File Management Systems

An expert guide on file tracking and management solutions

What are file management systems and why do you need one?

File management software systems, sometimes called file tracking software or file managers are how a business stores and organizes electronic documents or captured data from paper-based documents. 

Cloud-based file management replaces traditional filing cabinets and outdated digital repositories – giving organizations the ability to sort, access, collaborate and share from a single point of contact. Implementing file management capabilities wallows users to create, enter, change, query and produce reports one file at a time.  

How does a file management system work?

It’s easiest to think of file management software as the organizational component of your overall information management strategy. 
 
Though your computer operating system keeps data organized in a hierarchical file system (directories have files with subdirectories beneath them), your file management system allows you to organize how files and folders are named, how nested folders are arranged and how the files in the folders are handled by the user. This allows for easier search and discovery of files.

 

Benefits of a file management software solution

Most of the benefits you’ll enjoy from a file management system or file tracking software hinge on accessibility and organization. While this may seem straightforward, it leads to several wider benefits that:  

Save money on paper costs

Adopting new technology to document files digitally can save companies up to $40,000 per year (for companies earning between $500,000 and $1 million annually). Switching to electronically-managed file management decreases the costs that come with handling large amounts of paper documents (renting off-site storage locations, buying printer ink or more binders, etc.). 

Improve productivity

Employees spend around 20% of the business’ time searching for information. File management systems pull up files faster with comprehensive searches and increase accessibility to information regardless of an employee’s location.  

Increase user accountability

Document version control gives complete visibility of what has happened to a particular document. This means that you can always see who has changed a document and when they changed it – which makes managing people and workflows for authorized personnel more secure. 

Promote transparent file tracking for archival and deletion 

An efficient file management system will allow you to keep records of a file throughout its entire life cycle. This makes it easier to ensure you are compliant with all necessary regulations and simplifies complex auditing processes. 

 

The types of file management systems

There are three types of file management systems that can improve how your organization creates, modifies, accesses and shares documents. These are: 


Hierarchical File Management Systems

This involves the creation of a hierarchy of folders that are sorted according to descending significance – starting from general categories and branching down to subcategories.   

Relational File Management Systems

Relational file management arranges files according to connections between the data contained in each file, which results in a faster, more accessible method to locate information. 
 
Network File Management Systems

This is how files are grouped based on where they are located on the hard drive of a computer. 

 

Best strategies for file management

A well-organized file management system keeps data accessible and delivers information  to the employees that need it more quickly. Organizations that practice productive file management strategies are able to:  

  • Ensure consistency: Naming folders a combination of random letters and numbers will make file searches an unnecessary hassle. Standardize file names in a method that is easy to understand by users across teams and departments by including the version created, document type, project type or other consistent formats.  
  • Follow a hierarchy: Keep all documents and data of a single project under the same folder. For clearer organization, create subfolders under one ‘master folder’ so that users can locate specific information rather than sorting through longer, messier file lists. 
  • Prioritize backing up data: Data capture technology minimizes the risks that come with handling paper documents (external damages, losses, etc.) by capturing information electronically and storing it in your centralized storage system. Beyond that, investing in a cloud-based file management system will protect sensitive data from being lost due to computer crashes or man-made disasters. 

 

Deploying OnBase for efficient file management

OnBase is a single enterprise information platform for managing content, processes and cases with key capabilities such as: 

OnBase transforms organizations around the world by empowering them to become more agile, efficient and effective. 

When we talk about file management with OnBase, we often talk about how OnBase supports file tracking. OnBase allows you to store your electronic files on any network-discoverable file share from Windows or Linux file servers to purpose-built storage devices. As a result, you don’t need to purchase an expensive storage solution for your OnBase system. 

OnBase allows you to store an unlimited number of live, online copies for each file within the system. If you experience any hardware or network failures interrupting access to your main file servers, OnBase will instantly fail over to secondary copies to ensure there’s no business downtime.

Learn more about OnBase’s file storage and archive solutions