Document-Genetics-Globe

 infoRouter Document Management System Best Practices

7th March 2016

“How can I use infoRouter the most efficient way?” Read on to learn more about how to tackle some basic tasks efficiently.

More information can be found on the infoRouter EDMS - Online Help System

Don’t forget – your specific setup may require some slight variations from what’s recommended here. That being said, here are our best time-tested document management system best practices to follow:

Document Size:
Documents above a certain size should not be stored in document management systems. DVDs, ISO files, and database files such as MDBs are not good candidates for storing in infoRouter.

Document management systems are generally used for documents and files that require user collaboration, and documents that are subject to version control. These types of documents are generally no larger than 30 MB. Accessing larger files using the HTTP protocol is not practical. They are best kept on the file system.

Meta Data:
With a document management system you can find and retrieve documents quickly. That’s the real power of a DMS. Proper categorization, indexing and Meta Data are critical in quickly finding the correct documents and retrieving them.

We highly recommend you use infoRouter’s Custom Properties feature since it provides a very efficient mechanism to search for and find your documents.

Document Expiration:
Getting rid of obsolete documents is also a critical factor. Any document management system worth its salt must support document expiration and help users spot obsolete documents.

The real issue with obsolete documents is not the space they occupy on disk. Disk space is cheap and a few extra documents are not worth losing sleep over.
The real problem is that, over time, the number of documents that should be purged increase and what appears to be small problem compounds into a set of bigger problems:

  • Staff members start to use obsolete documents while making critical business decisions
  • Backups take an increasing amount of time.
  • Users refer to the outdated information when documents with fresh information may exist.
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Accounting
  • Corporate Collateral
  • Human Resources
  • Information Services
  • Customer Service
  • Help Desk

Document Naming:
Document naming has long been a problem.
Good document management systems allow you to name documents anything because retrieval is usually done through searching by Meta data or full-text indexing.
Users can get very creative in naming documents and think that they are using very descriptive names:

Examples:
Widgets-Summary-Jan2016.docx
then comes
Widgets-Summary-Jan2016-final.docx

How do we know if a document by the name of
Widgets-Summary-July2015-final-final.docx
does not exist?

This would create uncertainty about the status of the document – “how “final” is it? – and thus lead to hesitation and delay in decision making.

What about Widgets-Summary-July2015-latest.docx?

Again, since “latest” could be any time in the past, this would also hold decision makers back from making reliable and quick decisions about what to do next with this file. infoRouter makes it unnecessary to include dates, version numbers and other indicators such as “final” or “latest” in document names.

Clicking on a document will always result in displaying the intended version (usually the latest version) of a document. In some cases, you may configure the document to display an “approved version” rather than the latest version because the latest version might be in a “work in progress” state.

Folders:

Naming:
Folder naming can become equally problematic; especially the ones that are created with very long names in an effort to be descriptive.

Examples:

Widget-Sales-in-the-first-half-of-second-quarter-2015

A file name like this becomes an issue as soon as you start creating sub-folders with equally well-intentioned but ridiculously long names.

Tip:
Did you know that Windows file system has a total path length limit of 255-260 characters?
You can actually create a folder, add a few sub-folders and within the sub-folder, create a document that has such an unusually long file name and that you would not be able to access it.

Even though infoRouter document management system does not pose such limitations, this can still be an issue if you wish to export he entire folder with its sub-folders and documents.

Examples of properly created folder structures:

Sales
2014
Q1
Widgets
Gadgets
Q2
Q3
Q4
2015
Q1
Q2
Q3
Q4

This structure will allow you to go much deeper but still be very descriptive.

Folder Depth:
Folder depth should be limited to five or six levels. Although infoRouter has no set limit on folder depth, making folders deeper than six levels can cause serious issues when exporting documents and folders to the file system.
As previously mentioned in the folder naming section, deep folder structures are far more likely to run into long paths, which in turn can cause issues in retrieval and export.

Number of documents in folders:
Although infoRouter has no set limit on the number of documents that can be stored in folders, we strongly advise you not to keep more than 500 documents in a folder.

Having more than 500 documents can cause navigational issues from a user experience perspective.
Try to break up the folder structure into logical sub-folder groups to make the navigation within the folders as intuitive as possible.

Configuration management:
You can easily set folder rules with infoRouter Smart Folders.
Setting rules is a powerful way to manage the configuration of folders.
Folder owners who wish to preserve the folder structure (sub-folders) may also wish to allow other users unrestricted access to the documents within their folders by giving them “Full Control” rights.
Because users with “full control” also have the ability to create and delete sub-folders, this may create a problem.
By setting folder rules (which override security), you disallow creation of new folders and deletion of existing ones. In this way you can maintain your existing folder structure.

Document Libraries:

Document Libraries are isolated environments that are self-contained for a specific set of users and their documents.
A typical infoRouter instance should have at least 5-6 document libraries but no more than 50.
This is not an infoRouter limitation; it is merely a recommended number for optimal user experience.

If you have a small number of users managing a relatively small number of documents, you can use infoRouter effectively with just two or three libraries. Having a large number of libraries can on the other hand create unnecessary administrative headaches.

Do not create a single document library and expect to manage all your documents effectively. It’s good practice to create a separate document library for each of your departments, including:

Depending on your business model, you can have a different arrangement of document libraries, such as the following:

Accounting (document library)
Accounts Payable (sub-folder)
Accounts Receivable (sub-folder)
General Ledger (sub-folder)
Or:

Accounting (document library)
Accounts Payable (document library)
Accounts Receivable (document library)
General Ledger (document library)

Your business needs and organizational structure should dictate how you create your document libraries.

Using Anonymous Libraries:
Anonymous libraries are available to any user who navigates to infoRouter. You don’t have to have an infoRouter account to access anonymous libraries. This makes infoRouter anonymous document libraries a perfect environment to share company-wide public information.

Examples:

Memos
Announcements
Company or Organizational Collateral
Logos
Brochures
Company Directory

There is no limit to the number of users who can access anonymous libraries. Please keep in mind that only members of the anonymous library with a valid user account can create folders and documents in anonymous libraries.

A Word of caution for internet-facing infoRouter instances:

If your instance of infoRouter is internet-facing, the use of anonymous libraries is strongly discouraged. What is considered “public” information within the company is most likely not “public” for individuals not working for the organization.

Security:
Security and access permissions to documents can play a critical role in the effectiveness a document management system. The trick is to find the right balance between tight restrictions and unrestricted access.

We recommend you use Global and Local User Groups as much as possible and refrain from assigning rights to individuals where possible. This is the most efficient and effective way to manage infoRouter Security.

Always think twice before assigning anyone “Full Control” rights and never assign it to individuals or groups at the document library level.

User accounts should never be shared since this makes audit tracking impossible.

Roles:
Use the following built-in system user groups (also called “roles”) to delegate SYSADMIN responsibilities:
• Library Managers
• Search & Category Administrators
• Portal Administrators
• User Managers (System User Group)
• Audit Managers (System User Group)
• Policy Managers (System User Group)

Users who belong to these user groups can perform the series of functions that each of these user groups are designed to allow, such as creating users, defining document library policies etc. All of these functions are administrative functions that are by default performed by the infoRouter system administrator (sysadmin).

Much more information can be found on the infoRouter EDMS - Online Help System