October 12, 2012 by Tom Zeliff Categories: Document Management

A company can have many different types of assets. Many think of them in the physical sense, such as equipment, inventory and buildings. However, what about signed contracts, drawings, lab notebooks, and other intellectual property contained on paper? These are also physical assets, though not in the traditional sense. However, if these documents are lost or damaged, the business itself could be in jeopardy. What is the best way to track or even insure these documents in an asset management sense?

Some organizations will lock critical business documents in a fireproof filing cabinet and maybe make copies that are sent to an offsite storage location. But what happens when a document needs to be amended or shared or accessed in another office? Paper documents may never be found if misplaced and, even when found, are probably not connected to related documents (purchase orders, amendments, etc). Electronic files may also be difficult to access even when stored on a company’s shared drive. Inconsistent naming on shared drives can make it impossible to find the information when needed. And most critically, people may leave without transferring their organizational knowledge about documents, their inter-relationships and related processes. Eventually, managing document assets in this way will become onerous and risky.

A document management system can provide visibility into and control of a company’s critical business document assets, significantly reducing risk to the organization. Consider three examples:

Contracts

The contracts that drive your business provide governance to both your supplier and customer relationships. Scanning documents and having a structured repository for these documents simplifies managing them. For instance, you can have index values that enable you to determine when a contract is going to expire. With that information, you can get advanced notification of an expiring contract, enabling you to get ahead of its renewal. You can also search for all contracts that have certain phrases if a language change needs to take place, enabling your contracts to have consistent language as they get updated. Lastly, you can track and quickly access each contract by keywords, such as company name, key contacts, and even the service provided.

Intellectual Property

Probably the most difficult to track, scanning intellectual property (IP) documents and storing them in a secure document management repository significantly reduces your risk in a couple of ways. First, you will have full traceability as to who has seen these documents, enabling you to enforce legal actions if an individual leaves your organization and infringes upon your IP. Second, in the case of a natural disaster, these documents are preserved, enabling you to continue work and protect these assets. Finally, you will have a consistent means to potentially share innovation across the organization, enabling you to encourage collaboration across multiple dimension and innovations.

Physical Assets

Every asset that is purchased will have a PO associated with it and may also have a maintenance record, descriptions of changes (additional software and licenses), history of use (it went from Jane to Tom to Sally), or other important documentation. Being able to securely organize, manage and search these documents relating to physical asset management in a single cloud document management system enables you to quickly find anything about the asset in question—which is especially useful for audits.

Digiscribe Tip: If you manage 250,000 to 5+ million square feet and would like to cut costs related to moving, occupancy and more comprehensive asset management (more than just documents), we recommend that you speak with our friends at ROI Consulting (www.roicg.com).

Asset Management Visibility with Document Management

Simply put, document scanning and document management can significantly reduce your risk profile, enabling you to gain both visibility and control of one of your most important assets; your critical business documents.