ECM platforms, such as OpenText Content Suite, are now an essential part of most business processes. They keep track of all company relevant information in a centralised location, help organisations to stay compliant with increasing regulation, increase productivity and help deal with the regular auditing and versioning that speed up the natural business process.
However, as your company grows, so does the amount of data you deal with on a regular basis, and with more data comes more organizational challenges. Users may access unauthorised documents, they may trust obsolete files and administrators usually end up manually revising and synchronising metadata over weeks on end. As you can probably tell, this leads to a high total cost of ownership for the company in question, and leaves you with an almost unwieldy platform that hinders your productivity instead of boosting it.
ECM platforms require configuration and tailoring in order to stay relevant and useful to a company as it grows. It’s an investment that grows and pays in dividends as you nurture it. At the core of this configuration and customisation lies document change control or management.
What is Document Change Control?
Document change control or management refers to processes or a system that ensures a company’s content is accurate, relevant and the latest version. It ultises a standardised method to efficiently and promptly manage the creation, revision and deleting of company documents and data assets.
Document change control gives users access to the right files and gives managers the power to assign users to the correct documents, whilst restricting access to others. In the background, the document change control application should be organising files and providing an editing history of those files for easy auditing and review.
What makes a good Document Change Control Tool?
There are many tools that can help an organisation with document change control, however not all are made equally. Some tools prove to be better suited for the job than others, and some can even prove to be overly complicated.
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that make a good document change control application.
A standardised approach to organisation
It is great that organisations a deploying solutions to support document change control, but what separates an application that just does its job and one that excels at it? The answer is standardisation.
A standardised approach, assists user adoption and boosts reliability across your organisation, as users become accustomed to a familiar layout and performance. Some things to look out for when assessing standardisation include:
- A centralised data collection point
- A common data creation point
- Out-of-the-box templates
- Standard definitions and labels
Complete transparency and document history
Businesses have to provide documented evidence for audits. That’s why providing a document history is so important.
Without a good document change control application your company can’t provide an audit trail or document history, which makes it extremely difficult to maintain regulatory, or even internal, compliance. Worse than that, if you’re on the senior exec level, you have little to no visibility into the status of any document changes or edits – which means you’re flying blind.
A regular document control application helps you organise and edit your documents. A great document control application keeps detailed records of those documents in order to make auditing and staying compliant with the latest regulations easier.
Easy to modify and upgradable
Things change, and so do your ECM tools and processes. With upgrades, updates, new modules and more, your ECM platform is an asset that continues to change and evolve. Similarly, as your ECM processes evolve, so should your document change control application.
Many out-of-the-box platforms prove to be unsuitable in the long term. However, companies that create their own solutions become responsible for updating and maintaining them, which leads to an overall high cost of ownership.
A great document change control solution remove these challenges, provides flexible capabilities that can grow and evolve with your business processes, and reduces the total cost of ownership for the company.
Uses notifications and automation
The more your tools and applications automate processes, the more attention and resources you can dedicate to important business activities. A great document change control solution should automate many organisational functions to optimise your ECM processes without you having to worry about it.
These automated activities should include building a registry of document records, including edits, versions, history and metadata at the very least.
In addition to these, one of the most important of these automated activities are notifications for reviews, updates and approvals, with the previous user of the document simply assigning the next person in line to edit and use the document.
Where to find a great document change control tool?
As I’ve outlined, finding a great document change control tool can save your company time, money and effort, allowing you to focus on important tasks whilst avoiding costly audits and user errors.
Finding the best tool can be a difficult task. However, we here at Fastman recommend using Kinematik’s Document Change Control application. It comes with an out of the box standardised set of templates, dashboards and processes, and includes convenient features, such as MS Office plugins, customised control workspaces, workflow comments and more.
Kinematik’s Document Change Control application optimises your change control process with notifications that ensure on time reviews, updates and approvals, while reducing errors, accelerating development and safeguarding regulatory compliance.