Organisation – Mixing Business and IT (Part 2)

Start From The StartGet Organised!

If you haven’t seen part 1 yet it can be found by clicking here. We looked at what organisation is and how to get your personal life in order. In this part we look specifically at how a business can get organised and what tools are avialable that make it a little easier.

Getting A Business Organised

As I mentioned before getting one person organised is difficult. Getting a business to be organised takes a huge amount of time and dedication. For this reason most businesses strive to maintain a Policies and Procedures Manual (PPM). Something that is an internal rule set that outlines how staff should conduct themselves and best provide the services required.

In good organisations making a PPM is not simply enough. It is an ever evolving document set that changes as the work environment does. This is a massive topic in itself and not something I’m tempted to tackle because I’m not a subject matter expert nor do I think my website has the bandwidth to hold all the detailed information required.

What I would like to explore is some simple methods I have used to improve the organisation of companies. Like most things these require planning and may not match all businesses but they should at least get you thinking about simple designs that improve the systems and process.

Common Business Organisation/Planning Tools

Active Directory/Group Policy (Administrator Level)

Windows Explorer (Where file organisation starts)

Microsoft Visio (Visualise and document the change)

Microsoft Project (Design and plan changes)

Other you may not have heard of

OpenProj – Free MS Project look-a-like which is OS agnostic

Clocking IT – Free Project and Time Management web based application

How to better structure your IT systems

File Structures

One thing I have seen happen in every business I have worked in is a folder share that has run wild. Every business wants to share their files with many people. This can be 5 people, 100’s or even 1000’s however the end result is the same. They start with a N: or P: and three folders under it and shortly you have a lot of people, all with different organisation methods, creating folders and files where ever they please. Once it starts there is no stoping it. From that point if you want to fix it you have to manage the change delicately because if one file goes missing there could be massive problems straight away or even 3 years down the track.

Obviously there is a fix for this – Managed Structures. You need to work with the business to plan and document a folder and file structure. This could be extremely simple or difficult depending on your organisations requirements.

An Example

Let start with simple, just make three folders; Brisbane, Sydney & Melbourne. Basically three different locations for your business. Now under all three you could have another three folders; Accounts, HR & Technical. Three departments in your business and so there are 12 folders that look like the below.

Planned Folder Structure 1

To ensure that nobody can change the structure you make the entire structure “Read-Only” and only allow users the ability to add folders and documents in the department folders.You can do this by right clicking the parent folder “Your Business” and choosing Properties. Click the Security Tab and click Edit… You should see something like below.

Folder Security 1

You will notice that a lot of the options are greyed out. This is because the folder is inheriting permissions from it’s parent. We need to stop this. Click OK, click Advanced and click Change Permissions. You will something like below.

Folder Security 2

Untick “Include inheritable permissions from the object’s parent”, click Add (I won’t go into these options as 9/10 your going to click Add), click OK, click OK and click Edit… Now you will see that all the options are avialable. To make a group Read-Only you can simple select the group and untick the other options. Hopefully you have something like below.

Folder Security 3

Change the options as you require but the idea should be to lock down most of the access. This means that now your staff can’t move or edit the folder structure. :)

Numbers as a key

In larger folder structures it is extremely difficult to communicate where files may be. They could be 5 levels down and there could be 50-500 folders total. When it comes to this sort of folder structure something that I have been recommending is a key. Something that makes it easier to communicate where the files are. I have implimented a two digit key on the front of folders that allow for easy identification and labelling. Using the example we had above you should end up with something like below.

Folder Structure 2

Now if you need to direct someone to a document you can say in folder “01,03” and they can find the “Brisbane Technical” document that were looking for. This may not seem like a big deal in this example but imagine you have 20 folders in the parent folder, 30 under each of those and another 20 under those. Planning and management can make life a lot easier when you are establishing a folder structure.

 

This is just one of many ways you can work to get a little more organised in your business. How do you get organised? What are some of the tools you use?

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