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What is a file management system? Tips for choosing the right file management software

A file management system is a cloud-based method of storing, organizing, and accessing information easily. Here is how to choose the right software for your organization
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How hard do you think it is for an organization's employees to access and use the information they need to work efficiently? It turns out the answer is "harder than you think." Eighty-six percent of workers experience difficulty searching for office files.

However, embracing a file management system will make your files easy to access and share, saving you and your team time spent searching for relevant resources. Then you can focus on the work that drives productivity and revenue. This guide explains how a file management system works and how you can choose one for your organization.

What is a file management system?

A file management system is a cloud-based (online) method of storing, organizing, and managing access to information. A good file management system is efficient, stores information in a centralized location, and makes it easier to find office files by providing a searchable database for quick retrieval. 

Why are file management systems important?

Browsing through hundreds of files and making them available to stakeholders and employees at the right time can be challenging. A file management system makes the process of storing and sharing files easier, faster, and more efficient. There are many reasons why file management tools are essential; some of these include:

1. Acts as a centralized content hub

You never know how challenging searching for files is until you start. For example, you store your branding guidelines in Notion, your text files and images are scattered all over Dropbox and Google Drive, and your designs are somewhere in Figma. Now, you need to share a proposal template with your employees, and you don't even remember where it is.

A file management system takes the place of all of those other repositories and helps you collect, store, and retrieve your files in one location, ensuring that your employees are working with the same information set. Instead of endlessly examining hundreds of data, email, or Slack threads when you need to refer to essential details, OSlash, for example, can easily create a shortcut in a file management system and make it accessible to all your team members.

2. Increased efficiency

Forty-six percent of employees say that searching for files is challenging and time-consuming, and 21.3% of daily productivity loss is due to document issues. A sound file management system, however, increases workflow efficiency and productivity by helping you locate files instantly in a single search and eliminating repetitive tasks like manual data entry and sales order processing. When your team stops wasting time on these manual processes, they will spend more time on tasks that matter to the organization.

3. Automated workflows

An efficient file management software allows you to automate manual and time-consuming workflows, from file creation to storage and distribution throughout an organization. It provides valuable insight and traceability into your business processes. It also helps to reduce errors associated with manual inputs and ensures that you complete your work accurately and on time.

With the ability to incorporate business controls and rules alongside adaptive work queues, you can streamline your entire business workflow. According to this study by McKinsey, 60% of workers can save 30% of their time by automating business processes. 

4. File security 

According to a 2020 Linklaters analysis , data privacy breaches have increased by 66%, while data loss and leakage have increased by 69%. But with the robust protection of a sophisticated file management system, file security will never be an issue. Security is one of the significant reasons many organizations prefer to use file management systems.

File management software provides enhanced security for your sensitive and valuable information by using authentication features, such as password protection, audit trails, and encryption. This security ensures that only authorized users can access your files.

Data encryption keeps all of your files confidential. Even if someone gets access to your file location, they can't open, edit, or share it unless approved as authorized users. This helps prevent data breaches, tampering with organizational information, and other security issues that have become a major concern for businesses. 

How to choose the right file management system

Before choosing a file management system, you need to identify your business needs and determine which software best meets your demands. Without proper assessment, you might eventually install software that doesn't resonate with your business. 

However, here are some important features to note when choosing a file management software:

1. User-friendly interface 

Your chosen file management software should offer a simple user interface that everyone in your organization can easily navigate. The visuals need to be straightforward, and they must be efficient and easy to use. A bad user interface makes everything complicated and difficult to operate, causing misunderstandings and confusion among your team members. But a good one will enhance team satisfaction and increase productivity.

2. Simple file structure 

Your file management tool should have an easy-to-use file structure that makes sense to users. Simple file structures make document organization easy by using tags, segments, and more to maintain document indexes, making your files easy to access and retrieve. Choosing a tool with a simple file structure is important for inbound and outbound project management and data flexibility.

3. Scalability

A scalable file management software should have robust storage capacity for storage to keep up with the increase in data loads as your organization grows. A tool that provides scalability offers your business the agility to scale operations as your business needs change.

4. Ease of integration

A good file management system should easily integrate with other software your company already uses, such as your project management, accounting, and customer relationship management software. This allows you to work seamlessly with all of your business processes. 

The best file management tools — our top three

There are lots of great file management tools available, but these are our top three that check a lot of boxes on the things to look out for when making a choice.

1. OSlash

OSlash brings the power of file management to all your workplace links. This software creates shortcuts for your valuable links and helps you keep them in different collections. 

As opposed to extended alphanumeric URL characters, OSlash helps you create human-readable shortcuts that everyone on your team can navigate such as o/daily-standup or o/roadmap. For example, you can create shortcuts for all your essential Google docs, onboarding guidelines, Zoom meetings, and more. 

You can also create collections of group-related shortcuts. For example, you can add all onboarding documents in one collection o/onboarding, blog posts in another collection o/blog, and so on. These collections make it easier for your team members to access any information. 

OSlash also has a cross-app function, making it easy for you to access work-relevant links within different apps. For example, you can access a Slack link from your project management software. It helps you organize, manage, and share information effectively and faster across your teams and departments. OSlash offers seamless collaboration and cross-functional communication for maximum productivity.

2. Alfresco 

Alfresco software enables you to find, share, and store all of your important files in one location, providing a single source of truth. With Alfresco's built-in document and data search function, you can easily access any old or new files with lightning speed. It also allows you to create smart folders for grouping related files and retrieving them when needed.

You can also use its document scanning and capture feature to extract information and unlock business intelligence like never before. Alfresco guarantees maximum security by providing multiple layers of access permissions, and it is available on mobile apps, desktops, and the web. It basically keeps your team members in sync by creating a collaborative experience.

3. DocuWare 

DocuWare has a robust file management system that helps you store information and automate workflow processes. Its advanced indexing and storage abilities allow you to access your files quickly instead of wasting a significant amount of time browsing through thousands of business files.

DocuWare also secures your files from unauthorized access or accidental deletion with its disaster recovery and safety features. This software increases productivity by optimizing all of your business processes and integrating your information across other cloud apps. Other features include barcode scanning and process planning.

An effective file management software goes a long way

Having an effective file management system saves you a lot of time and effort; you no longer have to go through the challenge of manually storing and managing information. 

You can now spend the majority of your business time focusing on the overall growth and performance of your organization while resting easily on the fact that your files are under maximum security and also available for immediate retrieval. This study shows how HeadsUp, a product-led sales platform, saved 250+ hours every week using OSlash.

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