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Building a Cloud based Document Control System

This is one of a series of articles on the subject of managing records and documents, in a cloud environment. Our approach at QualityHelp will be to provide a practical, progressive and interactive format to the articles, blog discussions and our evolving Document Control framework.

You can get involved by reviewing  the structure of the Control Records, Master Catalogue, Team Indexes and Document templates as we develop the framework and components. Then provide feedback and input - suggestions and constructive comments.

Participate in our site's Continuous Improvement objectives and become a contributor to the evolving design.

From our own Quality perspective, a Cloud based Document Control system needs to meet the following objectives:

  1. Documents and records should include all computer based company objects that are either essential or of value to the company, staff and clients.
  2. All documents and records should be tracked and managed in a consistent, standardise method that conforms to at least the company policies and standards on Quality Management.
  3. The current production edition (or version) of all documents should be accessibe on demand, to all entitled and authorised staff and clients.
  4. The Document and record catalogues provide practical, innovative and timely ways to locate required document objects.

We believe that the best starting point for controlling any electronic document is with a document container record.  So before we even design the catalogue, we define a baseline container record for all documents in our system.

What we need is a template for the container record, which Drupal allows us to do by customizing a new Content type (which we called Record). We then agree on the record fields and format, but we need also have the flexibility to continually review and improve the container record  template to match the level of required management as well as comform to our Quality Management system. This may be modelled on various, and even overlapping QMS methodologies, eg. ISO 9001 and any number of Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) standards and quality systems.

There are a number of benefits to using a container record (based on one universal format):

  • The record can be modified and expanded to meet changing control requirements.
  • The format and type of the controlled documents or records can be modified with only minor updates to the control record.
  • Drupal taxonomy terms can be used to control field values, such as TYPES, AUTHORS, CLIENTS, TEAMS, OWNERS, AUTHORS/ ASSIGNEES
  • Tags can be added to build additional Document ndex views.
  • The Control Records are "Owned" and managed by the Team / Department managers, and do not require programming specialists to maintain.

Now comes the fun part - Designing and Building the Catalogue, starting with the Master Catalogue.  The beauty of using container records, which are basically customised web CMS pages, is that the Catalogue structure can be designed, built, redesigned and modified in a scalable way to manage virtually any number of computerised documents and records.

The Drupal View and Quicktab modules provide one means of constructing the catalogue indexes.  These can be combined with some well chosen tags to provide an elegant approach to alternative document lists, wth inbuilt tools to sort and scope searches.

View Kenneth Darwin's LinkedIn profileView Kendar's profile

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