Key Person Risk – it’s real

When discussing risk both people and organisations immediately think of financial risk. Seldom are people considered a risk however the knowledge and information key people possess and access on a daily basis is just as important for the ongoing survival of any organisation.

Key people within an organisation act as a reference point for others – their knowledge of procedures as well as their ability to find and share information quickly is a very real asset. But what happens when they go on holidays, retire or simply move onto another organisation? How do you ensure you retain and are still able to find this information? This is where a document management system can help.

The power of metadata

An effective document management system can potentially offer many benefits that will not only improve your ability to find documents but facilitate collaboration within an organisation. Employees benefit by the introduction of file saving standards, keyword search facilities (through the use of metadata) and a central repository for all documents removing the need for long complicated directories that over time, become cumbersome to search.

Employees can spend a significant amount of time looking for data within their own organisation. This reduces their ability to complete their tasks efficiently resulting in frustration and in some instances, duplicated effort. In addition to key person risk common document problems within an organisation range from lack of file saving and naming standards, stagnant processes that prevent or limit efficiency gains (doing something the same way because that’s how it’s always been done) and the risk of personal files being saved on personal drives. The inability to quickly locate information can result in anything from a mere inconvenience to significant embarrassment depending on the nature of the information lost.

Mapping and managing

The way information is maintained by organisations has evolved significantly, moving from paper based filing cabinets to network file sharing and now to the implementation of document management systems. This represents a significant shift which, if managed well, can lead to a wealth of benefits for both employees and the organisation as a whole.

Features such as versioning and history tracking allow users to easily access a document’s history and changes within a single document without the need to store multiple versions of the same file. This leads to both efficiencies at the point of collaboration and in terms of physical file storage.

Additional benefits offered by a document management system include the mapping of processes for document approval, application of security to sensitive/confidential documents, the potential to allow remote access to documents and the potential use of the cloud to store information (subject to data security requirements).

The initial short term investment in an effective document management system will secure your organisation’s intellectual property despite staffing changes as well as provide long term benefits to employees as well your organisation. The result will be evident through the efficiencies that will improve the way you operate internally and in turn with your clients if the move to a new system is managed correctly.


Lilian Wade

Senior Consultant

Lilian is a Senior Consultant with IQ Group and has extensive experience in delivering a broad range of end-to-end projects, with experience in requirements management, software testing and test team management.