If you are writing a company policy, a business procedure, or a whole policy and procedure manual then you know that policies and procedures writing has its own requirements. Sharing, control, and reporting are three of the most important aspects of policy and procedure management.
Policy and Procedure Management
First there is sharing. After your policies and procedures are written, everyone will need an easy way to find and share your final policy and procedure documents. Will you need quick access from mobile devices? Then it will need to be on the Internet.
Next there is control. Version control for all document revisions includes having a easy workflow of reviewers and approvers to each revision. Special care is needed to ensure that only the current revision is in use by your staff.
If you are writing policy and procedure manuals for a compliance (ISO, JCAHO, SOX, ITIL, FDA) requirement, you will need a special type of revision control to ensure that all released documents have been reviewed and approved prior to release.
Do you have private documents? Then you will also need access control to make certain that only specific staff can access certain documents.
Procedure Management Reports
And then there is reporting. Management will need to know what document versions are released, who has read them, and what the status of all document changes is. Do you need to review your policy and procedure documents annually? Then you will need reminders too.
It is all about how you are managing your policies and procedures documents. File servers serve documents, but they have limited document control features. Manual, paper-based policy and procedure management systems have been used for years but they are cumbersome, slow, and not very reliable. As a result, a new class of document management software evolved to become what is now called policy and procedure management software.
Policies and procedures management software is all about sharing, control, and reporting. Employees need to use your policies and procedures. You need document control for compliance and effectiveness. As management or as an auditor you will want to see evidence of both.
Procedure Management Workflow
The big difference between document management and policy and procedure management software is in the workflow. Document versions can be easily logged and managed in a database — document workflow requires business logic (a set of rules) to move the document along, with specific workflow state endorsements, or approvals. An example of workflow state is in WordPress: this blog post existed first as a “draft”, then moved to “pending” (where an editor was notified that it was ready for review), and finally it was “published?”.
In a policy and procedure management system, emails may be sent, the document may be transformed from Word to PDF format on release, and point of use distribution lists may be maintained with “required reading” logging.
What to Look for in Policy and Procedure Management Software
If your primary need is to share your documents with your employees (and you want to save a lot of money), then new cloud-based SaaS policy and procedure software is right for you. Cloud solutions bring the solution cost way down by sharing a central server, sharing a single software code base, and sharing the software maintenance costs. Shared solutions mean there are no IT department costs, no upfront software fees, and expansion costs are easily calculated on a per person basis, which makes budgeting for the future a lot easier.
Let’s face it, nobody wants to pay for the cost of maintaining policies and procedures. So the next best thing is to pay less than your paper-based system or simple file server. Policy and procedure management software is the least expensive way to manage your policies and procedures.
Still have questions about policy and procedure management software? Then request a free trial of the new OnPolicy document version control software for policy and procedure management from Bizmanualz.