Is your company juggling several process tools, each creating and storing its own documents? Or maybe you’re considering switching solutions? Separating document storage from process management tools can make your processes and software stack more flexible and the documentation significantly more accessible.
There are several requirements for a company when it comes to storing documentation. Some things you have to store – either for legal reasons, such as economic documentation, or for the company’s own good, such as contracts and other critical documents. On the other hand, some data you have to delete in time or just make sure you’re keeping track of, such as personal data.
Most companies also have several different process management tools that create different types of documents. They might, for example, have one accounting software, one HR solution, and one tool for whatever the company’s daily operation is that most or all employees use and generate data and documents in.
So if your company wanted to change one of those tools, where would the system files go? What would the migration process look like? How easy would it be to keep track of the document history before and after the switch?
Or if you were asked to retrieve all data associated with a former employee – all personal data, contracts and agreements, payment details, created across the different software solutions – how long would it take you to find everything?
Get the right context
Separating the process of creating documents from the process of storing them makes these challenges a lot easier. By integrating one single storage hub with all the different process tools, everything is stored in the same place and remains right where you left it, no matter how you change your software stack.
By also letting that storage hub, instead of the individual process tools, hold your master data, you can ensure that every document, no matter where or by whom it’s created, follows the same logic and structure when being stored.
For example, making sure that every document is tagged with the document type, such as “contract,” and that everything related to a customer is tagged with a customer identifier or everything related to an employee is tagged with an employee identifier.
It’s all about putting the documents in the right context: It shouldn’t matter in what software the document was created or if you’re using the same solution now as you did then. What should matter is what the easiest way for you to find it again is – how would you like to search for it?
Finally, there’s one crucial thing to keep in mind. It’s no good just bypassing the process tools’ lock-in by separating the storage if the storage solution is just as closed. Make sure the solution has open APIs and doesn’t lock you into that software instead of the process management software. Your data should always be yours to do with as you please – without any migration projects from hell.