Posted by media on September 14, 2017 at 9:00 AM
Properly storing files has been a priority for companies, ever since the dawn of computing. According to the widely cited whitepaper - The High Cost of Not Finding Information - by IDC, a global provider of market intelligence for the IT sector - a company with 1,000 workers loses almost 45,500 euros per month just for not being able to find and retrieve already existing information.
This claim is based on the evidence that misplacing a file can force us to re-do hours or even days of work. In this post we list the top 10 tips to easily organize your digital documents.
This post is also available in Spanish.
Currently, most of us store our digital files locally, in the cloud and in servers connected to a single network (called NAS, from network-attached storage).
Although great advances have been made in hypertextual searches, maintaining organized files continues to be fundamental to easily manage large amounts of digital documentation.
So, saving and organizing our digital documents is perhaps more complicated than ever before.
Although file search engines continue to improve, keeping and organizing our documents today is a source of competitive advantage, because in the digital economy time is money.
Source: The High Cost of Not Finding Information
Therefore, companies must establish systems to ensure that all information is organized and updated. It’s also important to not neglect other important benefits of good document management:
There are naturally many software solutions in the market to ease this document management, but today we will focus on top ten recommendations which are independent of any document management software that you may implement into your organization.
Create and share among your employees company rules on how to store digital documents. Rules should be precise: how to name folders and files, when to switch between local use or the cloud, and when and how to perform backups, among other rules.
Of course, with a subfolder structure. Saving all of your organization’s digital files in this main folder - by default referred to as “My Server” - will make it easier to search and backup.
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3. Use self-explanatory names
It’s very important to use self-explanatory names for folders and files. Acronyms may seem like a good idea to abbreviate, but in order to continue interpreting the meaning and hierarchy over time it’s important to use descriptive formulas (current clients, old clients, invoices, offers, etc …).
Descriptive names must also be short. Although Windows allows folder and file names with up to 260 characters, be brief: separate words with underscores and avoid using any strange characters that may make those names incompatible with other platforms.
>> Related post: Saving paper and other advantages of a paperless office
5. The greater the volume of information, the greater the need for sub-folders
Over time, your files’ complexity is sure to increase, as the amount of files increases. In this moment, consider incorporating subfolders to distribute the information. For example, if a directory with invoices grows exponentially, don't delete the old ones nor create a new folder: instead, put them in subfolders corresponding to the different fiscal years (2014, 2015, 2016,...).
A good way to name your digital files is by using the last editing date inverted - that means, 20161204 for December 4th, 2016. This way, when alphabetically ordering a folder, it will be automatically organized by dates. At the end of the name, it's also recommended to include numbers of successive versions (_v2, _v3, _v4...).
It’s important to properly organize files from the first moment, rather than saving them first locally and later move them to where they belong. This is an unnecessary step that often leads to the “disappearance” of the document in question.
Create subfolders with Old Versions or Inactive files when certain documents become outdated. You never know if you’ll need them in the future.
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In the current context, there are different ways to perform a backup:
The challenge: to empty your local document folder and to transfer all of your digital content to your server, so that it is properly stored in the appropriate folder.
Although they often go unnoticed, the costs of not finding the right information when it’s needed are enormous.
It is not only about the time lost looking for information that may not be stored, or about the time lost duplicating documents that are there but can't be found.
It’s that accessing relevant information in the right time is crucial to make the right decisions.
After all, the problems that arise from bad decisions are simply a failure in the information used (because it is wrong, obsolete, etc.).
We hope these 10 tips will contribute to organizing digital documents properly in your company. And with this you will take well informed decisions on time. Therefore, the right decisions.
This post is also available in Spanish.
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