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The Importance Of Consistency In Digital Document Management

Nowadays, there are very few businesses that do not, in part, make use of digital files. This has been true since office software really became widespread but, nowadays, with our ability to interconnect with workers remotely and across shared networks, we’re also sharing and collaborating on files much more than ever.

Author:Gordon Dickerson
Reviewer:Darren Mcpherson
Apr 18, 2024
Nowadays, there are very few businesses that do not, in part, make use of digital files. This has been true since office software really became widespread but, nowadays, with our ability to interconnect with workers remotely and across shared networks, we’re also sharing and collaborating on files much more than ever. However, this also makes it vital that we adhere to consistent file management standards within the business. Here are a few examples of file standards that you should consider and why they can be so vital to your business.

Start Digitizing

As we are moving into an increasingly digital future, it’s becoming apparent that more businesses favor digital storage and organization over their more analog alternatives. This might mean that physical file storage is less of a priority, which can make it easier to lose files. While you should also consider making sure that your physical storage standards are up to stuff, you may also want to start digitizingand uploading your files, moving them from a physical format to a digital format, which can be done with most as easily as using a scanner. Of course, there are some files that you need to keep in physical form, for legal reasons, so you don’t have to get rid of every piece of paper you digitize.

Create a Consistent Folder and File Naming System

When you’re working on your own local hardware, then you might think of all kinds of naming conventions for folders and files that make sense to you, personally, but they may not make a lot of sense when they’re shared. You should be sure to name your folders properly, based on the type of content contained inside, so that you’re able to quickly find what you need. Use descriptive names of all pieces of content within, as well. The name should make the purpose immediately obvious to anyone who is told to go and find it and should differentiate between in-progress and complete files.

Use Subfolders to Your Advantage

If you begin to find that folders are starting to feel bloated with files, to the point that it makes it difficult to identify and find specific ones, then splitting them into subfolders can help a lot. For instance, you can create sub-folders based on the specific file types stored within, such as one for images, one for text files, one for PDFs, and so on. You can also create subfolders for the month or year that the file was made so that it’s a lot easier to find historical files based on when you were working with them. There are likely to be contexts more relevant to your own business that you can use as a basis for sub-folders, of course, so if they make sense, go with them.
Use Subfolders to Your Advantage
Use Subfolders to Your Advantage

Use Metadata to Make Files Easier to Find

Well-named files within organized folders can certainly make it a lot easier to find specific files, but you can make it even easier with the usage of the right metadata. Using metadata, you can assign keywords to files, that can be relevant to specific campaigns, individual departments within the team, named goals, and so on. As such, if someone needs to find all of the files that are relevant to their department, for instance, they can simply perform a search with that term and the appropriate files will appear, even if those terms are not in their title, so long as they are in their metadata. This can provide your team with the tools they need to independently find the files relevant to them.

Be Careful With Access Permissions

If you’re sharing files across an internal network or across the Cloud, then you might want to be mindful of who has access to what. Not only can it be vital for security reasons, but you may also want to be able to track the version history of files with more care, so that you can know who is working on what, and be able to pinpoint any edits that have been made. Access rights can be set broadly across categories and departments so that you can quickly access editing or viewing permissions to multiple people at once, but you should also use a system that allows you to edit individual access rights for specific files.

Ensure Longevity

There are few things more annoying than when trying to open or access a file that was made, either by you or a colleague, in the past, only to find that you either can’t open it or that when you do open it, you’re unable to view or use the full contents because they are not all available. The most common example of this is files that use hyperlinked content that is no longer online. This happens often with certain file types, PDFs being a prime example, so much so that PDF conversionis becoming a more common practice. Converting potentially unreliable file types so that they’re much better suited to archival is an effort worth investing in.
Ensure Longevity
Ensure Longevity

Managing Consistency With Freelancers

Nowadays, with the rise of freelancing platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, it’s become easier than ever for businesses to rely on a steady feed of freelancers contributing to not just their labor needs but their file ecosystem, as well. If you have freelancers generating files that you’re going to want to use or at least keep in the future, then you need to make sure that you are keeping their files consistent with your own, as well. You can do this by taking the time to adapt them to your internal standards when they’re submitted, but you may find it easier to encourage your freelancers to do it themselves as part of your contract with them.
The consequence of losing files and misplacing important documents can be severe. Even if it isn’t sensitive data, it can end up costing you time and money when you’re trying to find something that you need to complete your current work tasks. Use the tips above to prevent that from happening as best as possible.
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Gordon Dickerson

Gordon Dickerson

Gordon Dickerson, a visionary in Crypto, NFT, and Web3, brings over 10 years of expertise in blockchain technology. With a Bachelor's in Computer Science from MIT and a Master's from Stanford, Gordon's strategic leadership has been instrumental in shaping global blockchain adoption. His commitment to inclusivity fosters a diverse ecosystem. In his spare time, Gordon enjoys gourmet cooking, cycling, stargazing as an amateur astronomer, and exploring non-fiction literature. His blend of expertise, credibility, and genuine passion for innovation makes him a trusted authority in decentralized technologies, driving impactful change with a personal touch.
Darren Mcpherson

Darren Mcpherson

Darren Mcpherson brings over 9 years of experience in politics, business, investing, and banking to his writing. He holds degrees in Economics from Harvard University and Political Science from Stanford University, with certifications in Financial Management. Renowned for his insightful analyses and strategic awareness, Darren has contributed to reputable publications and served in advisory roles for influential entities. Outside the boardroom, Darren enjoys playing chess, collecting rare books, attending technology conferences, and mentoring young professionals. His dedication to excellence and understanding of global finance and governance make him a trusted and authoritative voice in his field.
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