Information and Documents
The amount of information that an organisation has to deal with is increasing exponentially over the years.
Consider the following statistics:
- The internet is doubling every five years
- The world’s information is doubling very two years
- Several zettabytes (270 bytes ) of data is generated every year
- By 2020 the information generated in the world will be 50 times as of today
- The data generated in one-third of all organisations grew by 25% over the last year
- One out of ten companies now have data more than petabytes
- Companies like Facebook and Google store data in the range of 100 petabytes
Organisations also have to deal with increase in the information in their daily operations. With increase in computing power the information that needs to be processed is increasing exponentially.
The terms documents and information are often used interchangeably. It is necessary to distinguish between the two. All documents are information but all information are not documents. Information become documents when the users decide that the information needs to be stored for further use.
Uses of information as documents can be for the following purposes:
- Proof of transactions: You would want to store the document as proof of a transactions. For example Purchase Orders as proof of purchase, Invoices as proof of billing, Contracts as proof of business relationships, Appointment letters as proof of employment etc.
- Regulatory compliance: Regulatory authorities mandate that certain documents should be maintained as compliance requirements. For example Articles of association of an organisation, Tax related documents, Industry specific regulatory documents.
- Actionable information: Information that organisations require so that actions can be taken based on the information. For example Sales leads, Employee turnover, Machine breakdowns, Accounts receivables.
- Decision making: Organisations want to store historical information so that they can use it later for decision making. For example Market research data, Sales trends, Competition analysis.
Due to various channels available to users for receiving and disseminating information there are various types and formats in which information can be communicated.
- Face to face meetings
- Phone conversations
- Online chats
- Email messages
- Online meetings/conferences
- Social media posts
- Phone texts
- TV programs
- Radio programs
Whether the above information is treated as documents depends upon whether they are stored, recorded, classified and how they are processed by the organization. Any of the above information will become a document if it is stored for further use. A recording of a TV interview of the company’s chairman stored on a computer for future use in promotional activities, is an example of a document.
Some statistics related to documents:
- Over 20 billion original documents are created each year in India
- Around 15 percent of annual revenue is estimated to be the cost of documents for organisations
- The largest producer as well as consumer of documents in India is the Government
- 85 percent of documents are never retrieved
- 40 to 50 percent of documents are duplicates
- 60 percent of documents are obsolete
Documents have to be stored and maintained with due importance to aspects of retrieval, security, search, dissemination, versioning etc. . All these aspects are taken care of in a good Document Management System. Next article will highlight what features define a good Document Management System.