Poor Document Management Is a Major Productivity Bottleneck, Says Study

A lot can be done to improve the accessibility to our professional documents. The payoff is higher productivity and saved cost and time, says a global study.

How difficult is it to find the information and documents you need? What are our favorite document management applications? How good are we making our documents available to our workmates? How do our documents link to our business processes and the tools we use? What are the most frequent issues that poorly managed documents cause?

To find answers to these questions M-Files, a leading supplier of robust document management platforms, commissioned a global survey of 1,500 office workers. The findings were very similar to the ones we have encountered in our projects with our customers.

Indeed, it looks like there is a lot that can be done to improve the accessibility to our professional documents – and the indispensable information they carry. The payoff would be simply higher productivity and saved cost and time, as the study results show.

Email – our favorite document management tool

Let’s first look at what the study says about the tools we use to keep our documents in order. One would immediately start thinking about repositories from SharePoint to network drives… But no. Our number one document management app is email — arguably not the best-equipped system to manage large volumes of company information:

  • 4 repositories are used on average by an organization to store and manage documents and other information.
  • Microsoft Office Suite (61%), followed by file hosting systems (42%), are the most likely line of business applications used.
  • The most likely repository is email, cited by 69% of respondents, followed by shared network drives and folders (55%) and/or information saved locally to desktop or laptop (54%).
Poor document management usually results from inappropriate tools

Email is our favorite document management tool.

We want centralized repositories – but go for scattered

There is more and more talk about bringing all our data together in one place. Yet, it looks like the opposite is happening. Data is rather getting fragmented in separate repositories that do not communicate that well with one another. Things get confusing, as the study results show:

  • 82% say that navigating through different systems/locations for the most current versions of documents negatively affects productivity
  • 83% of workers have had to recreate a document which already existed because they were unable to find it on their corporate network
  • 88% say they’d benefit if they could reliably search for their documents in one place – no matter where they’re stored.
The productivity loss from poor document management can be huge

Bad document management is a productivity issue.

Easy-to-find: not easy to accomplish

And yes, you may (and often do) find it difficult to spot a relevant place where to save a document. Is it then any wonder that your colleagues will find it hard to find it?

  • 82% respondents find it challenging to name or tag a document when saving it, to ensure their colleagues could find it easily
  • 93% report that at some point they have been unable to find a document because it had been badly named or tagged when filed
  • 73% say their organization has no clear guidelines on how documents should be labeled.
3 key reasons why poorly managed documents are hard to find

3 key reasons why poorly managed documents are hard to find.

Make documents more relevant: link them to your business process

But isn’t it true that most of our documents are relevant in just certain phases of the entire business process? So what if we could make them pop up in front of our eyes only when the time is right? Indeed, of the study respondents:

  • 81% say it would be beneficial to see documents in context
  • 83% say it would be beneficial to link documents back to the related information stored in business applications
  • 91% say their job would be easier if they could quickly access the most current document version without having to worry about where it resides.
Document productivity solutions make documents easier to find and use

Improve your business processes simply by linking the related documents to them.

Can it be fixed?

Mind you, it is no chicken feed we are speaking about. In a study, IDC revealed that the unproductive time workers spend as a result of information management inefficiencies amounts to a loss of 21% of the organization’s total productivity. This equals nearly $20,000 per worker per year.

It pays to fix the issues with poorly managed documents. You might be working in a document-heavy organization with, possibly, multiple tools for document production and equally many repositories. If so, a specific document management system (like M-Files) that integrates well with your key platforms can help a lot.

And then, many of us are working today in organizations that rely on modern online technologies and advanced business automation. In that case, it rather makes sense to go for a document automation app that tackles both the document production and management issues in a productive way.

Research shows that by automating your contract creation in Salesforce, you can cut operating and processing costs by up to 30% and accelerate the negotiation cycle by 50%

For Salesforce, the Documill Dynamo document automation app can do just these things. In fact, it can do even a lot more to accelerate your business processes. Would you like to get a demo right away?

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