Why care about document template management when your PC probably has numerous documents you have created before and you can use them to create new ones? For example, you can access a letter you sent to a client and simply replace the main text with relevant text for the recipient you are sending to. After a quick proofread, your letter is ready to be sent. Does that in some way describe your document creation process?
Well, that may seem like a neat approach until you realize you forgot to change the date on that letter or you forgot that the company logo was tweaked a few days ago but you sent out the old version. This is a common occurrence in many organizations and it affects their brand.
Consistency is essential for branding but too often it fails because individuals ignore the importance of sticking to templates. This is why you should care about the document management system.
It is about the creation, storage, and use of templates. An organization can have standard templates designed for the different documents they use often and these templates are stored in a central location where everyone has access to them. Access however is governed by set guidelines that limit the way the templates can be used. While everyone can access and use the templates, not everyone can create or alter the templates.
You can use online or PC based tools to create complex templates. Once the design is complete, define what components of the template can be modified by users on a document by document basis. Template management is a dynamic process of easing the way documents are created and ensuring they meet best practices for enterprise document management.
The word “management” gives the feeling that there is restriction involved. Well, that is not so far from it. Document management software adds restrictions. This is important, because in some cases, an individual may choose to mess with the templates. Think of the impact that could have on branding templates. If someone tweaked the logo simply because they don’t like the color, that would affect the brand of a business.
Restricting who can alter templates to a few authorized individuals will ensure consistency and avoid haphazard edits. Everyone has to comply with the set standard for documents and you can be assured of authentic documents.
Also, templates are the foundation for all document automation solutions. A template will determine what the final document will look like and the kind of content added to it. Several factors need to be considered when structuring particular documents but a single individual with a lot on their mind cannot be trusted to always go through the different items on a checklist, for example, they may forget to create an email signature for important business emails. Managing templates will ensure all the factors that need to be considered are embedded within the guidelines for access and use of the template.
Besides, there are other advantages to managing template documents. Most organizations are enjoying the following benefits:
Quality Documents: The quality of documents contributes to the image of your business. You can guarantee the quality if you have a set standard that is applied to all the documents from your organization. Not everyone can produce standard quality, so let the best design the templates that the rest will use.
Ease of Access: Document management ensures that there is a central place where all the templates can be found. When access is simple, there is a higher compliance rate. With a management system, you can ensure users do not spend time scrolling through lots of unrelated files before they find what they are looking for.
Better Productivity: Less time is spent creating documents since they do not have to start from scratch. Templates have a fair percentage of the content already entered and it is easier to complete the rest of the document. What’s more, you can use familiar programs like Word to create a document using the template provided.
Document Authenticity: When dealing with sensitive documents like contracts, you can ensure the authenticity of the documents with templates for contracts that are unique to your organization. Managing content as well as access can safeguard the authenticity of the documents even without the need to manually peruse every document that is generated by your organization.
Even with the use of templates, you may still encounter cases of inconsistent content and error data. This is where template content control is helpful. Within the template, you can restrict the content to particular options. Some templates may have a dropdown menu that provides options for content to be included in a document. You can implement enterprise content management by adding text guides that let a user know what should be included in a particular area of a document. Once the user begins to type the content, the instructions will disappear.
Ensure document control by having a single version of content like logos, disclaimers, and other branding images. With a centralized repository, you prevent employees from creating templates from scratch since they know they can find what they want easily and it will save time. Even when they have to create a unique document, they can find content like logos in the repository so that they do not keep on using their own versions in the documents they create.
Some templates for business contracts may need access control because they have legal implications, so only particular individuals should have access to them. The access control can be limited to altering templates while allowing use for everyone or complete access restriction.
Templates can be designed to integrate with other enterprise document management systems. This will ensure that an organization easily adopts a template designed in one program for use in another. For example, if you’re using templates for Microsoft office, but you are working in a CRM system, you can still use the same templates within the CRM to design documents like client’s receipts, contracts, and so on.
Organizations need to ensure the authenticity of their documents. This can be achieved through the use of standard templates. For example, legal document templates can be designed with features that will prove the document is authored by the organization and you can add a digital signature to the final document. Managing templates helps to avoid cases where duplicate documents are authored by unauthorized individuals trying to pass them off as genuine.
Document management tools offer a solution to that challenge. Having a common template is a quick solution since employees simply access the template and begin working with it. Cloud-storage makes it possible for all the offices in different countries to access the same templates. This also saves money because a template is designed once and then the document control system will grant access to it from anywhere in the world.
With the right software, the language will not be a problem as text can be automatically translated to suit the preference of a user or the recipient of a document. A template may be designed in English but using business document software adapted for multinational enterprises, the descriptions and guidelines on the document will be translated to other languages.
Once you appreciate the value of template management, you need to consider which option would be the best for your organization. Integration with the applications your organization uses will be a big consideration. Unless you are using obsolete applications, there should be no reason to have to change what you’re using. The right business document software would easily integrate with common office applications like Microsoft Word and so on.
You also need to think of what document storage options you will have. Is your current storage system adequate or will you need more storage? The software should enable you to use cloud storage without the risk of creating vulnerability to your digital documents.
All document management solutions will not offer the same kind of efficiency, so it is advisable to do extensive research. Expert reviews can give you insight into the performance of the software. Also, reach customer support to find out more about the software and, if available, opt for a free trial before you buy it.