Simply creating policy and procedure documents on Microsoft Word and publishing them as PDFs isn’t enough. Policy and procedure documents are a reference guide for the whole organization – they need to not only be helpful, but also be maintained.
There are many different dimensions to maintaining documents. The documents must be securely stored, routinely reviewed, and consistently audited. Document management systems have all of these features and more. Document tracking is one of the most important features when it comes to policy and procedure management.
What is Document Tracking?
Document tracking is a feature which tracks different attributes and locations of documents. Through document tracking you can control who can view a document, check to see who has accessed the document, who has made changes to it, and who the document has been sent to. This tracking is necessary for confidential and important documents. Document tracking is commonly used in the financial sector, the healthcare sector, and the legal world, due to the sensitive nature of their documents. Many of the documents in such industries contain confidential and sensitive information.
1. Audit Trails
The importance of audit trails cannot be overstated. Whenever there is a problem the first step taken is to audit the issue. There can be no audit trails without document tracking. Many software applications, including Microsoft Word, have rudimentary document tracking features, but they are easy to override and can only detect changes to documents.
Document management systems go beyond tracking changes to documents. They also keep a record of every user that has accessed the document with a timestamp. This makes audits quick and easy. The complete audit trail of a document can be accessed with just a few clicks. If an unauthorized used accessed or edited a document, they will immediately show up in the audit trail. If the document was shared anywhere the information will be present in the system. This feature makes them invaluable when it comes to managing policies and procedures.
2. Control Sharing of Policy and Procedure Documents
Document tracking allows businesses to control when and who the documents can be shared with. There are many policies and procedure which are of a sensitive nature. If they leak, they may cause a PR problem. Having a document management system in place ensures that the documents can only be shared by the users that are authorized. Document tracking allows you to quickly see the full list of people who accessed the documents, so you can investigate and find out who they are being shared by.
3. Easier Collaborations in Writing Policies and Procedures
Policy and procedures need collaboration between different departments to be written properly. This means that many people need to work on the same document. Things can quickly get very confusing if there is no document tracking feature. It is hard to figure out who made what change and when the changes were made. With tracking it is very easy to see who made what change in the document and when the changes were made. People can easily collaborate on writing the policies and procedures and provide their input as needed.
4. Tracking Progress
Document tracking also allows management to easily view the progress that has been made on documents. If a document has been sent to someone for reviewing there is no need to ask them whether they are done with their review. If they have opened the file it will show on the document’s records. If the records show that the file hasn’t even been opened, then they can be contacted and reminded about the work that is pending.
While document management systems are a common sight in the legal, financial, and healthcare sector, they aren’t very common in most industries. This is a mistake; every company has documents that need to be protected. There is no need to implement a full-scale document management system within a small business – there are better solutions.
Cloud based document management system provide all the features that small businesses need at a fraction of the cost. They also make files accessible from anywhere since the files are stored on the cloud. Get in touch with our team if you want to see how document management systems can benefit your organization.
About the Company
360factors, Inc. (Austin, TX) helps companies improve business performance by reducing risk and ensuring compliance. Predict360, its flagship software product, vertically integrates regulations and requirements, policies and procedures management, risks and controls, audit management and inspections, and on-line training and qualifications, in a single cloud-based platform based on artificial intelligence.