To improve communication and collaboration these days, organizations rely on digital file transfers and email. As an organization, you have to share a good amount of information and data with your employees, partners, suppliers and customers across the globe. But you need to ensure that this information remains safe from unauthorized individuals. Unless you take all the necessary precautions to safeguard your proprietary content, it can fall into the wrong hands, compromising the security of your company and those that you do business with.
So, what should you do to keep your company information safe? One way of safeguarding your proprietary content is to implement a document management system (DMS).
What Is Document Management, and Why Does It Matter?
Document management is the process that businesses use to capture, organize, track, and store documents in electronic form – such as PDFs, word processing files and digital images of paper-based content. The Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM) defines document management as incorporating document and content capture, workflow, document repositories, output systems and information retrieval systems – as well as the processes used to track, store and control documents.
Document management offers help on many fronts. It provides security, easy access, total control, centralized storage space, audit trails and convenient search and retrieval of all your documents.
Many organizations these days have to manage their paper and digital information. Your company information could be anywhere – paper documents, electronic files, scanned files, spreadsheets, and images. You could be storing these documents in filing cabinets, on public or private networks, hard drives, shared drives, and emails. When your company information resides in so many formats and so many places, it can pose several challenges.
From damaged or lost files, errors, and redundancies to wasting precious office space for storage, you have to tackle many issues. Also, searching for valuable information at any given point in time is yet another issue that organizations face when they don’t manage their documents properly. It is crucial to understand that managing documents smartly and properly is vital from a legal perspective, as well.
When you opt for a document management platform, it can sort out most of your problems. It integrates all your documents in one place, gives you total control over them, makes access and retrieval of documents easy, increases the security of your documents and above all, lowers your cost of operations.
According to business.com, “… any organization that requires the structured storage and retrieval of documents can benefit from investing in a document management system (DMS). Not only does it save time and money, but it provides tracking for sensitive documents, showing who has accessed them, when and any actions that were performed on the document. This kind of tracking gives DMS software its greatest value and appeal, protecting organizations from lawsuits, fines and penalties.”
Therefore, the sooner you implement a document management system, the better it is for your organization.
What Is a Document Management System?
A document management system is software that automates and facilitates the process of storing, managing, and tracking all your electronic documents and images of paper documents. Initially, DMS was mainly used to convert paper documents into digital documents; hence, it was also known as an electronic filing cabinet. However, the present-day DMS is much more than that.
With a DMS in place, you can capture, digitize, and tag documents easily and quickly. Your DMS can also manage channel workflows, output systems, and document retrieval.
There are three main functions of a document management system – to capture, store, and distribute documents. A DMS performs these functions for the following purposes:
It captures documents from any source – A DMS should capture a document from any source – paper, email, CRM and all other applications, and index them so that you can conveniently retrieve them when you want. Indexing helps classify a document by adding terms to its metadata like tags, customer information or order numbers. There are different ways of capturing different documents.
Paper documents – You need high-speed scanners to capture paper documents. A DMS receives the documents from the scanner, which you can then index by ERP integration, OCR, barcoding or by hand.
Emails – Document capture from email is essential because businesses receive many documents in this manner. When you have a DMS, it allows you to automatically import and place email messages or attachments in the folders you want.
External applications – You also have to store documents that are in your customer relationship management (CRM) system or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. With a DMS, you can import these documents and store them where you want to, or share them with others in your organization.
Centralized storage of documents – Another important function that a DMS can perform for your organization is to store all your documents in one central place – allowing your employees easy access.
Also, having a centralized space to store your documents provides protection against errors and malicious intent. You get version control in a DMS that tracks the changes made to a document and identifies the person who made those changes. A DMS also allows you to set permissions to control who can access which document and who can make what type of changes.
Retrieval and distribution of documents – Another important task that a document management system can do for you easily is retrieval and distribution of documents. Since you index your documents, it allows you to retrieve any document with a keyword quickly and conveniently.
Once you retrieve a document, you can share it with anyone the way you want. You can share it through email or file transfer protocol (FTP). It also automates manual business processes and workflows. For example, you can integrate your DMS with your ERP so that when you receive an order in your ERP, it automates the approval and fulfillment workflow process.
What Features Does a DMS offer?
To understand how a DMS can help you, it is crucial to know what features a DMS offers. Here are some of them:
Document storage – You can archive your documents in a single place, which makes retrieval, sharing, and storage simpler, easier and quicker. When you centralize the process, you can access the documents without any hassles.
Security and access control – You can avoid unauthorized access by putting in place role-based permissions for file entry. Some software programs can restrict IP addresses as well. It means only those who have the authority can view, open, and modify your important files.
Version control – You don’t need to create multiple copies of the same document because of version control. You get to see all the versions of the document, which means you remain in total control of your documents.
Classification and indexing – You can index and classify your files for quick and easy retrieval with a specific keyword.
Bulk upload – A DMS allows you to upload documents in bulk. You don’t have to upload them one by one.
PDF document editor – A DMS allows you to adjust and modify a PDF file easily and quickly. You can add text, textbox, date, and check bar for customizations. Also, you can eliminate typos with an online spell checker.
White labeling – You can do your company’s branding as well because a DMS allows you to set up your color, theme, and logo to convey your brand’s image. It makes your company look more professional.
Mobile apps – You can access your files on mobile devices as well. It simplifies image capture and makes uploads easy.
File synchronization – You can sync online files with your stored documents, which helps you share updated files with your team members.
Audit trail – You can pull out detailed reports on the path that the file has taken in its lifecycle. You know the name of the user, the date and time of access to the file, the changes made to the file and the comments added by the user.
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.