Digital Document Clean-up

For many years there has been a tendency to keep all documents that were ever created in a company. Supposedly on the notion that if it was important enough to be written, it was important enough to be saved. However, with the exponential increase in data and legislations such as GDPR and GxP, this strategy is no longer viable.
In order to keep up with changes in the organisation and regular updates to IT systems, it is necessary to have a continuous focus on data and document hygiene. Documentation needs to be cleaned up, both to maintain a satisfactory user-friendliness where documents can be both easily found and stored, and to comply with inspection readiness and GDPR.

We use the general term ‘clean-up’ when we talk about documents. For lack of a better word, this includes the whole process: From the first phase of getting an overview of the documentation, to the final phase where the documents are sorted out into the categories: Saved, Archived and Deleted, where the documents to be saved have to go through a thorough sorting and metadata update.

Rather than handling every document manually, we want to perform the clean-up by applying rules and automations on our data. This is not just saving huge amounts of time initially, but also allow us to schedule recurring processes going forward.

Document Sorting

The first step in tidying up is a general sorting of the documents. The different categories will decide where the documents go, and how they are cleaned up later on. Typical main categories are:

  • Documents to be deleted
  • Documents to be archived
  • Documents to be kept

Things to look out for when sorting the documents, are whether documents are obsolete, active, redundant, irrelevant, etc.
Relevant thorough business criteria should be defined as a basis for the automation rules.

Document Clean-up

The cleanup will in most cases have it’s primary focus on metadata, storage path, versions and legislation.

For the sake of retrieval, usability and efficiency, the metadata should be verified, corrected and enriched. If the documents are stored in folders, these should correspond to the current company structure and business.

Finally, when relevant, identifying documents that fall under GDPR or similar legislation and tagging them appropriately, will significantly ease future compliance tasks.


All our migration, import and archiving projects over the years have involved some form of documentation clean-up. This has given us valuable experience and know-how on digital document clean-up.
It has also given us an insight into the increasing need for decluttering, at virtually all of our clients.

Before a clean-up project gets underway in earnest, we will usually start with a pre-analysis, helping to identify the current state of things and forming the basis of the project design.

Typically, these areas will be uncovered in the pre-analysis:

  • The need for a clean-up
  • The scope of the task (All documentation? Just one department? Just one system?)
  • Time perspective
  • Resource requirements from the business

We can help you safely through all phases of the clean-up, from the pre-analysis to the final sorting and enrichment of metadata. During the project, we can advise and help you identify your needs, define your project, choose the right tools and align and coordinate with the business.