The public cloud service market is expected to reach $623.3 billion by 2023 worldwide. Organizations are making the move toward cloud services, such as Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365, removing the hassle of maintaining and updating systems. With cloud services, documents can be shared quickly and securely, and personal computers can be left with memories intact, with less clutter on desktops or documents left unfiled.
However, as with any emerging technology, there exist concerns over the safety of cloud storage. Document management is always more streamlined in the cloud, since there is less uploading and filing of documents (as they can be created in the place they’ll be stored). But use of cloud storage can create other challenges for teams who do not make use of a good document management system. In this blog, we look at the importance of cloud document management for your business.
What’s so great about the cloud?
The cloud computing market is growing – and it’s easy to see why. Cloud services, like Microsoft 365 or Azure, make document sharing and filing easy which, in a remote working setup, has never been more important. Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits:
Cost-friendly – traditional methods of digital storage mean large investment in servers to store data, as well as the accompanying software, security, and upkeep of all your hardware. Cloud computing services typically operate by a pay-as-you-go structure, meaning that you pay monthly and only for what you use.
Scalable – cloud computing services can be scaled easily, whether a company reduces in size or grows exponentially. Either way, storage space and SaaS solutions can be managed through changing licenses and permissions. With traditional storage methods, companies might be lumbered with extra machines in the case of redundancies (something many businesses saw during the pandemic) or are tasked with equipping a bunch of new hires.
Flexible – the flexibility of cloud computing has been a huge asset to organizations that moved to a remote setup in 2020 (and continue to operate in this way). Documents can be accessed and shared, whether employees are working in the office or at home.
Backup and recovery – the process of backing-up and recovering data is much easier for cloud users than employees working on a hard drive. Users can easily restore files and recover data, without imploring the help of IT teams.
What are the concerns of using the cloud without document management?
A main concern of business leaders new to cloud computing is that many documents are accessible to everyone. Using Microsoft 365, for example, without Microsoft document management allows employees to create, edit, move, duplicate, and delete documents – creating a potential “wild west” storage situation. If documents are filed incorrectly, accidentally deleted, or moved to another folder, it can create a chaotic filing system or place important company information at risk.
An open filing structure also creates problems when it comes to finding a document. If there is no guidance on where documents should be stored, it is likely that employees will use different methods for filing their work (different naming conventions for example) or will store their work in places other employees wouldn’t think to look. For organizations that rely on document collaboration, this sporadic approach to filing can hamper productivity and cause frustration for employees.
Get your filing system in shape with cloud document management
With more organizations moving toward cloud services, it’s important that documents are being managed intelligently, coherently, and in a way that supports the business long-term. The Microsoft ecosystem is intuitive and user-friendly, but it still needs to be managed and governed. Here are four immediate steps you can take:
1. Establish a cloud document management system – the way in which documents are created, filed, and shared needs to be defined for all employees. Consider which naming conventions to use when filing a document and make sure that it’s consistent. This will help employees find documents more easily. Use folders and sub-folders to guide employees to the right place. The more intuitive your filing structure is, the less time employees will spend hunting down documents.
2. Educate employees – having a defined Microsoft document management system is great – unless no one knows about it. Training employees about how to create, access, and file documents is a laborious task, but one which improves productivity over time. It should be part of the onboarding process for new hires, and refresher sessions can be helpful for established employees. Consider creating an explainer video and distributing it among staff. Or create something memorable like an infographic. These kinds of assets cut out one-to-one training and give employees something to refer to.
3. Assign responsibility – cloud document management is a process which should be overseen. Once a system has been defined, and employees trained, appoint employees to check it’s being adhered to. This could be an administration professional, an account manager, or HR employee – in whichever case, accountability drives results. It ensures that folders are maintained over time and reduces a backlog in administration.
4. Check licenses and permissions – most organizations will store sensitive or customer data in their network. There are a variety of steps which can be taken to protect cloud data, but at a basic level it’s important that companies use password protected folders, check viewing statuses for documents (disable editing rights for example), and check licenses have not been given to employees who don’t need them.
To learn more about Microsoft document management, and what steps you can take for your business, contact the team at ZAACT Consulting.