No matter the size of your business, information is flowing through your organization at a rapid pace. Both digital and paper documents are filled with critical data, but without a solid strategy in place for managing that information, you risk rework, inefficiencies, and even data loss.
From your customers to your leaders and employees, various stakeholders use your content to take care of business. A document strategy is a set of actions that your business follows to manage this content. But a good strategy requires effective:
When it’s time to design a solid document strategy for your business, you need to define your objectives and follow best practices to achieve those goals. Aim for these 5 objectives to design a strong document strategy that gets results.
1 - Define your goals
What does your organization need to get out of this document strategy? This will be different for every business. For example, maybe you want to deliver consistent content to your stakeholders in real-time. That means your organization needs a strategy that accommodates real-time document sharing.
You can’t move forward without specific goals. Always define your needs to make the most of your investment in a document strategy.
2 - Identify all potential stakeholders
Who will be affected by your document strategy? It’s not only your leaders and employees: customers, vendors, industry regulators, and other outside parties are also stakeholders in this process. Be sure to define the functional areas and all of the stakeholders who will be affected.
3 - Check for regulatory requirements
Is your organization beholden to industry standards or regulatory requirements? Unless you want to pay steep fines or penalties, you always need to consider regulatory concerns as part of your long-term document strategy.
4 - Develop success metrics
What does success look like to you? Decide on your metrics before creating a document strategy so you can tell if the initiative is successful. Common metrics include:
5 - Measure your current state
Your current document management strategy probably isn’t where you want it to be. That’s okay! But be sure to measure the current state of your organization.
This will help you better define your future target state. Include specific, quantitative metrics in your current state and define what you need those numbers to look like with a new document strategy.
5 best practices for achieving your objectives
These 5 objectives are critical to designing a better document strategy in the long run. However, without best practices, it’s difficult to create a strategy that works for your business. Follow these 5 tips to achieve your objectives and see real results from your team’s hard work.
1 - Ensure you align with the overall business strategy
You know you need a document strategy, but does your strategy line up with your other business objectives? For example, if your organization’s goal is to improve the customer experience, your document strategy should also serve that purpose. If your document strategy efforts aren’t in alignment with the organization’s goals or mission, you risk creating a strategy that just can’t work.
2 - Work with all stakeholders
Document strategy affects so many stakeholders. It’s your job to anticipate the needs of these stakeholders and proactively add their needs to your strategy. This way, when it’s time to get stakeholder approval, you stand a better chance of getting positive feedback more quickly and remove the need for tedious revisions.
3 - Obtain executive sponsorship
Executive sponsorship is crucial to the success of your document strategy. Buy-in is critical at every stage, but if your C-suite doesn’t agree with your direction, it will be difficult securing the manpower or budget to execute your strategy successfully. Involve leadership at every stage of the process to encourage organizational buy-in.
4 - Create a governing body
You don’t need to make all of these decisions by yourself. Create a team that’s responsible for your document strategy overhaul. They should act as a governing body for the initiative, becoming subject matter experts who make decisions on behalf of the organization. This is the best way to make decisions quickly, consider potential outcomes, and address all stakeholder needs without holding up the project.
5 - Review your document strategy regularly
A document strategy is never set in stone. You’ll need to review and revise your objectives over time. After all, your organization will change as the world changes, so schedule regular check-ins to design an agile and responsive strategy that holds up over time.
How are you managing the information flowing through your organization? If your business doesn’t have a document strategy in place, you’re risking inefficiencies and lost productivity. Follow these 5 objectives and best practices to design the most effective document strategy for your organization.
Feeling stuck? Meet with Ryan for trusted advice on your document strategy.