Importance of document lifecycle management

Think of document lifecycles as a "cradle to grave" cycle of your organization's policies, procedures, and processes.

June 3, 2021

Article highlights

Some organizations' document management issues are a disaster waiting to happen. Organizations that are running outdated technology, still using paper-and-file methods of policy management, or don't have a centralized, cohesive policy management strategy are at risk of a wide variety of fines, penalties, and even lawsuits.

Without a cohesive document lifecycle management solution, you face a litany of other problems as well. Outdated processes, lack of accountability between employees, mapping policies to accreditation standards by hand, or managing different versions of documents are all issues companies deal with when important documents are not updated or archived as needed.

In this article, we'll give a brief explanation of a document's lifecycle, as well as helping you understand PowerDMS' lifecycle management.

What is a document lifecycle?

Depending on who you ask, there are a number of different stages in a document lifecycle. But regardless of who you ask, there's a definite beginning and end; it's the steps in between that differ. These are the basic stages that go into every important document your company creates.

  1. Creation: The need for a document, such as a departmental or organizational policy, is identified, and the document is written, revised, and edited before finally being approved.
  2. Classification: A document is categorized and tagged, based on its purpose and the content itself, so it can be stored in the right location.
  3. Storage: Place the document in a secure storage location so it can be easily retrieved but otherwise kept safe.
  4. Sharing: Share the document with the people who need to read it.
  5. Processing: This refers to everything else needed to ensure that the document fulfills its primary purpose. That means gathering signatures, testing, mapping it to accreditation standards, and so on.
  6. Archiving and/or destruction: Reduces clutter and manages risks, such as discarding personal information and proprietary data. These documents need to be archived or destroyed altogether.

Why is document lifecycle management important?

For one thing, managing a document's lifecycle will foster compliance. That's especially important for organizations that are accredited, highly regulated (law enforcement, finance, healthcare), or make regular life and death decisions. 

Proper document management also ensures that only one version exists. The organization is not overrun by different versions and variations of a single policy where everyone follows a policy that could be out-of-date or completely incorrect. It also ensures that staff are referencing the most updated version, based on the latest developments in technology, science, community preferences, governmental regulations, and the law.

How document lifecycle management protects an organization

These same organizations need protection from fines, penalties, public outcry, and even lawsuits. This is where a centralized document lifecycle management solution can make a difference. 

Remember step #5 above, processing? This is where tracking employee signatures, providing training, and testing happens. You can show that everyone has read new policies, understands them, and has been trained and tested on the necessary information. That can save you during the (re)accreditation process or lawsuits.

Tracking changes and updates to documents over the years can also show that your organization has kept up with the latest developments and demands of your industry or field, is compliant with the latest regulatory and accreditation standards, and can help employees hold each other accountable to meet new policy requirements. Again, this can meet accreditation requirements, serve as a legal defense, or even protect you from regulatory fines.

And archiving and destroying certain documents can prevent hackers and cybercriminals from accessing people's personally identifiable information or your company's financial data and intellectual property.

PowerDMS' lifecycle management

PowerDMS' policy management platform is more than just a document storage solution. We help our customers manage their important documents across their entire lifecycle, from their creation to their growing phases, all the way to the eventual archiving or destruction of those documents.

  • Our solution lets you upload and create new documents with your preferred tools. We have integrations with Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneDrive, and even Google Drive/Docs.
  • You can collaborate on documents via workflows. Create workflows with multiple stakeholders across your organization, specify the feedback you want from each, and let the software notify them, in sequential order when it’s their turn to review/approve the document. You can also save recurring workflows as templates.
  • Use document control to ensure you have the correct and latest version of your policies. Provide access to different documents and functions based on a person's role.
  • Use version history to keep track of old and current versions of documents, so you can be sure everyone is literally reading from the same page.

Want to know more?

Do you want to know more about document lifecycle management? Are you curious about how it can save your organization thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours, and mitigate the risk of financial and regulatory penalties and lawsuits?

PowerDMS can help you. We know document lifecycle management better than nearly everyone. We can show you how to use the PowerDMS platform to your advantage and help your organization run at peak performance.

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