valuable time is often lost in searching, or due to the confusion generated by the duplication of information. All this generates significant costs for companies. However, solutions do exist! Would you like to learn more about good practices for document accessibility and classification? Soluqual can shed some light on the subject.
Records classification is the process of adding attributes or metadata to a
record based on its
content, context, utility, etc.
A company's records and information management are essential to the effective functioning of a business. The way in which an organization classifies, classifies and organizes its documentation has a strong influence on the efficiency of the teams that work on the basis of it.
According to Dynamic Signals, 85% of employees lose 1 to 2 hours a day searching for information. And in most cases, overtime is also lost by duplicating this information. In this context, a thoughtful and efficient document classification method becomes essential to meet business needs and ensure productivity.
Indeed, fast, secure and efficient access to data ensures better document management as well as the fluidity of exchanges. Moreover, this improved management actively participates in its growth! However, many companies still operate with traditional methods of filing documents that no longer meet their needs and slow down their productivity.
Traditionally, many organizations used a file server to file their documents, and any decision on filing was left to individual employees based on their experience, preferences and knowledge. This particularly affects the accessibility of documents, in addition to posing information security risks.
These methods of classifying and archiving documents resided in the implementation of a directory structure. Some very large and others simpler, this structure varied considerably according to staff turnover. It became extremely difficult for people who were not the authors of the structure or for new staff members to find their way around. This also greatly increased the risks and costs associated with staff turnover.
Let's take a concrete
example of traditionally archived and filed documents. Our
organization creates an
administrative document for the preliminary analysis of a project to implement a new ERP system for a client. This document could be classified
● Classification by customer : the first stage includes a customer directory, let's take the example of the "Plomberie d'à Côté" customer, it will be classified as such: \\Clients\Plomberie-d'à-Côté
● Classification by year : when there are a large number of projects for the client, the organization or employee may decide to rank the projects by year. For 2020, this would take the form of: \customers-- Plumbing-Side2020
● Classification by project : then a directory for the project as such is created: \customers-- Plumbing-Side\2020\Implementation ERP System
● Creation of sub-directories : a major project will generate a large number of documents, which will involve the creation of sub-directories to classify this information (pre-sales, analysis, communication, deliverables...). This will take the form of : \customers-Side Plumbing Implementation ERP System\Analysis
To retrieve this information, an employee must know the entire path. First, he needs to know the name of the customer, which should be fairly easy. Second, he will need to know the year in which the project was classified. This part can already be a challenge, especially if the project started several years ago.
Let's assume in this example that our collaborator was trying to locate the preliminary analysis document or to file another analysis document. Believing that the project was started in 2019, he would, therefore, enter the 2019 directory rather than the 2020 directory. Since the project he was looking for is under the 2020 directory, he will not find the information he was looking for.
He could then choose to :
Finally, if the collaborator finds the project, it is possible that a preliminary analysis document has been produced before the file is sold. It then becomes difficult to know whether the document is in the "presale" or "analysis" file. Once again, in addition to wasting time locating the document, the collaborator may hesitate about which file to file new information in, ultimately duplicating the information.
As you will have understood, the risk of error and the loss of time to find the information can result in significant costs for the company, as well as a risk of error that can be very costly when it comes to important documents or documents with legal implications.
Records classification by metadata is simply the application of metadata or properties to electronic information and records. Records classification is rarely used alone. It is used in conjunction with a classification structure and helps to simplify the classification structure.
First, it is important to know that the goal is not to eliminate the classification structure. The filing structure can still be very useful. For example, many systems do not allow two documents with the same name in the same directory and managing permissions per directory is often much simpler than per document.
For example, the "client\project" structure can be retained and then create different metadata for the year or other categories relevant to the project. Using our previous example, the preliminary analysis document could be deposited directly into the directory \Customers-Side Plumbing ERP System Implementation.
In this case, a preliminary analysis document could have two properties such as "presale" and "analysis". It, therefore, has the advantage of being easy to classify and locate by a collaborator who is familiar with the project information.
Let's go back to our example where our collaborator wants to locate our preliminary analysis document:
● He will first have to find the client's directory, but in this case, he will no longer have to know or guess the year in which the project started,
● If there are a large number of projects, it will be able to use the metadata of the year to filter all projects started between 2018 and 2020 for example,
● Finally, it will be able to locate the preliminary analysis document directly under the project.
If there are a very large number of documents, he could filter the documents according to the classification he wants, such as "Analysis" or "Pre-sales" for example. The subtle advantage, in this case, is that the user can choose one or the other filter based on his knowledge of the project and find the right information. For example, a collaborator doing a search via the "Pre-sales" filter, without knowing that an analysis has been made, will be able to find the "Analysis" document by this means.
The key is that it is no longer necessary for the user to know all the information to find the document, but some of the information is sufficient. This method also allows new functionalities such as "horizontal" searches, where it would be possible to find all the analysis documents for the same client, regardless of the project, which would have been a laborious task in the first scenario.
As you can see, no matter which filter you choose, our employee will now be able to retrieve the information quickly. In such a simple structure, the nuance between the two approaches may seem insignificant. However, it can make a major difference between a well-executed project and a project with costly errors. Moreover, these errors tarnish the image of an organization.
Of course, whichever approach you choose, you will always need to consider information governance, change management and training of your employees to optimize your productivity and reduce the risk of errors.
Soluqual develops process automation, information and documentation management solutions for companies. Would you like to learn more about document management and classification in companies? Take advantage of our resources and articles on enterprise automation and document management or learn more about our process automation services.
Seize the opportunity to increase your growth, productivity, and reduce your margin of error! Do not hesitate to contact a member of our team to tell us about your projects. It will be our pleasure to work with you to find a durable and solid classification solution.