Why Is File Management Important? Here’s What To Tell Your Teamon 7 December 2022
Every day, organisations document tons of important information. While many of these organisations have taken steps toward digitising this information, not all are taking advantage of file management systems. For those that do, such systems quickly become invaluable.
Dan Gower, owner of Buddy Gardner Advertising, says his company wouldn't be able to function without a good file management system. “It’s critical for collaboration, client approvals, and content management at my digital ad agency.”
For those of you who are fighting an uphill battle to get people on board with this type of system, below are a few things you can say when they ask, “Why is file management important?” But first, let’s get a clear picture of what file management is like in practice.
What does file management look like?
What is file management? It’s the practice of collecting and organising files in a manner that helps business teams be more efficient.
As for what it looks like, consider the below features and screenshots from Glasscubes, an all-in-one collaboration suite that includes file management capabilities.
Glasscubes offers a safe digital environment in which you can store and share files with whoever you deem appropriate, whether they are part of your internal team, or an external client or supplier. It has no restrictions on file types or size, and data is encrypted both in transit and at rest.
Versioning ensures your team and clients are always using the most recent version of a document by automatically tracking every version that’s uploaded. You can even lock files so other team members know you’re working on a document, and will avoid editing an out-of-date version.
File requests enable you to request documents from clients or suppliers in bulk. The system provides a clear list of files the recipient needs to upload and checks them off as the files are uploaded. If there are any missing files, the system automatically notifies the recipient to upload them.
Threaded discussions allow team members to add comments to a document’s thread to always keep conversations in context. That thread stays with the document across every version, even when it’s moved to another folder.
11 Benefits Of File Management
1. It centralises important documents in one place.
Documents are often siloed across desktop computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, flash drives, and email inboxes. File management systems can bring an organisation’s documents together in one place for easy accessibility. Instead of spending precious time trying to find that one document buried in an archived email thread, you can find what you need and get back to work.
2. It reduces rework.
A staggering 83% of employees have to recreate pre-existing documents because they can’t locate them on their corporate network. While some documents may take just a few minutes to prepare, many require numerous man-hours to complete. Even if the rework time is low per document, that time can quickly add up across documents and employees. File management systems help keep documents organised, so your workforce can quickly find what they need and avoid reinventing the wheel.
3. It minimises project delays.
Beyond rework, not being able to find documents can also contribute to delays on time-sensitive projects. For example, say you have a marketing team that creates ad campaigns for multiple clients. The team must keep track of hundreds of assets—documents, images, videos, etc. Managing these assets without a file management system would be an arduous, time-consuming responsibility. The time required to find files could delay client meetings or even cause the team to miss important deadlines for ad submissions.
4. It cuts down on emails.
The dreaded email chains—we’ve all experienced them at some point. Unfortunately, some teams still have to deal with them! Emailing files to team members and clients leads to documents collecting dust in recipients’ inboxes. You also wind up with lost versions and untracked changes. (Tweet this!) “Embracing file management has cut down on our email volume, which has improved efficiency and helped us avoid a lot of frustration,” says Gower.
5. It makes reviewing and approving content easier.
Many documents often need to be reviewed and approved before moving on to the next step in the process—such as being published, sent to a client, or released to the public. Contributors and approvers need to be able to easily access documents to keep the process flowing smoothly.
Simon Hansen, founder of Home Brew Advice, runs a remote content creation team, and he relies heavily on file management systems to make checking content easier. “The features that file management systems offer make it easier for digital business owners like me to give team members access to files, leave comments and suggestions, as well as improve and approve content.”
6. It supports communication.
Many file management systems have built-in communication features—such as threaded discussions or commenting capabilities—so you can keep track of conversations as they relate to a specific document. Plus, maintaining the conversation history is useful for later reference. For example, you may need to recall why certain changes were made to ensure you don’t undo something important.
7. It gives you control over information access.
With files spread across different media, you don’t have any centralised control over them. Keeping files together in a file management system with the right features can help you control access to sensitive documents. Some systems give you control at the role level (e.g., administrator, manager, etc.), while other systems enable you to grant access to individual users.
8. It helps you maintain document versions.
If you’ve ever been unsure whether you’re working with the most up-to-date version of a document, you’re not alone. A troubling 83% of workers struggle with version issues in the workplace. And it’s no wonder this is the reality given the reasons we’ve already pointed out about siloed, unorganised documents. The right file management system automatically version-controls documents so your team has one less headache to deal with.
9. It makes files more secure.
“File management software can enhance the security of your sensitive documents and data, with individual and group access controlled by the file’s owner,” says Minesh Patel, founder of The Patel Firm.
Access varies by solution—some offer access options at the group level, such as for all executives or members of a certain department. Other solutions enable access more granularly, such as at the user level, so that each user profile is restricted by certain files or folders. Still others give you multiple options for granting access rights.
“Many solutions in this space also create an audit trail, so if something goes awry you can see the document’s access and edit history, tracing any issues to their source,” says Patel.
10. It helps with compliance.
Johannes Larsson, entrepreneurial coach and owner of several online businesses, says businesses in data-sensitive industries, such as those in finance and healthcare, need to adhere to strict and often complex federal guidelines to protect consumers and their privacy. “Non-compliance with these regulations can result in stiff fines, revoked licenses, and, in some cases, even criminal liability.”
Hence why file management is so important. “It helps keep private data secure by providing ways to classify files and restrict access to them. Some options even have features that automate backup and recovery, which safeguard against data loss,” Larsson explains.
11. It increases efficiency.
“File management creates an organized system that improves efficiency across the organisation, which is incredibly valuable for leaders,” says Samantha Moss, editor and content ambassador at Romantific.
Moss notes that effective file management improves workflow and enables easy access to relevant data and resources. By implementing a logical and consistent way to organize your files, you make it easier for you and others to find and use them. “Thus, you minimize the time spent manually searching for files and provide a system that’s both comprehensive and cohesive. As a result, employees increase their productivity and improve collaboration.”
Use Cases For Different Types Of File Management Systems
Gower says he’s used a few different file management systems and had mixed results. For example, he says Teamwork is extremely capable, but it can be a bit frustrating to use unless everyone is comfortable with the software and on the right page. “It's best for companies with established processes who need something flexible.”
For writers, creatives, or anyone else who needs to get work reviewed and approved, Gower recommends Ashore. This solution allows users to define approval stages, streamline the proofing process, and keep an audit log of all versions and status changes. “The organisation and interface are both fairly intuitive, and it's mobile-friendly, which is a huge plus.”
“Google Drive is often overlooked and definitely underrated as a file management system,” says Gower. Drive is a decent option because it's free—or cheap, depending on the plan—and most people are already comfortable with it. Files can be shared by email if you make the link open, or you can restrict access as needed so only some recipients can see your work. “Most importantly, everything is searchable with Google's algorithm. It's definitely worth a look for anyone who has simple file management needs and a limited budget.”
Jennifer Cockram, outreach coordinator at Greater Manchester Higher, finds Glasscubes to be a great resource for her virtual team because it lets her store all the team’s activities and notes in one location they can all access. “The functionality of the system is simple to use and easy to navigate. It’s basically a filing system in the sky [...]. I also like the way you can add comments if you have updated a file to let all or a specific person know this action has taken place.”
Meanwhile, Hansen and his team have used Google Drive and Dropbox as file management systems, though now they solely employ Drive for security and capacity reasons. “Although we’ve moved to Google Drive, it’s safe to say that Dropbox is an evolving document management system that’s continually improving, which is exciting for digital entrepreneurs like me.”
Hansen says Drive has proven to be quite effective for his team since it offers a secure system and easier access with multiple apps readily available. “With Drive, it’s easier to collaborate and update content. Besides its security features and easy access, the platform has also taken a huge amount of weight off our system’s capacity, making it more ideal for heavy tasks and multiple projects.”
Comparing Types Of File Management Systems: Dropbox Vs. Glasscubes
Two of the solutions mentioned above—Dropbox and Glasscubes—provide file management solutions; however, their use cases differ because of their feature sets. Dropbox focuses solely on file management, while Glasscubes also offers task management and information workflow automation, among other capabilities.
An expanded feature set makes Glasscubes a more relevant solution for leaders looking to not only share files but also improve collaboration. Instead of implementing multiple solutions, they can turn to Glasscubes to address multiple needs.
Manage files—plus a lot more—with Glasscubes.
Glasscubes is your go-to collaboration hub that combines communication, task management, and file sharing together to help your team reach optimal productivity levels. With Glasscubes, you can supercharge your file management:
- Keep all your files together in one easily searchable repository, and control who can access them with a few clicks.
- Store and share files in a secure location, complete with automatic version control. You can even create approval workflows and view clear audit trails of user actions.
- Converse with teammates about specific documents with threaded discussions.
- Share files with other teammates, clients, vendors—whoever you want.
Plus, assign and manage tasks for different members of the team, and track them to completion. Create customised workspaces for each project team in your portfolio. Team members can share resources and communicate with one another in their specific workspace, and you can access them all for easy oversight.