In the not-so-distant past, businesses had to dedicate a substantial portion of their office space for storing office records and documents. Archiving and storing paper records was the only option available to keep their business processes organized. But with the advent of digitization, companies now have the option of organizing all of their records and documents properly, systematically and painlessly.
With a document management system (DMS) in place, you don’t have to put up filing cabinets throughout your office. You can store all your paper records and documents safely and securely in one single space digitally in your document management system. A DMS not only organizes your office records, but also improves the accessibility of every single document in your organization.
So, what are document management systems used for? We’ll look at what a DMS is, its main components and its numerous benefits.
What is a document management system?
Managing records efficiently is a prerequisite for companies of every size. You either have the option of manually filing your paper documents or use the modern technology of a DMS. While manual record-keeping is costlier, time-consuming and cumbersome, digital record-keeping is simpler, efficient, systematic and more cost-effective. Document management software can solve most of your record-keeping woes.
Simply put, a DMS is an electronic filing cabinet that can organize all your digital and paper documents. It is a system that allows you to receive, track, monitor, manage and store documents and reduce the use of paper. The system allows you to keep records of various versions created and modified by different users.
You can scan and upload hard copies of your documents directly into your document management system. Users can enter metadata and tags into their document management systems to organize the stored files.
Typically, document management systems have a built-in search engine that makes accessing files easy, even from the most extensive document libraries. Storing and sorting documents is not the only benefit a document management system offers. A DMS also helps you keep all your sensitive company information safe and secure because it has permission settings, which means only authorized persons can access the information.
Important components of a document management system
The traditional form of capturing and storing paper documents is costly because it requires manual processing. In addition, needs for storage space increase over time, with some organizations requiring warehouses to free up office space in the main building. Other issues include the following:
- Human error – such as misplaced documents
- Retrieval issues
- Risk of physical damage to the documents – such as fire, flooding, accidental disposal or deliberate malicious destruction
DMS software was developed in the 1980s. With scanning technology established, organizations could digitize paper documents and store and track them easily online. However, much has changed for DMS since its creation. It has now evolved and expanded to include such additional features as security, workflow and auditing.
Around the world, organizations are taking advantage of online document management tools. Apart from cost reduction, the biggest advantage a DMS offers is the storage capacity of the server. You don’t need physical space to store your important documents – no warehouse or filing cabinets required. You can store all your documents online and retrieve them whenever needed.
Here are some of the important components of a document management system.
Metadata – Metadata is assigned to each document in a DMS. Metadata includes all the relevant information about the document – when it was stored (date), title and description of the document.
Indexing, retrieval, and search – These features allow users to locate documents and information with the help of document identifiers, metadata and content.
Security – The security features protect your information, and also supports compliance. Administrators can put in controls in place so only those who have permission can access documents.
Workflow – Administrators can create rules that determine the flow of documents within the organization.
Collaboration – A DMS allows multiple users to view and modify documents simultaneously. The system monitors document changes and history.
Versioning – Most DMS solutions allow users to retrieve the previous version of a document. The system also allows users to continue working from a designated point. Versioning is a vital feature that allows you to change and update documents as needed.
Benefits of a document management system
The benefits of document management software include optimized document handling, improved data accessibility, streamlined file searches and lower document management costs. Such tools will allow you to better control the security of your company’s files while improving collaboration by making data sharing easy.
Here are some of the major benefits of a document management system.
Cost reduction – When you can locate, update and collaborate documents from a centralized repository, it simplifies the process, reduces manual intervention in locating the document, minimizes human errors, decreases space requirement for storing documents and saves a significant amount of time, thereby reducing your overall costs.
Improves data security – Most DMS solutions provide robust security. You get configurable access options that you can set up according to your security needs. Highly regulated businesses need to especially protect their data for a number of reasons – including protection of end-users and from company liability.
Improves collaboration – A DMS brings all of your departments and stakeholders on one single platform. When everyone is on the same page, it eliminates data silos and supports teamwork, thereby improving collaboration. When people work as a single unit, it increases their productivity, which is bound to enhance your profits.
You can make your office paperless – Using paper is neither good for the environment, nor ultimately beneficial for the financial health of your organization. So, if you want to become a paperless office, DMS can help you achieve your goals. A DMS allows you to transform all of your paper documents into electronic assets. It not only makes sorting, storing and accessing these documents easier, but also means that you can use your office space for more meaningful – and profitable – purposes.
If you are looking for a secure content distribution and protection solution, DocuServe is an industry-leading cloud-based document management system that can keep your digital content safe. We can help you improve the productivity and efficiency of your employees and streamline your processes. Contact us today to learn more.