Document management is an area of expertise that requires extensive amount of labor and man-hours regardless of whatever business you are operating. The scope of this management process includes every paper-based process that is happening in the back-office of a business.
Management of these documents involves the methods of how these documents are produced, gathered, analyzed, organized, processed, filed, stored and a lot more. Understanding how all these methods are done will help you find better ways to deal with them in a way that can make a significant impact on the outcome of the process. And one way or another, you will find yourself relying on technology to give you the best solution to your document management problems.
Whether you are a small, mid-sized or large company, you need to have an effective document management software (DMS) that will help you in properly taking care of any document necessary for your operation. DMS, in collaboration with a variety of technological hardware, will make document management process much easier for any company to take full control.
Key Functions to Consider When Comparing DMS Software
There are a lot of ways on how DMS can make life easy for you. But with too many options to choose from, it is also easy to get it wrong. Having the knowledge of the key functions of DMS can help you make the right decision when you are comparing software products with one another. On this list are some of the most important factors that your software package must have.
1. Centralization. This is the most important factor that could help you in the document management of your business. Even if you have all the other functions of a DMS, it would still be difficult for your team to get everything together and right without the system being centralized. A centralized structure of data gathering/distribution will encourage all company departments to work closely and harmoniously together, which will result in increased efficiency and effectiveness. This will also make it easier for all back-office personnel to process any document coming in and out of your company with focus, fast execution, reduced conflicts, and full control.
2. Paperless Workplace. Paper-based documents grow at an uncontrollable speed daily and a traditional back-office setup is usually cluttered with documents and systems that contain all these documents such as filing cabinets, folder shelves, drawers and other equipment that eat up a lot of space.
The challenge of keeping this amount of files sorted, secured, and easily accessible is a tall order and resource-intensive. While the idea of a paperless workplace that most companies want to achieve is still something that is seemingly impossible to fully attain, the utilization of DMS will greatly reduce the bulk of paperwork by converting documents and other papers into digital or electronic document forms such as MS Word or PDF. In turn, only legal documents are left as paper documents in your office and they only require a small space for storage. With DMS, all your digital files can be organized, filed, stored, and accessed whenever and wherever you need to.
3. Mobile Access. With the advent of mobile technology, DMS enables business managers to access important information at any given time and location using their chosen device like smartphones and tablets via the internet.
4. Document Automation. This function, which is also known as document assembly, is the design of systems and workflows which facilitates the creation of electronic documents. This process effectively automates the creation of complex documents and significantly decreases human intervention, time and costs while at the same time enhancing compliance with existing standards. These include logic-based systems that use segments of pre-existing text and/or data to assemble a new document.
5. Documentation. This process includes a set of documents provided by the company’s documenters. Documentation does not only mean the process of writing a final report but is also about dealing with writing the status of an ongoing execution of a project or transaction. Coordination between the project team and the back-office personnel and other parties involved in an ongoing or finished project will be the reflection of this report. Documentation is a feature that is important if you want to make a precise record of a certain activity and cover as much detail as possible. It is necessary if a company wishes to keep track of how things are being done for future analysis; comparison and these could also be used as a basis for future projects.
What are the General Components of DMS?
The following are the general components of DMS that should be included in its package:
1. Metadata. Metadata is defined as data that describes a data by summarizing its basic information to make finding and working with specific instances of data easier. A document management software should be capable of automatically extracting metadata from a specific document. Some providers offer DMS that utilizes optical character recognition which gives it the capability to convert numerous types of documents like scanned paper documents, PDF files or images that are taken by digital cameras into an editable and searchable data.
2. Integration. Some of the best DMS offer integrated document management directly into other applications to allow users to effectively recover existing documents from the DMS repository, modify changes, and save the modified document as a new version back to the repository without opening another application.
3. Capture. This component is comprised of processes like accepting and processing images of paper documents from a scanner or multifunctional printer to convert a specific physical document into another format, which is typically a digital format. This involves scanning and saving it in a digital image format. For text documents, capturing generally includes processes like optical character recognition, in order to be able to access and integrate information in a certain document with a company’s information systems.
4. Validation. This involves a visual validation registration system and important data like document failures, missing signatures, misspelled names which can all printed as physical documents or images on paper.
5. Retrieval. When using DMS, documents that are stored online can be retrieved or recovered at any given time, 24 hours a day. Additionally, depending on how your DMS is set up and the people who are duly authorized to access such documents, you may be able to retrieve them anywhere in the world through the internet. This means that if you have offices located internationally and employees who work from home, they will be able to access documents remotely. Some of the benefits of having this component in the DMS are that it increases the productivity of your company and it also provides document security.
6. Storage. This pertains to the storage of electronic documents that includes management of these documents, where they are stored or saved, the length of time, migration of documents from a storage media to another, and its destruction.
7. Distribution. It is imperative that a document being published for distribution is in some kind of format that cannot possibly be altered. To ensure this, the document management software that you have should have to be quality endorsed and validated.
8. Security. One of the significant aspects of document management is the security of documents as there are compliance requirements for specific documents like the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA) where medical institutions that store electronic health records are required to have stringent security measures in order to protect said records. Some of the best DMS feature rights management modules that let administrators provide access to certain documents according to type only to certain people or groups of people within a company.
9. Workflow. One of the major components that an effective DMS should have is a built-in workflow module that would facilitate different types of workflow such as manual workflow and rules-based workflow. Manual workflow requires a user to view a certain document and decide as to whom it is supposed to be sent, while a rules-based workflow gives an administrator the capacity to create a specific rule that will dictate the flow of documents within a company or organization.
Aside from the foregoing elements, a good DMS package should also contain the following components: collaboration, versioning, indexing, searching, publishing and reproduction features.
The advancement of technology really has come a long way in terms of how it is being applied in businesses to make big improvements in all areas of operation. The utilization of the right technology will bring automation that can streamline all the processes and will give any business the ability to operate with efficiency and effectiveness. This will surely help in creating more profit.
For the best document management software, check out client reviews at CrowdReviews.com for more ideas that will help you compare DMS that would best suit your business.
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