When we think about office documents and our strategy in dealing with them the common picture in our mind is a piece of paper. For many workers this picture in their mind is starting to change. It could be the 140 characters of a tweet, the images of a facebook page, or an email message coming through LinkedIn. It may also be a new blog post that has been posted to your website.
Everyone of these newer vehicles is a part of your office document strategy as they are used for customer feedback, marketing, employee engagement and supplier interface. Part of the adjustment we all have to make with the advent of more portability of operations is the change to think of our documents in substantially different ways. Even printed material is provdiing easier access to online material using defined links and QR codes.
This is most prevalent in marketing material but increasing in use in other kinds of documents as more reference material is kept online and not in paper format.
What are the implications of this trend to electronic instead of paper?
First, it is important to figure out a really good sorting mechanism for your electronic information. Like the Dewey deciimal system which brought order to libraries and other large paper repositories, structured record filing systems are needed for electronic records.
Second, you need to put in place tools to be sure to archive or backup all of the electronic documents you are using. This is more challenging when you use social media as a customer support or response tool as the backup for twitter, facebook and linkedIn are resident within the programs. One such software package which offers to collect all of your social media history and store it to your PC is socialsafe. I'm sure there are other packages offering similar capability. If your users are doing anything on social media with respect to your company then such tools may be a required part of your compliance strategy.
Third, make sure you have a way to backup and archive your email in a structured manner which supports compliance. This is especially important for businesses which use email to change contractual terms such as in construction. It is very common for construction site workers to be given instructions for change orders through electronic means often through smart phones or tablets. Having a referencable record of these document transactions could be worth thousands in the event of a contract dispute in the future. Other industries could be affected in the same way.
While paper transport is still an important part of doing business the substitution of electronic communications and documents in many transactions is changing the parameters that are necessary in designing an office document strategy. Deciding when and what you will need to do to keep abreast of these changes is an important consideration which you cannot avoid.
How do you track electronic communications? Have you deployed tools to assist to manage the electronic documents in your operations? Do you care or are you prepared totake a chance?
Your thoughts are encouraged....
Image credit: QR code document - Kodak Document Imaging