When it comes to database management, there are a heap of clichés to describe the term. “Practice what you preach,” “garbage in, garbage out,” and “time is money” are just a few. A database that is designed and managed well is guaranteed to help your corporate legal department increase their response time, work more efficiently, and minimize their legal risks. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you make the most out of your Effacts database.
Create a plan
In cooperation with your corporate legal department, and the CFO and CEO if necessary, figure out what kind of information you want to put in your database. Focus on building an infrastructure that helps your organization to find, access, and analyze information that is critical to the success of your business. Remember, what you enter in your database is what you get out of it.
Use unique descriptions for better search results
The key is for you to find the information you need with just a few clicks. For example, if you label all “purchase contracts” under that name, your search will produce all results for “purchase contracts” instead of “purchase contract for office furniture.”
Use custom reports
The Effacts database has extensive reporting capabilities, allowing you to create specific reports based on the data you have stored in the legal management system. You can personally choose which fields you would like to display in your report and adjust the filters.
Create a policy
Establish a document retention policy that clearly outlines what documents should be retained, how they should be retained, and for how long. Even if you have multiple document types that need to be retained, try to use only a few different retention periods (3, 5 and 10 years, for Keep in mind you should not store personally identifying information for longer than is necessary.
Brush up on your skills
In order for your legal department to optimally implement the Effacts database, we recommend user training for all new users that guides them through the system step-by-step. In addition, you can follow workshops given by the Effacts Academy, which focus on one specific feature, and give you the opportunity to ask questions afterwards.
Keep duplicate data
Once you get your database up and running, it’s likely that you’ll have duplicate data at some point. Before hitting the “delete” button, determine which of the duplicates contains more relevant information. If you don’t prune your database regularly, it may complicate your reports and provide you with inaccurate information.
Set up an alert for every single event
You could end up suffering from “alert burnout” if you plan in alerts for every due date. The more alerts you receive, the more likely you are to ignore them, without giving the serious ones the attention they deserve. We recommend scheduling in alerts for deadlines that occur on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis.
Spread data throughout many databases
Every corporate legal department needs a centralized system to archive and manage their documents. The Effacts database is a single platform that can be accessed anywhere, anytime. To make things even easier, the data is stored in a relational database, which means that data is entered and stored once, while and all records in other tables which link to that entry will be updated if any changes are made.
Confuse unique with useful
Although the experienced Effacts consultants are able to configure a database specifically to the needs of any organization, it is important that it works with your business model. Ask yourself and your colleagues what the requirements are for your database, how you want to use it, and how easy it will be for your corporate legal department to maintain it.
Delete data randomly
While it might be tempting to remove data just because it is “old” or to clear out storage, the best way is to establish rules for document deletion in writing. Keep in mind that deleting data may affect the accuracy of your reports and result in fragmented data.