Marie Kondo has hit the nail on the head: an organised life is better and healthier than total chaos. This applies not only to your life at home, but also to your work environment. Having a highly organised space will improve your productivity and reduce wasted time, and having a proper strategy for tidying up your digital space will make every work process exponentially better.
In order to develop and implement such a strategy, it is particularly important to have a positive and proactive attitude towards digital possibilities. In technology-driven companies, the instinctive ‘digital-first’ mindset is evident in the way people across the company tend to explore digital solutions before manual ones, use digital tools to seek expertise, opportunities to utilise the benefits of technology and approach data in a systematic way. They understand the opportunities and risks of using these solutions, and often find creative solutions.
These technologies can be of great help in organising both content and data to streamline all processes. We have all had the bitter experience of rummaging through vast cupboards in search of a contract or scrolling through endless lists of files on our hard drive to find a particular document. These useless searches are a huge waste of time, not to mention the stress of being in this situation. It is common for corporate legal departments and law firms to have to deal with the voracious amount of data throughout the process, resulting in unstructured data. As the amount of data increases, sorting and processing this information becomes devastating.
Having a document management system in the form of a cloud repository is crucial to avoid such problems. Such a system can have search capabilities across all company documents so that they can be found quickly, and could even have alerts for contracts so that expiry, renewal or cancellation deadlines are never missed. While dealing with cases of varying priority, essential information needs to be readily available. Information on cases from legal departments and external service providers should be in a single place that is easily accessible to all those responsible for case management.
There are several software solutions available on the market for this problem, and the most popular today is cloud storage. Businesses store their valuable data with concerns about security or loss, but automatic backup created in the cloud avoids these problems. However, it is not enough to store content haphazardly; it must be properly organised so as not to create digital clutter. In order to do so, it is recommended to follow a strategy:
- Commit to the process and imagine what your workflow will look like once it’s done: you know it’s going to be hard, tidying up is always a mess. Digital clutter can be detrimental to your business and to the mental health of your team, so you should tackle it once and for all.
- Start with a clean-up: set aside some time to go through every document and file you have. There is likely to be a lot of obsolete data or outdated information that you can get rid of. Cleaning will reduce the amount of paperwork and make it easier to organise.
- Make sure your team is ready: for digital transformation to be successful, you need a digital-ready workforce, made up of engaged and autonomous workers who can take on the challenges of automation and cloud storage. Your team’s digital prowess is imperative to adapt quickly to technology-driven windows of customer-facing opportunities, as well as to respond quickly to individual customer needs and preferences.
- Create and configure the structure of your new order: before putting everything back in its place, take some time to think about how you want things to be organised and arranged. There are many great strategies, but you have to figure out what works for you and your team. Whether you want to sort by category, date, alphabetical order or keyword, make sure it is intuitive enough for everyone to agree. In addition, prepare your online storage system to be compatible with your structure.
- Once the system is in place, put everything in place: remember, keeping everything in order once you have good pillars in place is much easier than starting from scratch every time disorganisation takes over. Take good care of your documents and you will see the results.
Technology puts a lot of information into our lives, and that same technology can give us the tools to make our lives much easier. Once your company demonstrates a high organisational capacity to use tools and data to dynamically deploy human and capital resources at the same speed as technology and market conditions change, your productivity and efficiency will soar.
A further step is to integrate operations data so that employees can actively monitor, measure and improve operations. This digitised operations data, if stored and analysed correctly, can help you make decisions, guide actions and learn important lessons about the future of your business. To make the most of digitalisation, companies need to use the data they accumulate in systematic analyses to make important strategic decisions, as well as to monitor and refine internal processes. One way to do this is to practice collaborative learning – sharing information easily across locations, disciplines and status boundaries to solve problems – to make effective decisions in domains where data is still lacking.
Lawyers, legal teams and other professionals need to understand that they must move away from traditional and outdated ways of working to the latest technology. Running an organisation in the digital age requires a digital mindset. But on the road to success, being digitally minded will not be efficient as long as your organisation and your staff are not trained and willing to participate in innovative initiatives. So educate yourself and your team on the best solutions and make the most of technology.
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