Policy and procedure management is often underestimated at a task. People think that writing a few documents is all that needs to be done and there aren’t any complications. It is only when there is a policy and procedure issue that needs to be solved when people realize just how complex and problematic managing policy and procedure can be. If businesses want to truly excel at policy and procedure management, they need to focus on workflow management.

The importance of workflow management 

Workflow management is an obvious part of management. The problem is that it is often not applied to policy and procedure. There is a misconception that once the policies and procedures have been written the work is complete. Policies and procedures aren’t just for record keeping or to comply with regulations and laws, they exist to ensure that the organization has a blueprint of the ideal business processes and methods. The absence of any proper document workflow management results in multiple problems.

Workflow Management

Outdated policies and procedures

Updating and managing the documents that contain the policies and procedures is a necessary part of policy management workflow. The documents contain the rules and ideas about different processes. The rapid advancement in technology we are going through results in an everchanging business landscape. It is possible for a technology to enable a completely new way of completing tasks. In such a scenario all the documents containing the policies and procedures need to be updated to account for the change in technology and business process.

Managing these documents is the goal of document lifecycle management software. In document lifecycle management every document that is created is given an expiry date. When the expiry date is near the assigned users are automatically notified that they need to review the documents and assess if any change is required.

Conflicting versions of policies and procedures

Outdated policies and procedures aren’t the only danger in the absence of workflow management. Another major problem is that different people may have different versions of the same documents. Someone may use a copy they have on their computer, without realizing that the official version of the document has been updated. Policy and procedure workflow management applications have version control. Everyone can easily access the latest approved versions of all the documents.

Access Controls 

Document management solutions also control access to documents. Management can decide who can view the documents. They can also decide who gets editing privileges for important documents. Every change is tracked; thus, it is easy to audit and investigate any issue that may occur. Without such a system in place it is possible for an unauthorized user to make changes to the document without leaving behind any audit trails behind.

Automated workflow management

It is possible to manually set up a system that helps manage documents, but the efficiency and productivity of these systems cannot compete with document management solutions. Setting up such a system manually involves acquiring dedicated hardware and software. An expert will also need to be hired for system administration. The process will take a long time and the end results be difficult to use. There will also be no automation – people will have to manually ensure proper workflow is maintained.

A document management system automates the whole process which eliminates compliance and security risks. Automation also results in a complete audit trail of every change that has been made. It is easy to revert to a previous version of the policies and procedures while ensuring that the whole organization also uses the right version of the documents. Cloud based solutions can be implemented quickly and do not require the installation of any hardware. There is no need to create a document server either; all the files are stored in the cloud. They can thus be accessed from any system with the right credentials.

Document management solutions improve the productivity and efficiency of the whole organization. For a more detailed look into the benefits of these systems, click here to read our white paper Reasons to Use Policy and Procedure Software. The implementation of proper workflow management makes it easy to store, manage, share, and edit documents for everyone in the organization. It also makes it painless to audit documents and investigate all the changes that have been made.

If you want to see how a document management solution will benefit your organization get in touch with the 360factors team. Our team will demo the Predict360 Document Management solution for you and show you the benefits it can provide.

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.

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