File and Folder Utility Tools to Organize and Manage Electronic Data

These file and folder utility system tools work with Windows Explorer and offer additional file management functionality that is not available in Windows Explorer. These tools can help to organize and manage electronic data.

Sky Juice Software: Sky Juice Software offers multiple products, including Quick File Rename and Fast Folder Rename, which allow users to rename multiple files or documents at one time. Folder Maker allows users to create multiple files and folders at one time automatically.

Folder Marker: Folder Marker Home allows users to change folder color or mark folders to indicate priority level and status.

Snag It: This software creates screen images or Print Screen features. It allows users to capture a screen shot, edit, and file it. This is a useful tool to capture file hierarchies in Windows Explorer.

Print File List Pro:  Print File List Pro provides the ability to print a file directory within Windows Explorer. Windows Explorer does not offer a way to print or share file hierarchy structures.

To learn more how to organize computer documents, download the free report How to Organize Your Computer Documents.

Considerations in Choosing a Document Management System

Depositphotos_1833085_xsCurrently, there are hundreds of Document Management Systems (DMS) systems on the market. Although the basic functionality is similar, it is important to consider multiple factors before recommending an electronic record keeping system. These issues are important because they will inherently affect the use and trust employees have on a DMS system. Employees who trust the cloud-based document management system to save, retrieve, and manage documentation easily, quickly, and reliably will be more apt to use and adopt the system. Some electronic file systems were designed with a focus on an industry or profession. These systems have additional features and functionality specifically related to that industry. Other document systems are more broad-based and can be used with any profession and/ or industry and customized accordingly.

Some key issues for clients to consider before purchasing a DMS system include the following:

  • Size of system required. Determine how much file storage your organization is currently using on the server. And how much storage will be needed on an annual basis.
  • Scanning functionality. It is important to have robust scanning options when moving towards a paperless office. The DMS system should have scan software options available.
  • Search functionality. The search functionality is probably one of the more important aspects to consider when choosing a DMS system. This is a key element for finding and retrieving data quickly. It is important to have the ability to search using multiple fields such as keywords, date created, author, etc. Make sure the system is speedy and can display results in five to ten seconds. Having robust search functionality builds trust in the system, and employees will have a tendency to adopt the system more quickly.
  • Ease of use and user training. Any new software in an organization requires staff training. Make sure the DMS system seems user friendly and intuitive to non-IT related employees. Engage a few employees to test the proposed DMS system, and observe the ease of navigating the system. Be sure to inquire about the type and cost of training programs the vendor offers.
  • Permissions. To ensure confidential data is secure, it will be important to understand the function of access rights within the system. Ideally, the system should allow the author of the document the capability to grant permission to the appropriate job level and/ or specific individuals.
  • Recognition and integration with other systems. The DMS system should easily integrate and recognize other major software systems used by the organization. It will be important to test various document formats and files to ensure capability. Make sure that the DMS system can search email profiles to find specific emails.
  • Retention. Make sure the DMS system has strong retention functionality. Fields should be available to denote how long a document should be retained. Industry-specific DMS systems should have built-in compliance guidance. If the system has an auto-delete function based on the retention inputted, be clear on the system process of those deleted documents.
  • File hierarchy structure. Make sure the system has the ability to create and design a file hierarchy. File hierarchies are still important for users who think of data and documents related to a specific file structure.
  • Scalability and transferability. As with all systems, an organization will eventually outgrow them. First determine if the prospective system has the capacity and functionality to grow along with the business. If the client company decides to use another DMS system, determine if the data can be easily migrated into a new more robust DMS system.
  • Upgradability. It is important for the vendor to have a few upgrades to show improvements in the system, but if there is a significant upgrade every year, this cost might need to be budgeted annually and/ or prohibitive to an organization.
  • Backup. Although all companies have an internal backup system, the DMS system should also have its own backup utility. Find out what type of format or encryption code is used. Be clear on the restore process if data is ever needed and/ or lost.

Becoming a Paperless Office: Create a Clear System to Manage Electronic Documents

According to a study by the CAP Venture Group, it is estimated that 80% of information is still retained on paper even though more than 80% of the documents we work with are already in a computer somewhere. According to Xerox, approximately 30% of printed documents are for one-time use only and further studies found that about 45% of documents printed in a typical office are thrown away within 24 hours. Another Gartner study called “Electronic Document Management” revealed that the average document was copied between nine and eleven times.

One of the keys in gaining efficiencies in data management and increasing productivity is to reduce the paper workers manage. A key component to creating a paperless office is to create user trust in finding and accessing data electronically. Employees are inundated with data in multiple formats and finding it more and more difficult to manage the amount of data and be effective and efficient at their job. Without a consolidated system to manage data along with sound file structure and data management guidelines users will tend to keep a ‘backup’ copy of data and records in paper. Although paper does have its uses for work purposes such as reading, reviewing at meetings or processing data, it is not the optimal format to archive, store and file records and documents. When moving towards a paperless office it becomes even more vital that file structures, whether on a Shared Drive network or in a cloud-based system, is well-organized. It is also important that there is a clear and designated location to store data when there are multiple document and record systems available to users. Finally, data management practices need to be clearly defined such as document naming conventions, versioning, and data conventions.

To learn how to organize electronic files on the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.