Best File Management Practices for Technology Integrators

technology sales
July 6, 2016

messy_file_stack-310x204.jpgTechnology integrators tend to work on large projects that involve a team of people and LOTS of different files that feed into the project.  A typical project might utilize…

  • Excel files to help calculate all of the elements required for the turnkey solution, including pricing.
  • Word files for the proposals, scopes of work, contracts and other documents that are generated.
  • Visio drawings of the proposed solutions.
  • PowerPoint files used to present an overview of the solution to the customer or prospect.
  • PDF files generated from Word or Excel that are sent to customers and prospects.

CorsPro serves the technology integrator industry and provides a software solution (called SalesDoc Architect) that generates quotes, proposals, scopes of work and other outputs that are generated as Excel, Word and PDF files.  Organizing and managing project files can be a real challenge for a technology integrator.  Based on our work with numerous clients over the years, we’ve gathered our top four “best practices” approaches to file management that will make the process more effective and efficient for you.

Discover Four Best Practices of File Management

  • Centrally store your project files. Because projects generally are collaborative and involve several team members, it’s important to set up the folder structure in a shared location that can be accessed by multiple people, rather than on an individual’s hard drive.  These days, there are numerous ways to do that, including…
    • Saving directly to the shared network location, although this is “manual” and requires that the user is online with the shared location.
    • Syncing applications like Windows Sync or Microsoft OneDrive that set up a “network folder” on each user’s hard drive that is then synced to the shared location.
    • Copy applications like Second Copy that copy local folders to shared folder locations when the user is “online” with the shared folder location.
    • Cloud-based “network drive” services such as DriveHQ that enable users to save files to a mapped drive without requiring them to be on the corporate network.  The cloud-based drive can be used in conjunction with an automated copy application (like Second Copy) or an application that auto-pushes local files to the cloud drive.
    • File sharing applications like Microsoft SharePoint.
  • Create an organized folder structure. The folder structure for project files should be logical and easy to navigate.  We suggest CUSTOMER NAME at the top level, and PROJECT NAME, PROJECT ID or OPPORTUNITY ID (from your CRM system) at the next level.  The Customer Name should be the “short” version of the customer’s name (“Acme” instead of “Acme Corporation”) and you should have some means (and a tracking system) for ensuring consistency in how customers are named so that you don’t have multiple folders for the same company.  If your company needs to restrict folder access by user, you might consider inserting USERNAME a level above CUSTOMER NAME in your folder structure.   A sample folder on a shared S: drive might be S:JoeSmithAcmeID1465.
  • Use file naming conventions. As with the folder naming structure, we recommend inserting the “short” version of the CUSTOMER NAME as part of the file name, followed by PROJECT NAME, PROJECT ID or OPPORTUNITY ID , then SITE NAME (if you create multi-site solutions), then FILE TYPE (“Quote”, “Proposal”, etc.) and finally VERSION NUMBER.  A sample file name might be Acme-ID1465-Boston-Quote-V1.xlsx.
  • Back up your project files. If your folder structure is created in a shared location, most likely that location is being backed up on a daily basis, if not more frequently.  If you are saving project files to local hard drives, it’s imperative that you set up automated backup software that backs up project (and other) files to another location.  Either way, we recommend using backup software like Second Copy that runs several times per day – and incrementally backs up new and changed files – so that you lose no more than a couple of hours of work if there’s a hard drive catastrophe.   Backing up sounds like common sense, but it’s shocking how many companies are not doing it properly!!

Users of our SalesDoc Architect (SDA) know that it automates folder and file management by automatically naming and saving files according to a client-defined file naming schema.  We’re also able to push files that have been saved “offline” to a central file location when the user is back “online”.  However, even if you don’t have our software to automate file management, you can benefit from “manually” implementing some or all of these best practices tips so that your project files are logically organized, shareable and protected.

To learn more about SDA’s offline/online file management, be sure to check out our webinar, “Turbocharge Your File Management with SalesDoc Architect.”.

For more information on this blog post or any other CorsPro functionality, please email us.