When an organization has been in existence for many years it accumulates many documents. These documents contain data, information, and knowledge pertaining to various aspects of the organization including its history, business strategies, operational procedures, and transaction details among others. These documents may be of considerable importance for future business planning. They may also possess legal value, be related to patents held by the company, and related to regulations and policies. They are of the atmost importance and hence have to be retained and preserved.
However, some of these documents are held in paper form, while others may be held in an outdated electronic version. Unless, they are converted to a modern format, they may be likely to get lost.
Therefore, an effective process must be determined and followed to ensure that certain conditions are met and documents are ready before they are converted into a suitable format for retrieval and storage purpose.
Here are some steps that must be followed to ensure that you are ready for document conversion:
Take an inventory of all the documents you have. Determine the numbers of documents in paper form or electronic form and the various versions of software the documents are being saved in. Additionally, some of these documents might need to be relocated to a common destination. If so, where? Transportation costs might be involved. A tactic should also be thought of to collect and bring the documents together.
Some documents will be related to manufacturing processes, while others will be catalogs, manuals and process papers, technical reports, patents and regulatory papers. Further more, there will be insurance papers, lease agreements, financial records, internal and external correspondence, and real estate papers. The team handling the conversion process will have to sort the documents and arrange them under various heads so that they can be found easily by the officials of the company as and when they are needed.
Will all the documents be in one format, or will two-three formats be chosen based on the needs of the content? There are so many electronic options available these days that a bit of research will have to be conducted to make the best and right decision. They can even request quotes from different vendors if new software is going to be used.
There are usually large volumes of documents that cannot all be converted at one go. Different days will have to be fixed for carrying out the conversion. They will have to make sure that regular work is not hampered in case the documents are still being used for daily operations or for research work. At the same time, the schedule should not be such that the conversion work drags on infinitely. It should be completed as quickly and as smoothly as the volumes and technology permit.
Ways will also have to be found to keep the data confidential. Remember, the company is dealing with information that details how their products are manufactured, how their services are run, information about their employees, their dealing with vendors and government agencies and many more. It cannot fall in the wrong hands. So when the teams are chosen, only the most trustworthy and skilled employees should be chosen for this task. Their backgrounds should be vetted before this process begins.
As technology changes, needs change and the company progresses, there would be periodic changes required concerning the storage of documents. The conversion process might not even be a one-time activity. It might be something that needs to be done on a regular basis. Therefore, you must plan to have a strong process in place and make sure that no information is lost during the time of execution. A strong data conversion systemin place will enhance the business process and progress.
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