The IT Support person, Julie, just installed a new software package on my workstation. He called it an Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) and that it will help me control my documents by providing a way to file them on a network server so they do not get lost like paper ones. Just great another piece of software to learn and forget as management will probably change it two months when they discover it doesn’t work.
I thought that I would need the next week to learn how to use it and even then I would probably need help to use it efficiently. Julie said that all I would need was a couple of hours of training in how to access the system called FileHold and setup a filing system for my personal use as a corporate system was already in place. Two hours – it took me that long to figure out my new espresso maker.
Julie clicked an icon and FileHold was running – it looked like the listing of directories that I see in “My Computer” in Windows. Even better, she said that I didn’t have to learn a new password to access it. The directory list is called a Library Tree that shows what looks like file cabinets with different drawers for different types of files. For example, the cabinet labelled contracts had drawers that included pending, active and expired. That was easy for me to understand.
We use Microsoft Office so I asked Julie how do I store a pending contract that I was working on. She said the software had a very tight integration with Office and that I could save the document directly to it. She showed me a screen that allowed me to select where to store and even allowed me to delete the copy on my workstation so that I always knew which copy I was working on.
Julie then told me about something called Meta Data, another fancy term for pieces of information about the file such as name, owner, date, contract client and due date. Using part of this data allows me to search the entire library in case I stored the file in the wrong place. Using the MS-SQL database engine provides results in a matter of seconds rather than the laborious Windows search. Good platforms facilitate such software usage by larger communities.
So far, so good. I said what if I wanted someone else to review the file and make changes – easy was the reply. I could send them a message to do so, and when they did the software would say the file was checked out and no one else could make changes until it was checked back in. There is a feature called Workflow which I could use if multiple people needed to review the contract and which would allow my senior manager to approve it or not.
Julie said that she would be back tomorrow to provide the next hour of training – I had learned all that and could basic tasks in just the first hour. I am looking forward to seeing her as this system is a keeper.