As a part of your document digitization strategy to make information more accessible, you have to determine which documents to digitize first.
That’s a big task seeing as you likely have thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of records at your organization.
There are a few questions you can ask yourself that help eliminate the stress of knowing where to start.
Let’s explore how you can identify your files from most critical to least so that you can begin to digitize documents.
1. Prioritizing documents: Where do you start?
The first question to ask is – why are we digitizing documents? What is your goal?
You should know the answer to this to avoid wasting time and money.
- Do you need to support your remote workforce?
- Are you undergoing acquisitions and need to consolidate information into the same system?
- Do you need better visibility into money you’re leaving on the table?
- Do you need quick access to documents for important business transactions?
- Are your customers or stakeholders receiving poor service because you’re unable to meet their needs fast enough?
There are so many reasons organizations need to first digitize to reach other significant milestones. Make sure you know what’s most important to your company right now.
2. Factors to consider when choosing documents for digitization
Next, determine how you’ll prioritize document digitization based on your goal. Here are some categories to consider:
- Document usage: How often is the document accessed or modified? Prioritize frequently used documents for immediate benefits.
- Critical information: High-priority documents like legal agreements, contracts, and financial records might need to be near the top of your list if they impact your ability to pay bills or receive payment.
- Storage and retrieval: How much physical storage space is required for the document? Digitizing large, bulky files can free up valuable office space.
- Compliance-related documents: If your organization is subject to industry regulations, digitizing these documents can streamline compliance processes.
- Collaboration needs: Will multiple team members need to access or collaborate on the document? Digital files facilitate seamless collaboration.
- Security and privacy: Are there any security or privacy concerns associated with the document? Digital documents offer advanced security features.
- Historical documents: Older, fragile documents may benefit from digitization to preserve their contents for future use.
There isn’t a right or wrong answer to your list of factors or what level of importance you place on them since every organization’s priorities will differ.
Tip: Make sure you’re including the critical department leaders in this conversation and any contributors who work with these documents daily. This will make the decision and approval process go much smoother.
3. Try using a decision matrix to make prioritization easier.
A tool you could use to help you decide where to start is by using a decision matrix. Here’s how that could look.
1. Create a table with rows representing each document or document category you’re considering for digitization. For this example, we’ll start with a single department, but you may have to determine document prioritization across multiple departments.
2. Add columns for essential factors in your decision-making process, such as frequency of use, importance, compliance requirements, storage space saved, and other relevant criteria.
3. Assign a weight to each factor based on its importance to your organization (for example, on a scale of 1-5).
4. Rate each document or category for each factor using a consistent scale (e.g., 1-10).
5. Multiply the rating for each factor by its assigned weight and sum up the weighted scores for each document or document category.
6. Compare the total scores across all documents or categories to prioritize which ones should be digitized first.
You can create this decision matrix using a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, making it easy to visualize and update as needed.
Start embracing a digital culture with a partner
Transitioning from paper to digital document management may feel overwhelming, but you can digitize all your documents with a strategic approach and a clear understanding of your organization’s needs.
If you need any help prioritizing your documents, give us a shout and we’ll be happy to help you plan.