What Are The Risks of Fragmented Document Management?

Document management plays a pivotal role in the proper functioning of many organisations across nearly all industries. Today's post explores the risks of fragmented documented management processes or systems.

The author of this page: Brianna Bracken
Brianna Bracken, Marketing Executive Jun 02, 2022

From sharing, viewing and creating documents such as project proposals, HR policies, marketing communications and much more, documents play a pivotal role in facilitating the proper functioning of almost all business departments.

As we continue to rely on documents the need to have strong document management processes in place is critical. While some companies may implement these processes manually, in today’s digital-first business environment those who rely mainly on paper-based processes for document management or who have an insufficient document system will continue to face the risks associated with fragmented document management. Taking this approach also makes it harder to consolidate all documents and ensures organisations are missing out on productivity gains and operation efficiency. A 2020 study by Forrester stated that 47% of IT decision-makers said that digital document processes enable them to pursue opportunities and gain new customers during the pandemic.

Some signs that your organisation is struggling with insufficient document management include:

  • Paperwork building up quicker than it can be filed away as well as paperwork that takes up too much storage space.

  • Employees are unable to share and collaborate on documents easily.

  • Documents are not easy to retrieve and there are often multiple copies and versions.

These are some of the main signs that your organisation may want to consider improving document management processes. However, it’s important not only to understand the signs of fragmented document management but also the risks. Below we discuss some of the main risks that can impact organisations.

Productivity Loss

If many of your document management processes are still manual, then is it likely you have experienced productivity loss as a result. Recent research noted that 21% of overall staff productivity loss was due to documents while 50% of knowledge workers’ time was lost in preparing documents. When organisations don’t have sufficient document management processes, employees lose valuable time to everyday inefficiencies. From delays in collaboration across different business departments to bottlenecks in document retrieval, productivity loss due to documents can slow the organisation down across the board.

Data Loss & Compliance

Physical storage of documents or in some cases legacy document management systems can open your organisation up to risks of data loss and compliance issues. For example, while physical documents may seem unproblematic, without adequate security measures physical documents can be lost, subject to temperature changes or humidity that can alter documents and not to mention accidental disasters such as fires or floods. While some of these may seem unlikely, it is often not until an organisation is impacted by the loss of critical business information that they will realise the value in storing and backing up documents. Data loss is not just an inconvenience for an organisation, there can be penalties and legal action from a compliance perspective.

Decline in Customer Satisfaction

With fragmented document processes in place, it can be hard to retrieve documents needed in a timely manner as well as ensure it is the correct version. As mentioned, this impacts employee productivity but can also influence customer satisfaction. If a customer requests a particular document or wants to confirm data contained in a document, then they would expect that it can be provided to them quickly and easily. However, if the organisation struggles to answer the request it can lead to the client losing trust in the organisation. If a customer feels that their data and information is not safe, they may not feel comfortable using your services. This is particularly important at a time when information security is at the forefront of many people’s minds. Mismanaged files can sometimes result in a breach of contract with accounts or vendors which can lead to termination. Overall, effective document management is key to keeping clients as well as employees happy and can ensure a quality service is delivered.

It is clear the risks of poor document management and fragmented document management systems are too great to be continually ignored. In a time when data security is becoming more and more critical, it is likely organisations will have to continue to tighten controls and the key to this is a secure and efficient document management system.

If you would like to learn more about how your organisation can transform document management processes, watch our on-demand webinar on Building Business Resilience with Document Management or get in touch to speak with one of our specialists. You can also check out our case study with DPER, who adopted SharePoint as its document management solution.


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