If your storing information in folders, you’re doing it wrong

Wednesday 12 June 2019 | document management

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Take a moment to think back to office set-ups two decades ago. Information was written or printed in hard copy and stored in filing cabinets - lest we forget the manila folder! It was difficult to keep important information organised, and finding a specific document or piece of information at the drop of a hat was near impossible.

It shouldn't really come as a surprise that we're no better off storing our information in the digital equivalent of the manila folder today. Think about it. DropBox, Google Drive, OneDrive, shared and local drives - they're all alphabetically ordered, folder-based filing systems.

So many businesses' primary functions rely so heavily on document sharing, and file storage that allows for quick and remote access - yet so few businesses are doing it in the most efficient way.

Want to know how to improve your file storage processes? We've got you covered.

When does file-based storage get messy?

Using any stock-standard file storage drive will work in the short term for a smaller company. If you only have a few clients and a few pieces of collateral, files are relatively easy to find in alphabetical order. However, as your client base grows and your folders expand with it, this type of document storage can get a little messy.

Multiple people can access shared files and, naturally, the more people that create and change documents - the less effective file management can become. There's no guarantee that documents will be saved in the correct location and the chances of finding the most up-to-date version can become an unrealistic feat.

We've had clients that actually fear opening their Google Drive. Why? It simply takes too much time out of their day to find the information they're after.

The average information worker wastes 4.5 hours a week hunting for information.

In short, if your business spans more than a handful of clients, there are a few things you should be considering, regarding your filing systems.

The secrets of metadata

Metadata is the difference between a stock-standard alphabetical filing system, and a smart file management tool. Put simply, metadata is a set of fields and values used to classify and organise documents and give a detailed preview of what a document contains. It's a part of a document, but you wont see it unless you intentionally set out to access it.

Every document that is ever sent or received is encoded with metadata relevant to the file, and gives each document an 'identity' which you can leverage to organise your files. Here's how it works:

  • Classification: through metadata classification, your document management system should be able to store your documents in the correct place, eliminating the chance of employees misplacing files and saving documents to the wrong place.
  • Document Searching: searching for a document should be as quick and easy as a Google search, and through keywords in metadata your document management system will be able to do this.
  • Streamlining for collaboration: Metadata allows you to put your files into relevant groups, so when it comes to working on something in a team environment, all of the relevant documents are accessible in the same space.

It's time to re-think file storage

The crux of the issue is that we've been thinking about file storage in the wrong way for so long. We're continuously focused on where information is, rather than what the information is we're looking for.

PIQNIC addresses the information challenge by doing away with old fashioned folders, and using a far more powerful way of finding the exact document you're looking for in seconds - not minutes or even hours.

By using advanced metadata and adding intelligent tags to each document or file such as type, department, office, author or customer, which are customised to suit each client's requirements, every single document is classified as soon as it is entered into PIQNIC. There's no longer room for error, or any time spent sifting through files - that's more time for you and your employees to be focused on the task at hand.

How does that look in action? You could search through 10 million files for all customer provided assets, related to a specific website project over the past four years, in seconds. Beyond that, you could narrow down your search to a particular project. In a folders based system, that would be a losing battle.

Ready to harness the power of metadata in a smarter storage solution? Download out FREE e-book to get you started.

 Where did the information go