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Tidy Your ECM System

cluttered file system

Save space and money by tidying your electronic documents.

If you’ve ever had to find something in a cluttered room or car, you know navigating through the nonsense can be quite a chore. Looking through your electronic content or document management system for files amidst digital clutter can feel the same way. Unnecessary clutter can also slow down your electronic content management (ECM) system. Let’s look at how to clean up your document management system. 

1. Delete Duplicate Records

Back in the days of video cassettes and DVDs, if you had multiple televisions in your home, each location may have had its place for videos and discs. Have you ever had multiple copies of the same movie in different areas of your house? This sounds pretty silly, though this is the equivalent of many of our electronic content management systems. When you have many users for one system, each user likely has their favorite place to keep identical files. Even though this sounds handy, having duplicate copies of the same data can take up space and also slow down your system. Deleting duplicate files is the equivalent of getting rid of that extra copy of Speed 2 you were keeping in the guest bedroom. 

2. Clean Up/ Reorganize Legal Documents

There are some documents that, no matter how irrelevant they seem, you can’t legally cleanout until a specific date. Contracts, tax information, and the like may have restrictions on when they can be destroyed and how. These regulations can make us cautious of going near these files. However, once you build up the gumption to take a look at these files’ data retention guidelines, you may find that many of these legal files could have been deleted years, if not decades ago. If there’s no sense in holding onto this data, feel free to let it go…once you have confirmed that it is genuinely no longer necessary to keep.

3. Delete Outdated Files

A good company keeps thorough records of almost every customer or client interaction they have. While many of these are necessary to maintain, if they haven’t been accessed in your document management system in quite some time, they may just be taking up space and slowing down your system. Consider running an audit to find files that have not been accessed in a certain number of years. Once you locate these outdated files, consider deleting them or at the very least moving them in a more appropriate archive. 

4. Establish a Tagging System to Identify Unnecessary Data

When clearing out space in your electronic content management system, it may be challenging to determine if certain data is necessary to keep. One helpful tool for future data audits can be notes or tagging system. Depending on your company, this system should allow users to tag documents under specific categories and/or attach individual notes. These notes and tags can help auditors determine whether the documents are necessary to keep, archive, or discard altogether. 


Like decluttering any space, maintaining a tidy document management system means regular maintenance. Instead of letting your digital and physical filing system become unruly over time, investing in an ECM system with established organizational protocols can end up saving your organization time and money.

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