Any workplace will know the confusion of having multiple versions of different documents. If these documents are not managed correctly, they can easily become muddled or misplaced, increasing the chances of mistakes and errors being made. Poor management of document versions could decrease workplace productivity and lower the overall efficiency of your document management system. If you have been struggling to get your document versions inline, this article will guide you through how to manage document versions and the ins and outs of document version control.
What is document version control?
Put simply, good practice version control is the process by which different versions of a document are managed and stored. Version control uses tools that track a series of documents, from drafts to the final version, and provides an audit trail for document revisions and updates.
Document version control is the go-to method for managing document versions. With remote working and paperless offices on the rise, various versions of documents will be shared across your team every single day. Employees will regularly make updates to documents and save them under a new file name, resulting in multiple versions of the same document appearing in a folder. For teams that must share these documents, it can be tricky to judge which version of the document is final and which versions can be ignored. Document version management is a way of organising various versions of a document so that team collaboration can be improved.
What are the benefits of managing document versions
Implementing a document version management strategy into your business has the potential to make huge improvements to workplace productivity and efficiency. Version control enables your team to make better judgements about the documents that they are handling and to find the exact version that they are looking for. The benefits offered by document version management help towards a more streamlined document management system.
Retain all document versions
Document version management allows your business to retain every version of a document that has been created throughout a workflow. This makes it easy to check the differences between versions and to ensure that all changes are appropriate. Version history also makes it possible to review your team's work so that you can make recommendations for how to optimise future projects.
Secure handling and editing
All teams will know the frustration of important documents being overwritten by someone without permission or documents getting accidentally deleted from the system. This leaves your team frantically tracing through emails to find a copy of the file so that it can be restored. With a version control system in place, files will be automatically retained at every stage so that a backup copy is always available.
A centralised space
If you and your team are all working from different locations, the constant sharing of updated documents and files can become a little confusing to navigate. Version control systems offer a solution to this by creating one central location for every version of the document to be stored. All members of your team will have access to the source, which will include all documents that you have been working on.
The main reason that businesses choose to use document version control is to automate the business process to make document management easier to navigate and less time-consuming. Document version control helps to streamline your business at every stage of the process and will save you time by taking over tasks that were once completed manually.
How to manage document versions
There are multiple ways in which version control could be applied to your documents. The method that you choose will depend on the type of documents that you are handling, the importance of those documents and the number of contributors that the document will have.
File naming conventions
This method of managing document versions can be done manually, without the need to invest in specialised document version management software. Using file naming conventions to manage document versions is the process of simply organising the way that files are named so that team members can quickly identify the version and status of the document.
Implementing version control software
While simply naming your files in an organised way may be effective for smaller teams or for documents that are rarely updated, it can quickly become confusing for projects on which multiple changes are made by different team members each day. You could end up with hundreds of files and the names could easily become mixed up or confused. In this case, it may be better to invest in a Document Management System (DMS) that includes version control software.
Version control software will automate the management of document versions with a streamlined process. This will make it easier than ever for your team to keep track of different document versions and will minimise time spent organising various files. There are two types of version control systems that you could apply to your document management.
Centralised version control
As the name suggests, centralised control creates one central source in which all working copies of a document are stored. In this system, all members of the team will have access to the centralised source and any updates or changes that they make to documents will automatically be saved into the source for others to view.
Distributed version control
Distributed version control systems require more interaction from team members than centralised control. In this system, other members of the team cannot access your edited documents until you actively push your changes to the central source. In a decentralised version control system, each team member is given their own storage source for which they must choose which documents to retain.
How can Draycir help?
Our Spindle Document Management system is an excellent way to optimise the management and storage of your documents and each of their versions. If you would like to speak to one of our experts about how our solution could help to streamline your business, get in touch with us today!