We started working on this across our organization a few years ago. It was quite the undertaking, especially since we had boxes and boxes of stored documentation (based on our retention guidelines we have some lengthy requirements for keeping documents). The majority of the older documentation was actually shipped to an outside vendor to scan and organize electronically. We had to do some initial organizing of the physical documents, and process planning for how documents would be saved, organized, file naming, meta data, etc. Getting the bulk of it done elsewhere helped to shorten the time frame for getting it completed. It was expensive but we couldn’t spare the staff resources to take that on internally. The company we used also implemented a software program internally so going forward, we could easily and automatically scan and file any documentation using our printers. We are also navigating over to FileHold for our file management system. That has been a very thorough, time consuming process that has taken a couple years (some of that delay is thanks to limited resources we had during the pandemic). Staff participation has been key but some very clear standards and guidelines had to be set. Everyone processes and organizes information differently so it is important to have a standard for how all the documentation is to be organized, what meta data is required, file naming structure, checking out documents and file versioning. We’re still working on getting staff buy in. It is challenging to require everyone to learn a completely new system for accessing their files. With some practice and as comfort levels increase, I’m sure everyone will appreciate the benefits of the new system. The best advice is to do your research (figure out what your organization’s needs are and what system will be the best fit), get yourself organized (the files that need to be dealt with and planning how you want the system to function and what it will look like), and keep staff informed and educated (their buy in is key and if they feel they have been given the proper tools, it will make the process much easier for everyone). Good luck!
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