Document management software has been an essential business tool for a long time. It reduces clutter and allows employees to find what they're looking for without having to wander through a maze of digital files. Like most platforms, document management software has evolved, but social technology and intranet software in particular have revolutionized it.
Think about what a typical session of surfing the web looks like for you. There's a good chance you spend time browsing social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. These and other popular networks have completely changed the role of the modern Internet, connecting people and making communicating with others easier than ever. This dynamic essentially defines social technology.
"Social" was once thought to be the realm of teenagers and college students, but that's changed over the past decade. Social technology isn't all about fun and games — it links like-minded individuals in many ways, making it ideal for the business world.
Social technology streamlines communication and collaboration between employees, clients, and vendors. It has redefined the concept of the company intranet, turning these online workspaces into virtual communities where colleagues can interact in real time, collaborate, and share files and documents.
The goal of any intranet file sharing system is to enhance productivity by simplifying and organizing daily tasks. While that objective seems simple enough, it can be difficult to achieve when working with outdated technology. It's hard to streamline workflow when people aren't able to initiate conversations in the same place they're uploading content. The resulting disconnect allows great ideas and solutions to fall through the digital cracks.
By using social intranet software, you'll bring content and conversations together. Let's take a closer look at how social technology has improved document management and intranet file sharing.
Navigating a traditional document management system can sometimes be confusing. When many files are uploaded each day, it gets difficult to stay on top of priorities and keep track of everything. By using social intranet software, you are able to comment on, tag, rate, share, and easily search for any of the content being uploaded.
Social intranet software enable users to make and track changes in the document management system. Collaboration can take place at the speed of inspiration, and creativity can be crowdsourced among your team.
With an intranet document management system, you'll reduce the number of duplicate files in your organization. Documents are in one place, so your team can access them quickly, without having to save multiple versions in several locations.
Intranet file sharing enhances project management. You can organize your project files in a secure, central location for fast access by on-site and remote users. Revisions and conversations take place in real time, and project management becomes more accurate and intuitive. Productivity soars when staff can easily manage the documents they need for daily tasks and long-term projects.
Toggling between multiple applications drains time, money, and attention to detail. With social intranet software, you can access and share your documents with a few clicks and even fewer distractions.
Social technology can make your document management software more effective. However, you and your staff shouldn't expect things to run themselves. Intranet file sharing works best when users take ownership and contribute to the process. As the old computer adage reminds us, "garbage in, garbage out," so your team needs to commit to system upkeep. Fortunately, social technology makes it easy.
Here are a few ways you and your staff can use social technology to improve document management and intranet file sharing, all of which should be a natural extension of your current work processes:
Files and documents can be more than just the nuts and bolts of the workday. They often inspire and open up new opportunities for your organization. Documents that don't fit neatly into a specific category or are new to your social community can be used as catalysts for conversation. When intranet discussion forums live alongside file sharing in the same platform, you can foster thoughtful discussion and help your organization grow.
Untagged documents are untapped potential; they can be buried and forgotten under other files. Train your team to tag documents so that it becomes second nature.
If you're not sure about a file name, or you're unclear about why a document has been uploaded, ask your team.
Include your entire staff in the file sharing and document management process, and you'll streamline everything while building employee engagement.
Since everyone on staff uses the system daily, give them a say in how things are organized. Ask each employee to weigh in on things they feel could be done to improve the community, and pay attention to recurring suggestions.
Avoid "information overlap" in your intranet file sharing system by creating online workspaces for each department.
Social technology by definition encourages collaboration. Reinforce the importance of working collaboratively by praising teamwork.
Keep your staff energized and engaged by adding intranet gamification options.
Crowdsource opinions to improve documentation with intranet ideation tools. If you're working on a blog post, article, or wiki, ask others in the community to read a draft and provide feedback. Encourage your staff to offer advice if asked by a colleague.
Social intranet software is an excellent example of what happens when you combine document management with social technology. You can simplify processes, improve communications, and organize information—while saving time and money. Find the right platform for your business by doing your research and selecting a reputable vendor. Plan ahead and engage your staff in the implementation process.
Once you recognize the benefits of social intranet software, you'll wonder how you ever managed your documents without it.
Tim is president and co-founder of Axero Solutions and author of Who the Hell Wants to Work for You? Mastering Employee Engagement. He’s been featured in Fortune, Forbes, TIME, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur, CNBC, Today, and other leading publications.
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