Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Structured File Naming Convention Strategy For Information Asset Management

The simple and affordable option
Information assets essentially include all electronic files and paper documents within the organization. These are valuable assets/resources because they are intrinsically tied to daily operations. It is therefore extremely important to ensure that they are easily retrievable at all times by all stakeholders that must rely on them. Many enterprises invest an enormous amount of time and money to render their electronic information assets retrievable. Unfortunately, the results can quite often be rather disappointing relative to the investment and effort. An affordable and effective option is to simply employ structured folder/file naming conventions for each business activity in the enterprise as a means of managing the applicable electronic information assets. This can be used either as a complementary or alternative strategy depending on the situation on hand.

Electronic and paper Information asset mix
Before getting into the details of employing a naming strategy to help manage information assets, let's get a clearer picture of what they constitute. Electronic information assets predominately consist of office files (e.g. Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint), emails and attachments, graphic files, images and digital documents i.e. generally PDFs and sometimes TIFs. PDFs have slowly become the undisputable digital substitute for paper as organizations strive toward the somewhat illusive paperless office. There has been notable progress but most offices continue to be rather "paperful" and in many cases paper still represents the majority of the information assets in the more conservative enterprises.

Transforming paper assets
Although, many justify their reliance on paper, partly because they feel that it is more tactile or ergonomic and that you can not apply a wet signature to a digital document, nevertheless, paper is a costly asset to maintain. Even if one is unfazed by the enormous carbon foot-print and costs associated with paper, one can not disregard the ensuing costs from the minute one decides to inject it into the internal workflow process and/or just file it. The inherent cost of working and managing paper files should be and can be easily avoided in this day and age where document scanning is so affordable. The key is to find where in your paper process it would be optimal to transform your paper into digital documents. Once in a digital state, it is possible and imperative that the file be named and saved properly employing a structured file naming convention strategy to ensure easy and precise retrieval. The consequences of not diligently doing so can be more costly than continuing the paper process.

File retrieval fundamentals
If you name your file properly and you store it properly as per a prescribe policy or convention, you and all your coworkers will be able to easily retrieve it. This is the fundamental principle behind a structured file naming and storage strategy. The concept requires that a file/folder structured naming convention be instituted for each business activity and that all stakeholders adhere to it consistently to properly name and store operation-critical files. If the policy is executed with diligence, it would be possible to retrieve files efficiently and with a precision that is directly proportional to the input quality of the structured file names assigned.

Structured file naming anatomy
Structured file naming is the combining of multiple information elements separated by delimiters (e.g. underscore "_") to compose a unique information-rich file name. Structured file naming is like a bridge that is designed to encourage collaboration through file sharing. Just like a bridge, if the file naming structure design is sound, it will easily support the load of the information assets and the individuals that rely on them, whether these individuals are sitting in the same cubicle or half way around the world. This is made possible from the instant a file naming and storage structure is put into effect as a working policy.

Structured file naming rules
The strength of a folder/file naming convention is dependent on the proposed naming structure and the quality and quantity of the data elements chosen to build it. For any business activity there is always an optimal structure. However, any structured naming convention that attempts to be all encompassing may result in overkill. The key is that the resulting file name is sufficiently comprehensive, familiar and easily interpretable by all involved.

What are the recommend rules for best practice in file/folder naming?

The following is a listing of 10 basic rules that may be used as a general guideline for creating a structured naming convention.

1. Use short and simple folder names and folder structures.
2. Put just the right amount of elements in the structure for easy retrieval and identification.
3. Use the underscore (_) as element delimiter.

4. Use the hyphen (-) to delimit words within an element or capitalize the first letter of each word.
5. Elements should be ordered from general to specific detail of importance as much as possible.
6. Dates should be ordered: YEAR, MONTH, DAY. (e.g. YYYYMMDD, YYYYMMDD, YYYYMM).

7. Personal names within an element should have family name first followed by first names or initials.

8. Abbreviate the content of elements whenever possible.
9. Version control should start with V followed by at least 2 digits if more than 9 revisions are anticipated.
10. Prefix the names of the pertinent sub-folders to the file name of files that are being shared via email.

For detailed explanations and examples of these rules, please refer to the article: Folder and File Name Conventions - 10 Rules for Best Practice available on the http://www.exadox.com website.

The benefits
Once a structured naming convention is in force, everyone will be able to notice a remarkable improvement in operational efficiency and productivity resulting from the simple and precise: search, identification and retrieval of files. Collaboration will be facilitated through more manageable file sharing. If version control is included in the structure, duplication of files and confusion will also be drastically reduced.

Some challenges

The strategy is simple; however, nothing will happen without the proper leadership to drive it. The goals, the strategy and the plan must be communicated to all stakeholders. The rules of engagement, namely, the adherence to the policy needs to be followed for everyone to realize the benefits. Some vigilance is essential to ensure consistency and accuracy in the naming process. If the strategy is widely adopted it would be worthwhile looking into a semi-automated structured file naming solution. For more details on an automated approach please refer to: eXadox White Paper: Semi-Automated Structured File Naming and Storage.

Vincent Santaguida is the founder of MultiCIM Technologies Inc. (1986), a software engineering and business process automation company. He is major proponent of paperless office practices and the use of structured folder/file naming conventions as a simple affordable means of managing documents and files. He has been actively promoting these concepts through article publication and speaking engagements.

Naming Convention to Help Organize Folders and Files

The need and value of naming conventions?
No matter the value of a treasure, if it is buried and you can not find it, it is of no value at all. The same holds true for electronic files. Well organized computer files are more readily retrievable and are very valuable information assets but if the files are in disarray they can actually induce undue operational costs.

As time progresses everyone will have to increasingly manage more electronic documents, therefore increasing the likelihood of losing control, unless some basic organizational precautions are taken. The solution is quite simple! It is just matter of diligently naming files as per a well structured naming convention and storing them in pre-designated folders. The premise is that that if you name it properly and store it properly as per the accepted standard anyone will be able to find it and unlike buried treasures electronic files must be easily found by all interested authorized parties without needing a map.

Establishing Naming Conventions
Establishing a folder / file naming convention is simple but an awareness of the type files involved and an understanding of the business activity is essential. If multiple business activities are involved each should have its own naming convention. Any attempt to create a universal file naming policy for all processes or activities may prove to be unnecessarily burdensome. On the other hand, in a collaborative work environment it is important that the final structure proposed be universally and religiously adopted by all stakeholders and must be instituted as a policy by the person commanding the highest authority.
Deciding on naming structures may result in multiple conflicting opinions because file and folder naming can be a matter of personal preference which may unfortunately also vary from day to day. This is normal and in fact can be the root cause of file disorganization. Such conflicts should be viewed as positive reinforcement to justify the effort on hand.

For any structured naming convention there will be questions of how many elements, the type of elements, how to format them and how to delimit them within the structure. The following 10 basic rules can be used as a quick reference to help expedite the process:

1. Use short and simple folder names and folder structures and focus on using information-rich filenames.
Yes: Z:ProdQAAssL7_WO_Suzuki_L3688_20090725.xls || Z:Pubs Article_eXadox_ File-Naming-Conventions_V03.doc
No: Z:Production Quality ControlAssembly Line7Work OrdersClientsSuzuki Motors LOT3688_July-25-2009.xls || Z:PublicationsArticleseXadoxFile-Naming-Conventions_V03.doc
Because: Complex hierarchical folder structures require extra browsing at time of storage and at the time of file retrieval. By having all the essential information concisely in the file name itself, both the search and identification of the file is streamlined and more precise.

2. Put just the right amount of elements in the structure for easy retrieval and identification.
Yes : NOVALEC_37507_INVOICE_20090703.pdf || FUJITSU_S1500_SPEC_Scanner.pdf
No: NOVALEC _INVOICE.pdf || FUJITSU_S1500_SPEC_Black _Desktop_Scanner_ ModelReplacesS510_.pdf
Because: Precision targeted retrieval requires sufficient elements to avoid ambiguous search results but too much information adds undue effort at file naming time with little or no returns at retrieval time.

3. Use the underscore (_) as element delimiter. Do not use spaces or other characters such as:! # $ % & ' @ ^ ` ~ +,.; =)(
Yes: SMITH-J_AXA_7654-6_POLICY_20120915.pdf || FUJITSU_S1500_SPEC_Scanner.pdf
No: SMITH-J AXA 7654-6 POLICY 20120915.pdf || FUJITSU $S1500$ SPEC$Scanner.pdf
Because: The underscore (_) is a quasi standard for field delimiting and is the most visually ergonomic character. Some search tools do not work with spaces and should be especially avoided for internet files. Other characters may be interesting but visually confusing and awkward.

4. Use the hyphen (-) to delimit words within an element or capitalize the first letter of each word within an element.
Yes: Smith-John_AIG _7654-6_POLICY_2009-09-15.pdf || WhitePaper_ StructuredFileNamingStrategy.doc
No: Smith John AIG 7654 6 POLICY 2009 09 15.pdf || White Paper Structured file naming strategy.doc
Because: Spaces are poor visual delimiters and some search tools do not work with spaces. The hyphen (-) is a common word delimiter. Alternatively, capitalizing the words within an element is an efficient method of differentiating words but is harder to read.

5. Elements should be ordered from general to specific detail of importance as much as possible.
Yes : FY2009_Acme-Corp _Q3_TrialBal_20091015_V02.xls || Production_Paint-Shop_WorkOrder_775-2.xls
No: TrialBal _Q3_20091015_Acme-Corp_V02_FY2009.xls || Paint-Shop_775-2_WorkOrder_Production.xls
Because: In general the elements should be ordered logically, in the same sequence that you would normally search for a targeted file.

6. The order of importance rule holds true when elements include date and time stamps. Dates should be ordered: YEAR, MONTH, DAY. (e.g. YYYYMMDD, YYYYMMDD, YYYYMM). Time should be ordered: HOUR, MINUTES, SECONDS (HHMMSS).
Yes: RFQ375_Cables-Unlimited _BID_20091015-1655.pdf || 2009-11-20_AMATProj_Phase1_Report.doc
No: RFQ375_Cables-Unlimited _BID_10152009-1655.pdf || Nov-20-2009_AMATProj_Phase1_Report.doc
Because: To ensure that files are sorted in proper chronological order the most significant date and time components should appear first followed with the least significant components.

7. Personal names within an element should have family name first followed by first names or initials.
Yes: Tate-Peter_SunLife _1-7566-2_POLICY_10YrTerm.pdf || SmithJ_ ID3567_ADMIN_WageReview.xls
No: Peter-Tate_SunLife _1-7566-2_POLICY_10YearTerm.pdf || JSmith_ ID3567_ADMIN_WageReview.xls
Because: The family name is the standard reference for retrieving records. Having the family name first will ensure that files are sorted in proper alphabetical order.

8. Abbreviate the content of elements whenever possible.
Yes : RevQC _QST_2009-Q2.xls || MCIM_27643_POD.doc
No: Minister of Revenue Quebec _Quebec-Sales-Tax_2009-2ndQuarter.xls || MultiCIM-Technologies-Inc_27643_Proof-Of-Delivery.pdf
Because: Abbreviating helps create concise file names that are easier to read and recognize.

9. An element for version control should start with V followed by at least 2 digits and should be placed as the last most element. To distinguish between working drafts (i.e. minor revisions) use Vx-01->Vx-99 range and for final draft (i.e. major version release) use V1-00-> V9-xx. (where x =0-9)
Yes: MCIM_Proposal_V09.doc || eXadox_UserManual_V1-02.doc
No: MCIM_Proposal_9.doc || eXadox_UserManual_V2FinalDraft.doc
Because: The "V" helps denote that the element pertains to a version number. A minimum of 2 digits with a leading zero is required to ensure that search results are properly sorted. The intent is to avoid the situation where for example, a filename with a "V1-13" will wrongly appear before an identical filename with a "V1-2" version number when sorted in ascending alphabetical/numerical order. To distinguish between working, review and final draft a single digit prefix followed by hyphen "-" is preferred to facilitate proper sorting; using words in the file name such Final, Draft or Review in the filename affect the order and should be avoided.

10. Prefix the names of the pertinent sub-folders to the file name of files that are being shared via email or portable storage devices.
Yes : Prod_PS_AssL7_WO_Suzuki_J3688-20090725.xls || FY2009_Acme-Corp _Q3_TrialBal_20091015_V02.xls
No: WO_Suzuki_J3688-20090725.xls || Q3_TrialBal_20091015_V02.xls
Because: Attached files and files shared through portable devices include only the file name and can be totally devoid of the context that is generally provided by the folder structure of origin. To compensate and avoid confusion it is sometimes essential to prefix the name of the subfolder(s) to such file names.

Putting Naming Convention into Effect
For the project to succeed, all the participants must first realize the following:

• Electronic files are information assets that are the property of the organization.

• Electronic files are shareable resources although sometimes for restricted users only.
• Electronic files are critical components to operations that affect productivity and profitability.

Therefore everyone should do their utmost to diligently apply the naming policies and be aware that deviating or compromising in naming policy adherence could have negative consequences to everyone. Policy adherence should be monitored because people are human and can be prone to error. A solution to this problem is to use semi-automated structured file naming and storage software that helps manage naming policy adherence and also help with the monitoring process. For details visit http://www.exadox.com or refer to eXadox White Paper: Semi-Automated Structured File Naming and Storage.

Vincent Santaguida is the founder and president of MultiCIM Technologies Inc., a company that specializes in software development and business process automation. In addition to executive responsibilities, he is involved with the conceptual design and development of eXadox ( http://www.exadox.com ), an electronic file organizer and retrieval software that semi-automates structured file naming and storage.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Managing Emailed Documents Using Structured File Naming

Electronic document exchange through email attachments is providing business a forward thrust towards the adoption of paperless office practices. A significant downside is that this benefit comes with the burden of having to manage numerous emails and more importantly, to properly file the attached documents. Most organizations have instituted best-practices for managing paper documents; however, a free-for-all approach still prevails for emailed documents. Electronic documents demand a well-structured filing process just as their paper counterpart. This is especially critical in collaborative work settings where documents are shared resources. This article presents how a structured file naming and storage strategy can be exploited to efficiently file email attachments. Users may employ this strategy as a manual process or they may take advantage of eXadox for viewing attachments and semi-automating the filing process.

The value of email attachments
Business emails and in particular, the documents that are received as email attachments are information- assets that belong to the organization. They should therefore be properly named, stored and rendered accessible to other staff members that can potentially benefit or require the information for operational use. Attachments are of significant importance to the enterprise because these may include documents that are:
· Transactional - e.g. sales orders and invoices
· Legal - e.g. contracts, policies and notifications
· Informational - e.g. specifications and drawings
In the paper-based world such documents would possibly be reviewed or processed by several people and filed in departmental filing cabinets. In the electronic world, it is incumbent on the receiving individual to either forward the email or file these documents in the appropriate repository so that coworkers may access them for immediate review or processing. This is extremely important due to potentially serious consequences. For example: emailed electronic invoices or sales orders that have been improperly handled may not be processed until a supplier or client complains. These situations can be easily avoided through proper filing with the help of structured file naming and storage.

What is structured file naming?
Structured filenaming consists of a file name that is composed of a minimum of two descriptive segments plus the file name extension. To illustrate this concept, we may look at the following file naming example:
In this example, it is quite clear by the file name that this document is an invoice numbered P76328 from a supplier, Global Lighting, which was issued on January 29, 2009. The file name can be improved further by taking advantage of abbreviations (IDs) that will make the file name more concise. The result would look like: GLOBAL_P76328_INV_090125.PDF
Once a document has been assigned an information-rich file name such as the above, it becomes easy to search for, retrieve and identify. This will result in increased efficiency and overall productivity.

Some possible pitfalls
In principle, a structured file naming strategy and storage policy is easy to implement. The difficulty lies in the fact that it requires collective discipline and patience. When several people are involved it can be a major challenge to maintain file naming and storage policy adherence. Depending on the structure it could involve a fair amount of typing and an increased chance of transposing segments and misspelling or mistyping pertinent data.

A semi-automated solution
It is worthwhile to consider automating the process as much as possible so as to minimize manual input when entering the storage destination and the filename. The user should be able to simply drag and drop the document in a general purpose viewer. Skim through the document if necessary to decide under which business activity to classify it under. Choose the business activity profile and let the application semi-automatically populate the structured file name and destination using minimal input. The eXadox filing system facilitates this mode of operation by enabling a company to define a structured file naming and storage standard that each department or business unit must adhere to. To eliminate improper entry it uses smart lists that are created by importing data from the business system. These lists are used to ensure that only valid entries are accepted. The same lists can be used to perform precision search and retrieval of stored documents.

For more info visit http://www.exadox.com or refer to: eXadox White Paper: Semi-Automated Structured File Naming and Storage

Friday, June 12, 2009

Managing Documents Via Structured File Naming

Migrating towards paperless-office practices invokes the need to cope with larger amounts and varieties of electronic documents. Acquiring a document management system could help but there are significant costs and complexities that may be too difficult to justify. A more expedient approach is to adopt a structured file naming policy to help manage your documents affordably and effectively. Structured file naming is a powerful yet under-exploited tool for indexing documents. It is a very efficient means of searching and retrieving documents. This article briefly explains how to apply this concept.

Although "structured file naming" may be an unfamiliar term for some, many computer users actually employ the practice without realizing it. If you are naming your file with two or more descriptive segments and are making a conscious effort to be consistent, you are applying a structured file naming strategy.
To better appreciate this concept, we may take the following structured file name example: GLOBAL-LIGHTING_P76328_INVOICE_2009-1-25.PDF

In this example it is relatively clear by the file name that this document is an invoice numbered P76328 from a supplier, Global Lighting, that was issued on January 29, 2009. The file name can be improved further by taking advantage of abbreviations (IDs) that will make the file name more concise. The result would look like: GLOBAL_P76328_INV_090125.PDF

Regardless of the method, it is important to always ensure that all the critical descriptors relating to your document are included in the structure and that you consistently adhere to it. Ultimately, your productivity and efficiency in retrieving and identifying documents is a function of how well you executed your own naming policy. If you were diligent you will be able to avoid having to open a slew of files to identify the desired document.

Information-rich structured file naming helps improve your efficiency immensely. You will no longer have a heavy reliance on complex multi-tiered hierarchical folder structures. Nevertheless we still recommend that you maintain a sub-folder for the primary filing entity (e.g. client, supplier, employee, project, etc...). Conversely, if you have dedicated sub-folders for each entity we also strongly recommend that you continue to include the name of the entity as a prefix in the structured file name. In other words, although you have a sub-folder dedicated for Global Lighting Company, the company name GLOBAL should still be present in the filename.

Here are a few reasons why:
• It minimizes search result ambiguity.
• Misfiled documents can still be located.
• Mobile documents can still be easily identified.
• Searching is more direct and precise.

A general purpose file name structure that could work in just about every situation is as follows: SUB-FOLDER NAME_REF ID LIST_REF-ID_DOC TYPE LIST_ DOC NAME_VERSION. EXTIn this structure SUB-FOLDER NAME is synonymous with Primary Entity Name (e.g. Supplier Name/ID). LIST implies that the entries are based on a finite predetermined list of possibilities. It is not a free text field.

To illustrate how this structure can be used, please refer to the following examples:GLOBAL_GENEXPENSE_P76328_INV_090125.PDF SMITH-J _SUNLIFE_367450_POLICY_EXP120215.PDFLAGOCONDOS_PPELEC_5786_SUBCON_H&L.DOC

How many segments and which segments you opt for is strictly your decision unless you need to work collaboratively as part of a business unit. In this latter case, consensus is required with coworkers or failure is likely.

Other reasons for potential failure in manual structured file naming could be:
• Segment order is unintentionally compromised.
• Inconsistencies in what is entered.
• Repetitive tedious keying of file name entries.

If you work alone and you could manage with a very simple file name structure, chances of success are good. If several coworkers are involved in the naming of shared documents, take a look at a semi-automated structured file naming tool to ensure integrity, policy adherence and overall success.

For more info visit http://www.exadox.com or refer to: eXadox White Paper: Semi-Automated Structured File Naming and Storage

Structured File Naming Strategy For Managing Scanned Images

Many organizations purchase document scanning devices as a first step initiative to convert their paper-based filing system into an electronic one. Their second step may involve the acquisition of a document management system but because of effort and cost implications there is a common tendency to try managing with the free organizer software that comes bundled with the scanner. An affordable and more effective alternative is to use structured file naming. When using this approach there is no need to input metadata for each document or have to rely on visual identification to locate a specific document. The file name is sufficient. Structured file naming can be done manually of course but for speed and precision, it is best to use a tool such as eXadox™ that enables semi-automated structured file naming and advanced search.

Structured File Name
A structured file name consists of multiple segments where each segment provides specific information about the document. The quantity and type of segments employed is dependant on the type of documents and the business activity.

A general purpose file name structure used within eXadox that can handle most requirements consists of the following segments: SUB-FOLDER NAME_REF ID LIST_REF-ID_DOC TYPE_DOC NAME_VERSION_[TRACKING]. EXT

The following are some examples showing how this structure can be used:GLOBAL_GENEXPENSE_P76328_INV_090125_[BOX4].PDF SMITH-J_SUNLIFE_367450_POLICY_EXP120215.PDFLAGOCONDOS_PPELEC_5786_SUBCON_H&L.DOC

In the examples above, each segment can convey different types of information based on need. The following provides some insight on how to exploit each segment in the structure:

SUB-FOLDER NAME is the primary entity (e.g.: clients, suppliers, employees, projects, etc...) for which/whom we are filing documents. A sub-folder should be created for each entity name. If the list is available from a CRM or business system, eXadox could auto-create all the sub-folders instantly. The sub-folder name can automatically be injected by eXadox as a prefix for easy document identification. This segment is especially important if the documents are mobile.

REF ID LIST is a list of possibilities that can logically categorize the primary entity or perhaps the type of department, employees may be divided based on work classification or perhaps department. An insurance brokerage firm may offer insurance protection by different companies based on the type of insurance required. The resulting list is used by eXadox to ensure consistency and to help auto-populate the segment.

REF-ID - is a free-text segment used to help identify a specific document or a group of related documents. For example in an accounts payable department this segment can be the supplier invoice number. A legal firm may use it to input a case number as a provision to enable the grouping of case specific documents.

DOC TYPE is a list of possible document types (e.g.: invoice, letter, contract, policy, accident report, etc.). Because this is a list, eXadox uses the entries in the list to auto-populate the segment as per user needs.

DOC NAME is a free-text segment used to provide specific information on the document content or purpose (e.g.: type of statement, invoice date, type or purpose of a report, etc...)

VERSION is a free-text segment that is used for version control. The entry gets auto-incremented when a document with identical name exists in the same folder.

[TRACKING] is a list driven segment that can be used to track the status of the document or where the physical document is located (e.g.: BOX 235, SHREDDER, PAID). eXadox uses the list to auto populate the segment and/or embed the tracking info into the PDF.

• Focus on the part of the business that is the most paper burdened and that could bring the most value.
• Start with current incoming documents immediately and work on old documents as time permits.
• Make a decision on whether you wish to save or destroy your physical documents. If you wish to maintain them you may pack them chronologically (based on scan date and time) in numbered banker boxes destined for storage.
• Use suitable structured file naming conventions for each business activity.
• Get consensus with coworkers on a suitable file name structure in collaborative work environments.
• To maintain policy adherence, accuracy and minimize keyboard input, consider semi-automated structured file naming.

For more info visit http://www.exadox.com or refer to: eXadox White Paper: Semi-Automated Structured File Naming and Storage.

Simple and Affordable Paperless Office Initiative

The much anticipated "paperless" office is still a "paperfull" office. There are two sources of paper in the office: the internal and the external source. We should be able to deal with the former but why the onslaught of inbound paper from external sources and what can we do?

Why so many paper documents?
• In spite of technological advances, wet signatures continue to be required on most official documents. Wet signature is synonymous with paper.
• Supporting documents or attachments (e.g. certificates, permits, and receipts) are generally on paper unless a scanned copy or PDF version exists.
• EDI has been around for over twenty-five years but it is quite expensive and has not had widespread adoption. As a result: invoices, shipping docs, POs and payments are still predominately paper-based.
• Banks, public agencies and utilities communicate using their de facto standard means: "paper".

The solution?
As a rule, we should make an effort to generate less paper; but we may have little or no control over paper documents from external sources (e.g. suppliers, clients and government). To minimize the negative impact of inbound paper documents, the solution is to digitize them ASAP. They may be scanned in the mail-room entry point, in the business unit or at the departmental level. Once scanned, they should immediately be indexed to facilitate search and retrieval. They will thereafter be transformed from a paper burden to a valuable digital document asset.

Some benefits:
• Improve business processes workflow.
• Increase productivity via document sharing.
• Eliminate filing and searching for paper documents.
• Protect important data through encryption.
• Ensure disaster recovery and business continuity.
• Adhere to regulatory compliance.• Save office space, reduce storage costs.

Many already benefitting
Most of the larger enterprises have been scanning and indexing there paper documents for years. They were early to recognize the benefits in productivity gains and reduced operating costs due to higher efficiency. They were able to realize a fast ROI thanks to shear volume in spite of high initial investment costs as early adopters.

SMEs should get started
Today, imaging solutions are within easy reach of the smaller businesses also. This is in large part due to substantial price reductions and vastly improved scanner hardware technology. Document management software is also more affordable because of competitive pressures although sometimes still unnecessarily complex. One must still be careful because there can be significant additional costs due to demanding infrastructure, installation, customization and training. These costs can present a source of business practice resistance due to a more significant investment and risk.

Seek an affordable and simple approach
The truth is that for most business operations there is no need for highly complex or sophisticated document imaging and management software. What most of the smaller firms or departments require is a convenient means of scanning their paper documents and an intuitive method to store and retrieve them. Digital document filing should be less complicated than paper filing! It just has to be extremely flexible, efficient and most importantly less error prone. No matter what the solution it is best to take advantage of packaged solutions that involve a fix cost that includes a scanner, software, installation, training and personalization.

A low cost effective alternative
Document indexing can be accomplished in several ways. Most conventional document management systems commonly require manual entry of metadata or keywords for each document. An innovative and simpler approach is to use structured file naming as a basis of document indexing. The concept involves structuring the filename into descriptive segments that provide all the information necessary to search, retrieve and identify the targeted document.

For more info visit http://www.exadox.com/ or refer to: eXadox White Paper: Semi-Automated Structured File Naming and Storage.