My average day is spent doing 3 things on the computer a) using the web (blogging, reading web sites, etc) b) using email and c) managing files (opening, saving, PDFing and etc). This last process, managing files, often entails using several programs (file compression, PDF, opening Word, Excel, etc), attaching files to emails and other chores that are all part file management on a computer system.
For one person, this is a pain, day in and day out.
What about a growing business? Law firm? Accounting firm? or any other paper intensive company? Managing digital files is even more of a challenge. It’s not a matter of individual user productivity anymore, but a matter of ensuring all your employees can find, manage and work on the proper files across a range of projects and clients.
There’s a few options.
You can purchase an expensive document management system. The draw back of these systems, other than the cost, is that saving the files and storing them in the system actually places the file in a special database. It’s not like using Windows Explorer but instead you are using a proprietary data storage database. So in some respects you are limited to what you can do with files in the database.
The other option is to bang your head against the wall as your secretary, assistant, managers and others go day to day, week to week trying their best to manage an ever growing pile of digital files (and paper ones too).
The solution I’ve been quite impressed with is Lucion’s FileCenter. Lucion also makes a tool, in partnership with Iron Mountain, so you can back your files, via the Internet, to an off-site location.
Below I’ll introduce you to FileCenter, which wraps around Windows Explorer to give your file management needs a boost of productivity.
Similar to Explorer’s “folder” and “sub-folder” interface, FileCenter lets you save folders in horizontal cabinets and vertical file drawers. The difference is that the interface is much more intuitive and easier to use than traditional Explorer. The FileCenter console has a built in “pre-view” windows, similar to what you’d see in popular email programs, a file folder view (traditional explorer window) which you can toggle off and on and more.
We all know Windows default search engine is miserable, that’s why local desktops from Yahoo, MSN and Google have been so popular. Of course X1 and other fee based technologies are also used by many. FileCenter also includes a powerful search tool. Each document saved is indexed and available for quick searching. You can use FileCenter’s search tool or use your own search engine, right within FileCenter.
FileCenter saves you a LOT of time by letting you send a document as a PDF or ZIP (compressed) file and automatically attach it to an email message – not just Microsoft Outlook, but Thunderbird too! If you have files that you want to send to someone encrypted, FileCenter can do that as well. If your day is like mine, a good portion of it is spent finding a file, converting it to some format and emailing it. FileCenter helps reduce this chore to a few simple mouse clicks.
How you name and save documents is just as important as being able to find it. FileCenter pays careful attention to how a document should be saved. You could use a template so that all documents are saved with similar formatting. Maybe you have various clients and each file related to that client should be saved with “client name – date – project – document symbol”. FileCenter can automatically suggest a document name to ensure file naming consistency across all your files. FileCenter also has templates to help you quickly create new folder names. Maybe you want a sub-folders all named with years 2000 – 2011. FileCenter can help you do this automatically. Not only does this save time, but it brings uniformity to your employee’s file management.
Scanning a document into FileCenter is simple, but VERY feature rich and powerful. FileCenter’s powerful batch scanning option lets you scan multiple pages at one time and automatically separate the various pages of the scanned batch and route them to their proper place within FileCenter. Using special separation paper with pre-coded instruction, you can have 10 sheets of paper and pages 1 – 3 could be for “client Jones – fire place project”, pages 4 – 8 could be “client jones – fire place project – invoice” and pages 9 – 10 could be “staff party invitation list”. Using the special page separators your scanning and filing time will be faster and automatic. Another example, maybe your secretary scans documents for 3 sales staff. Instead of the secretary scanning and manually filing the documents, she or he, could use FileCenter’s special scanning separator and automatically route the scanned documents to the right sales person’s folder on the server.
FileCenter is $70 and File Center Pro is $200.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by documents. Or maybe you want to see if you can be MORE efficient in how you are currently managing your files, Lucion’s FileCenter is a solution you should try out. It’s ideal for individuals who need more control over their files or a group of users who want to bring consistency and structure to their files. Don’t forget Lucion’s FileBackup solution too!