Poor Business Information Management – What Is It Costing Your Business?

Poor business information management can have a huge impact on a company’s bottom line. Getting a grip on the issues relating to data and records storage, retrieval and sharing will help save money as well as stress your workers out less.

“Many companies lose money because of the mismanagement of their documents,” says Audrey Sharpe, president at Office Outsource in San Diego.” A lot of key information is often lost in piles of papers that are never put into computer systems or not easily accessible when needed.”

This can lead to greater costs associated with additional employee hours spent searching for the correct file, among other problems. Furthermore, poor information management may lead to mistakes being made which may require more time spent redoing projects.   This can hurt a company’s image and may cause some clients to go elsewhere.

“It is important that companies pay attention to the systems they use,” says Gail Saliterman, co-founder at Virtual Management Group in New York, which specializes in helping companies create new businesses and practices within their organizations. “If one person makes a mistake, it reflects on or costs the whole company.”

Some of the key issues regarding information management practices include insufficient filing; poor record-holding; loss of documents; poorly maintained records; poor record retrieval; and inadequate storage space for paper files. Here are some suggestions for managing your information more effectively:

* Know what you have – keep track of all documents generated in your organization from the very beginning. Make sure you create forms to standardize the collection of data and specify how it should be filed so that you can easily find it when needed.

* Use an offsite record storage facility – one of the most common problems with paper-based records is that they are often stored in closets or some other space that is not controlled by your organization. Maintain electronic records on your own server if possible, but also use a secure online backup system to store key documents. This will ensure that you have access to them even if there is some kind of disaster at your office.

* Be organized – organize all filing cabinets according to clearly identified standards; make sure employees know what method their files should follow; and provide standardized section names and labels. Make sure there is a system for you to easily find old files that are kept on your computer which you know you or someone else has worked on recently.

* Use the cloud – get into the habit of emailing documents instead of filing them, so that they can be accessed anywhere by your entire team. This makes it much easier to share files with clients and other outside stakeholders in your organization, while still maintaining control over security issues.

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The difference between good business information management and poor business information management is the level of employees’ stress levels. Employees who are stressed out because they can’t find things tend to not be very happy about their jobs, which can result in lower morale, higher turnover rates, decreased efficiency and less productivity for the company. Furthermore, Sharpe says that these feelings may carry over to customers as well: “People who feel unorganized often project this disorganization onto their customers,” she adds. “A disorganized office lowers customer service.”

These things add up and affect a company’s bottom line – for better or worse. Companies need to consider how organized their records are kept and how efficiently their employees can them when needed.

Poor business information management can have a huge impact on a company’s bottom line. Getting a grip on the issues relating to data and records storage, retrieval and sharing will help save money as well as stress your workers out less. “Many companies lose money because of the mismanagement of their documents,” says Audrey Sharpe,…

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