A curious fact about human nature is that people tend to get used to the way things are—even when the way things are is painfully inefficient. We’re an adaptable species: We create workarounds, look for loopholes, and seek the shortest distance between two points.
But what’s the real gain from finding the shortest distance when those two points live inside a labyrinthine system that defies basic organizational logic? When a different system would streamline the entire process and cut significant time-wasting and stress out of day-to-day operations? The right document management solution properly implemented doesn’t only make your life easier, but lays the foundation for more impactful work.
How We Get Bogged Down
This scenario may be familiar: A meeting with a prospect begins in ten minutes and you need a specific document. You built in extra time to search for it—in fact, you’ve been hunting around for the past hour but still can’t find it. Personal drive, shared drives, it’s nowhere to be found.
Or perhaps you’ve experienced this: You’re wrapping up a completed project. Your organization has embarked upon a plan to “get things more organized” and wants everything related to a project in one place for future reference. But the sharing and collaboration features in your current system are clunky, and the six project team members had their own workarounds for storing resources while in process. Two use unshared Dropbox accounts, one uses Google Drive, and two store on their laptops. You suspect Sandy from accounting uses a pencil, paper, and an abacus. Something that should have taken at most an hour has now consumed your entire day while you’ve hunted down team members and materials. It’s still not done.
Maybe this describes your organization: You’ve finally come to verbal agreement on a proposal for a new client. Now it’s time for signatures. In the Beforetimes, this was already challenging. Walking that document all around your organization so the required parties could sign it before meeting with your client for their signature. In this remote-working era (thanks, COVID) it’s taking several days. You’re still dealing with physical copies while everyone’s spread out over a wide geography.
Technology for More Impactful Work
Document management impacts every part of your workflow. And once a solid document management solution is in place, a world of automating business processes that are needlessly time-consuming opens up to you. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Surely the technology exists to make this less painful,” you’re correct.
What Some Companies Get Wrong
When some organizations upgrade, they import everything as-is from the old system. The result is a more powerful system still encumbered by suboptimal file management. Not entirely unlike trying to drive a performance car with a boot on it.
Some organizations have already implemented a document management solution, but it isn’t going the way they’d hoped. Most often this happens when the solution wasn’t implemented correctly. If SharePoint is a dirty word in your organization, your implementers did it wrong.
We’ve seen Microsoft Teams implementations that make things harder instead of easier. Rather than leveraging the many benefits that streamline and build order, organizations create only one Team, and within it, one document folder for everything. It’s like some bizarre Lord of the Rings methodology: one doc folder to rule them all! Now go find what you need in the dark while battling malevolent forces.
Not having an easy method for gathering digital signatures creates a bottleneck that can set a project timeline behind by weeks. Nobody has weeks to spare at the speed of business today.
A solution should be truly transformative, not simply technology for the sake of technology. This is the transformation part of a digital transformation.
Take a Holistic View
For a transformation to take, you must start with the end user in mind. We start by deeply listening to your organizational concerns, finding out how your team members work, and really homing in on what could smooth out and speed up your workflow.
Our approach is also iterative. We begin by moving files and in so doing make discoveries. As we uncover aspects of your document structure and business processes that would benefit from a new approach, we talk about possibilities inside solutions wider than just SharePoint, like Microsoft 365 as a whole. Solutions that can further streamline document management, automate business processes, and give team members back valuable time in their day to effectively pursue the organization’s mission.
Reclaim Your Time
Here’s what it can look like: A national insurance training company was manually processing course completion credentials. Every week, a lengthy list of people who had finished coursework required certification. The team lost a full day to manually evaluating the list, generating the certificates, and sending them out—every single week. Now, after process automation implementation, the system does this automatically and even creates necessary state-specific affidavits.
We’ve also taken multiple organizations through a process of migration from file servers with lots of nested data and permissions into SharePoint and Teams structures, including spaces for collaboration and intranet implementation. Designed in a thoughtful and collaborative effort with the clients, the result is modernized document management systems that provide the security and organization to work more efficiently.
Implementing a new document management solution takes time. This isn’t something that’s going to come online over a weekend, which is an advantage. You get the time and insight you need to make exactly the decisions you want. Think of it like building a house. There’s a definite order of operations, but you get to create a custom home for your documents: deciding how you want the floorplan laid out, where the features should go, and which room each document will live in.
Resultant is brand agnostic. My team specializes in SharePoint and 365 migrations, but if you have a different preference, we have people who specialize in that, too.
The technology does, in fact, exist.