managing document overload

Businesses today are bogged down by too many documents and information overload. Yet often the conversation ends there—without taking a real look at the devastating impact information and document overload are actually having on many businesses.

There are three main ways document overload harms businesses:

1. When too much information is coming in, it becomes much harder for individual employees to act on that information, leading to sub-par employee performance.

2. The time spent to sort through that information increases labor costs and other costs as well; for example, bad service leads to less business, and lost documentation may lead to paying extra taxes.

3. Finally, document overload can lead to document misuse (including information theft) or documents being misplaced—which can place a company’s regulatory compliance at risk.

Document Overload Seen By 59% of Middle Managers

The problem is much more widespread than you might think.

According to research conducted by Accenture, 59% of middle managers in large companies miss important information almost every day “because it exists within the company but they cannot find it.”

In the same study, 36% of respondents said there is so much information available that it takes a long time to actually find the right piece of data. Middle managers reported that they spend up to two hours a day trying to find information to do their jobs.

Most managers reported that they stored their most valuable information on their computer or individual email accounts, instead of using a collaborative workplace. Based on this research, Accenture attributed differing information sources within organizations as the most important reason that managing information was proving difficult.

Two Steps to Simplify Document Management

To simplify document management, eliminate waste and increase efficiency, companies need to do two things:

1. Identify key categories of important information and types of documentation for that company.

2. Create document workflows for those important document types, with important information being easily searchable and accessible by those who need it—without making it unnecessarily vulnerable.

Why These Two Steps Work (And Why A Virtual Data Room Might Be The Answer)

1. Establishing the types of documents that employees most often need to share with others and then creating workflow protocols that place that information in an easy-to-access location greatly increases the day-to-day efficiency of employees.

2. Using a digital document management system, such as a secure virtual data room, that places all company information in a shared location so that multiple users can access it eliminates the need for each manager or employee to request that information from others. It also makes the information easily accessible from their own computers.

As an added bonus, some of these systems are searchable, making it even easier to locate the necessary documents without time spent flipping through unimportant pages.

Finally, since much of the information created within company walls is intended to be kept therein, security features such as permission-based user roles and audit logs help ensure that users who don’t need sensitive data can easily be kept from accessing it.