Jesse Wood is the CEO of eFileCabinet, a software vendor providing document management through cloud-based services. The company has a deep background in providing document management services to regulation-heavy industries like accounting, government, healthcare, finance and insurance. It also has a history of moving essential documents online, keeping documents secure, meeting compliance requirements and maintaining secure and regulated information management with remote customers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these qualities become even more important to businesses trying to accommodate a new remote document management plan.
Wood recently shared his company’s expertise in managing remote workers and maintaining an effective remote document management plan that works for everyone.
Editor's note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
What technical and workflow challenges does remote work present to any document management plan?
Since nearly everything we do is based in the cloud, there really aren’t any big technical challenges to deal with. One of the challenges we do face is the lack of direct IT support – we can’t just walk over to the IT team and ask them to fix an issue. Our IT team can help to solve issues from their homes, but they’re also multi-tasking like never before.
How can IT departments ensure that work can continue “as usual” when “as usual” now means “remotely, with different people having different setups?”
Open communication is key. I’m happy to see that my teams have actually been communicating more than ever. We’re rarely without our phones, so if an employee needs to do something away from their desk, we can still reach them through apps like Slack. Our IT team is able to resolve most issues from their setups at home.
I’m also a big fan of video conferencing – our teams are doing it at least once a day. I always encourage them to turn their cameras on so we can see each other. There’s an aspect of communication that you can’t really convey with audio only.
One of the challenges in a document management plan is that different departments have different needs and produce different document outputs. Accommodating this would seem to be a challenge in a remote-working environment. How is that happening?
It’s all about how your admins organize the system. A company can have one account with multiple departments all using it, but the HR rep is going to see a completely different document management system than the IT manager. Being diligent with role-based permissions allows admins to ensure that HR can only see HR’s files and not IT’s data, and vice versa.
What is your idea of an optimal process in moving information and document management to an online-first model?
There’s no one-size-fits-all process for a business to move their documents online and be considered a “paperless” business. The optimal thing to do is to plot out a roadmap for your business’s move to the cloud, and not dive in head-first. This includes timelines, training, etc. Without envisioning how your document management system will be organized and how your business will use it, it could end being more unorganized and confusing for people to use.
What regulatory issues does IT need to be aware of when selecting a document management system?
In any business, record compliance is essential. There are a whole different set of rules when it comes to storing digital documents, as opposed to physical ones. So whatever government or industry standards your company needs to adhere to, you need to know the rules for both digital and physical compliance.
The most common aspect of compliance we usually deal with is retention. You need to make sure you’re using a system that can make data “write-once” and “read-many,” meaning that a file is locked down for a period of time and can be accessible, but not altered. It’s also good to have a system that keeps track of a certain form’s retention requirements, so that as soon as it hits the expiration date then it is automatically purged from the system.