Why you need document storage software

If you've got a larger organization with a complex policy manual, as well as general document storage requirements, you need specialized document storage software.

May 27, 2021

Article overview

Making a case for online document storage

Imagine this scenario: You work in a large organization with several departments and several managers. In a fit of HR efficiency, you've been asked to review all of the organization's policies and update them to meet the current industry standards, scientific data, and legal and regulatory requirements.

Except there doesn't seem to be a central source for all the policies. And some departments have created their own policies, or rewritten organizational policies to better reflect their own functions.

So you begin asking the different department heads for their policies and discover a mishmash of versions and dates, and even find that some departments don't have all the policies they should (i.e., all of them). After several weeks, you're able to piece together an entire policy manual with what you hope are all the latest policies and begin to make the necessary revisions.

Except now, when you send the revised policies to various stakeholders for feedback, you get back six and seven versions of the same document, which means you have to retype and add in all additions for every version you get.

What could have solved all of this is a centralized online document storage solution. 

In this article, we'll explain why you need online document storage and the difference between document storage software and a document management platform.

Why you need online document storage

This cloud-based system is like a virtual filing cabinet where you store all your important documents safely and securely. Everything is secured with state-of-the-art security, allowing only authorized personnel to access the information.

It's a single source of truth. Like our example above, you’ve no doubt found a few different versions of a policy yourself, from different dates to department-specific revisions. With a cloud-based document storage system, you can control what is the "right" version of each document. 

That document storage system is the one place where a single version of every policy exists. You don't have to ask around to find the latest version or see who has the most correct one. It's right there, and it becomes the canonical source for every policy document, accreditation requirement, and training file.

It also manages your version control and version history. You can make sure everyone is using the correct version of any policy without changes or revisions. And you can refer to past policy version history.

You're also able to access important documents when they're needed. They're not locked away in someone's filing cabinet or stored on a single person's computer. Anyone with the sign-in credentials can access the policies. You can also grant different levels of access, such as giving editorial access to a select few or read-only access to everyone else.

Finally, the document storage solution is more organized and efficient. Not only can you streamline the filing protocols, adopting a single standard to follow, but a cloud document storage system is completely searchable. You can find a document in seconds rather than spending several minutes or even hours trying to locate a single document within an entire organization.

What is document storage software?

Most online document storage solutions are usually just a basic cloud-based server with some folder-creation capabilities., such as Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. They're fine for small businesses and entrepreneurs who don't need a lot of extra features.

But if you've got a larger organization with a complex policy manual, as well as general document storage requirements, you need specialized document storage software.

Document storage software, more commonly referred to as document management software, has several features that may or may not be non-negotiable for your organization.

  • Cost-effective: Saves money on paper, printing, and physical storage. Delivers a fast ROI based on those savings alone.
  • Central storage: Serves as a single source of truth for your policies; the canonical source.
  • Easy to use: Has an intuitive interface that anyone can use and understand.
  • Access control: You can give different users different levels of permission and access.
  • Security: State-of-the-art protection from internal and external security threats.
  • Mobile ready: The ability to access and interact with documents on mobile phones and tablets.
  • Integration: Intuitive integration with your favorite programs like Word or Google Docs.
  • Training: Plenty of quality resources and support for onboarding and maintenance.
  • Customer support: 24/7 access to a friendly, knowledgeable support team.

What's the difference between document storage and a policy management platform?

Of course, document management software is a general, all-purpose solution that nearly every organization can take advantage of. If you've got a roomful of filing cabinets, or if every employee has a filing cabinet at their own desk filled with files and folders, then a document storage solution could cut down on all the office equipment needed to keep your paper handy. (Think of the money and space you could save if everyone kept their documents in the cloud.)

But if your organization requires policies and training to meet your accreditation requirements, such as a health network or a public safety organization, you need something with some additional functionality, like a policy management platform.

Document management software lets you store and manage your information in a central location, but doesn't communicate with your other components.

But a policy management platform connects your other compliance programs (like training or accreditation) to your policies. It creates a seamless, living connection that saves you time and money, especially when preparing for assessments and proving compliance. And it has these additional functions.

  • Acknowledgment: Keep track of who has received and signed policies.
  • Testing: Create customizable tests to determine employees' understanding of their training.
  • Workflows: Build workflows that let you collaborate across your organization.
  • Smart editing: Do side-by-side comparisons of old versus updated policies with highlighted changes.
  • Version control: Ensure that the version of each policy is the latest, most up-to-date. Archive old versions to avoid confusion.
  • Tracking: Track policies across their entire lifecycle, from creation to archiving.

Want to know more?

PowerDMS is a policy management platform. It's essentially a document storage solution, but with many more functions. If you need a plain old document storage system, then we may not be the solution you need.

But if you have to keep track of dozens, if not hundreds, of policies, and if you need to keep track of hundreds, if not thousands, of employees and whether they've read all those policies, PowerDMS can help.

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