HelpSystems Blog

No Excuses: Standardize the Way Your Documents Are Indexed

The first thing so many companies say about document management is:  

“We won’t be able to get users to take the time to index the documents correctly. Why even have a system if we won’t be able to find anything?”

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have heard that excuse over the years—or how many times that excuse just doesn’t cut it.

There are no excuses when you work with experienced company with a knowledgeable team and flexible document management system (DMS) software.

The right team and software can guide companies with best practice techniques to solve common problems, like how do we set standards on how documents are captured and indexed?

Here are my top tips for standardizing document indexing.

Tip #1: Choose the Right Tools

Give the users a set of tools they can use in their everyday life to capture and index documents easily. With the right tools, your users can work with Microsoft Office products, print PDFs directly to the DMS, or simply drag-and-drop documents from your desktop. 

Once your users have the right tools in place, you then can start to standardize the document indexing process and guide the users on what needs to be filled in and how.

Tip #2: Define Document Types

Defining document types is a good place to begin the process of standardizing indexing. 

A document consists of the following:

Document Type = Accounts Payable
Document Title = Invoice
Key 1 = PO#
Key 2 = Invoice#
Key 3 = Vendor Name
Key 4 = BOL#

Note: You can have unlimited document types and up to 30 unique keys per document type.

Document types help you define the document’s use and make it easy to find the document again in the future.  By standardizing document type, you can enforce what data to look for in order to find the right document.

Tip #3: Require the Right Fields

The next step is to enforce what is filled in fields.

Take document title. Everyone usually has their own way of naming things, so being able to enforce this with a drop-down list ensures consistency. Users can select from pre-defined options—instead of typing whatever they want into the field.

By enforcing the fields with a drop-down menu, you’ll make sure document names are standardized and consistent.

Tip #4: Protect Your Index Keys

You also need to make sure you guard the index keys. If someone enters a value— like a PO#—they might mistype it or they might even enter a value that doesn’t exist yet.

That’s where validation rules come in. Validation rules require your users to look up data in your ERP or LOBS to make sure what is entered is, in fact, a valid value. If the key(s) are validated, then the document can be checked into the system.

If the validation fails there are two things that can happen. First, the user might get a message that the value entered was not found and they will have to correct it before it can be checked in. The other option is to  check the document into the systems with a non-validated key and launch it into an exception workflow for someone to update into the system.

The right option for you depends on your needs. With the first method, the scanner operator can enter the documents into the system in higher volume. The second option lets any processing of the indexes happen in the workflow after the document becomes electronic.

Drop Your Excuses

These are just a few tips for standardizing the way your organization indexes documents. There are many other ways you can standardize the indexing process, too. And the HelpSystems Document Management (RJS) experts can help.

It’s time to drop your excuses. Get in touch with us to talk about the way your organization indexes documents and how you can standardize and simplify that process.

Let’s Get Started

Schedule your free consultation to discuss how to standardize document indexing and start going paperless with electronic document management today.