Setting up a good folder structure starts with bringing order. Ask yourself the following questions: What types of content do we have, what content should we store, and what can we get rid of?
The best way to do this is as a team. That's quite a bit of work, because there is an almost certain chance that you will find files that you didn't know existed (anymore). Compare this phase to cleaning out the attic at home: Suddenly, you come across that, once in your life, very handy camping table. In the back corner, under that box of unread books.
Tip: start by cleaning out your personal folder!
Set up that folder structure
Have you cleaned everything up? Then there should now be more space on the servers. And you have insight into which types of documents you have. The next question is: how do you set up your folder structure?
Formerly, organizations opted for a structure based on departments. But it is better to set up the folder structure based on the business processes, such as Sales, Purchasing, Production, Finance and the like. This is useful because many processes run across multiple departments.
Tip: Using a DAM? Create intelligent content
Subfolders: not too many!
You have subfolders under each type of process. Also, choose each subfolder carefully. It is important that each subfolder really fits the process. You can thus set up a logical and intuitive folder structure. There is a risk of creating too many subfolders when setting up a folder structure for your company.
Dare to make clear choices here. This prevents the information from being difficult to find. Set up your folders all the same way. This makes for easy navigation if you're searching in a folder with which you're not familiar.
Choose specific names for your folder structure
Give each folder a specific and logical name. This helps tremendously in finding the right content, also via the search function for your system. This also helps in the creation of new content. Avoid two folders having the same name and avoid names like “Other” and “General.”
Do all employees have their own folder? Make sure hiding content that doesn't belong there, isn’t possible. Agree on this together when setting up the folder structure for your organization.
Fill your folders
Then what? Time to start filling your folders with your files and assets. That, too, is a careful job. Deliberation on questions like: Does the employee manual for production employees now fall under "HR" or under "Production"?
Do not put content in two places. That would be confusing. You risk keeping outdated files and multiple versions, in the long run.
Okay, now you have everything in order. That feels good doesn’t it? The challenge now is to keep everything in order. A good, hands-on manual will help a lot. Or make someone responsible for periodically doing a sample inspection. For example, the QHSE manager or the content manager.
Ultimately, a good folder structure for your company is a shared responsibility. Having one ensures everyone quickly finds what they need and processes run smoothly. This also reduces the chance of errors. If maintained properly, the advantages are countless. The bigger and more complex the organization, the more difficult this is to maintain.