With cloud-based storage systems like SharePoint becoming increasingly popular in the workplace, it's important to make sure that your data is managed and stored effectively. Using logical and consistent tags, labels and naming conventions will make it easier for co-workers to identify and retrieve documents as quickly as possible.
If this doesn't sound like the practice that's being employed in your workplace, then maybe it's time to rethink your business' data management. A consistent file management system can streamline workplace collaboration and productivity. To give you some direction, we've put together five ways that will help you categorise files and documents in a meaningful way.
ORGANISE FILES HIERARCHICALLY
Developing a folder structure that's logical is a great place to start. Group files that relate to a broader topic together, and then nest folders beneath them. This makes it easier to find specific files down the track, as you won't have to sift through an endless number of documents.
Locating files should follow a logical path - if your organisation method is complex, then it's likely that your employees are finding it hard to follow along. It's important to choose a system that works well for your team, and it's often one that mimics the way that you work. This might be that you prioritise tasks by quarter, or that you work around projects. Regardless of what your system may be, this process will make editing and reviewing files much easier in the long-run.
ACCESSIBILITY IS KEY
Moving over to a cloud-based storage system has a myriad of benefits, and a focal point is that there is a potentially endless amount of storage space. As the need for a traditional filing cabinet is gone, going paperless makes data access much easier.
With hundreds of files stored in different locations, the folder navigation process is simplified if it's all based electronically. This makes it much easier for employees assigned to the same project as they can locate, edit and reference the same documents independently. Establishing a secure file management system also makes the ability to back up files much easier, reducing the risk of missing files and data theft.
Tags are a simple way to add data to files and are one of the most flexible organisational tools. They are perfect for categorising files without an endless layer of folders, and you can add as many tags as you like.
Files can only be in one folder at a time, but an unlimited amount of tags could be assigned to it. The first step to utilising tags is to establish a system. This will help divide your content into general categories and from there you can add other important tags. This might include time periods, specified categories and the status of the project. Finding out what works for your business is a process of trial and error, but regardless of the system that you choose, it's important to keep your tags consistent.
SEPARATE ONGOING AND COMPLETED PROJECTS
When working on a project with multiple pieces it's helpful to utilise subfolders. Marking files with titles like 'draft,' 'final' or 'archive' can help separate active and inactive projects and campaigns. This data management process can improve performance and productivity when several employees are working on the same deliverable.
By using this process, the need for communication is reduced as the filing structure will reflect the most recent updates. A concise structure like this one makes newly approved files easily accessible and referencing old files much simpler.
Metadata is located within the properties of a document and provides users with the ability to perform a more detailed search for what they need. It's essentially data that describes information and can benefit your business' data management framework. This practice simplifies navigation and minimises filing errors as metadata attributes are displayed alongside the file.
Additionally, metadata attributes allow users to search freely, breaking the limits of a folder structure. This eliminates labour intensive searches and makes file management systems much more intuitive.
Now that you've got some background information on why creating a logical and concise file management system is important, do you think you can use these tips to make your files more searchable?