Documents are an integral component of any business organization in the world as they provide vital information for critical business decisions. In most cases, an organization may have to collect documents from various sources. Managing information from different sources in different departments is no easy affair. This is where a document management system (DMS) is most helpful. The right tool can centralize your data, eliminate silos, promote efficiency and deliver many great benefits.
In this blog, we shall explore the significance of a document management system and how it helps in the effective management of business-critical information.
What is document management?
Document management refers to the process of using computer systems to gather, store and track various documents generated in an organization. These documents could be word processing files, PDF files or images of paper-based files.
What is the purpose of document management?
Document management provides an easy way to store and retrieve your documents. The basic function of document management is to have a central repository for all the documents in an organization. All the recorded information stored here will be treated as a unit and it will remain undisturbed even during migrations and other environmental changes.
What is the importance of document management?
Considering the huge volumes of data we generate every day, document management plays a critical role in the operations of an organization. Imagine storing all business-critical information in paper storage. That doesn’t sound feasible, right?
When you incorporate document management, you can have more control over the storage, management, retrieval and access of all your documents. Also, proper record keeping has become a legal requirement under various data privacy laws.
Managing the entire IT infrastructure of an organization with a manual documentation process is no longer viable even for a small organization. This is why you need to invest in a powerful document management system (DMS) that allows the effective flow of information.
What is a document management system?
A document management system refers to a system or software solution that allows users to create, store, manage, secure and retrieve various electronic documents. In other words, document management systems function like electronic filing cabinets that can be used to organize the documents generated in your IT infrastructure.
Most DMS solutions allow users to store their files on the cloud to facilitate easy retrieval of information whenever required. When you have all your files organized and easily accessible, you can stay one step ahead when it comes to making information-based decisions.
What does a document management system do?
According to Business.com, the three most basic functions of a document management system are to capture, store and distribute documents. Modern-day document management systems often come packed with many innovative features. However, these are the three basic functions any DMS solution must do well:
- Capture documents: There are different ways to gather inputs for a DMS. There are electronic documents that are created and managed digitally. There are also paper files that must be digitized by scanning the documents. Moreover, external applications like CRM also generate information every day. The DMS should be able to gather information from multiple sources before storing it.
- Store documents: There should be a central repository to store all the information gathered from various sources. This central hub should have enough storage space to store all business-critical information in the system. With a centralized storage system, you can make information easily accessible to all users and protect it from various malicious threats.
- Distribute documents: To distribute information to users easily, your information must be easily accessible. Your DMS should come equipped with a powerful search engine to locate documents with the help of metadata. When creating documents, you can use different metadata to tag the files individually. This will help retrieve files at a much faster rate.
What are the types of document management systems?
The term document management can be applied to a diverse range of tools, each searching for different purposes and with different functions. Here is a list of the common types of document management systems you can find.
Content Management Systems (CMS)
These systems are typically used to manage content on websites and related platforms. They can be used to organize, distribute and publish a wide range of media to online users or customers. For instance, if an organization wants to organize its writing through some thought leadership work, it can use a CMS to publish the content on its website or mobile application. Some examples of content management systems include WordPress, Joomla, etc.
Enterprise Content Management Systems (ECM)
Enterprise content management systems take document management up a notch by focusing on workflows, business rules and processes. In addition to content management, they also take business data into account. ECM systems do not apply to a single tool or technology. Rather, it comprises various content management tools that help businesses achieve their goals.
Records Management Systems (RMS)
Records Management Systems focus mainly on the records in an organization including creation, maintenance and destruction. They are ideal for legal, healthcare or government organizations that are highly regulated and subject to various compliance rules.
Document Imaging Systems
Many organizations still use paper documents and are in the process of digitizing those documents. You can use these systems to scan, organize, store and manage digital images obtained from paper documents.
These systems can be used to automate repetitive tasks and streamline your workflows. By automating repetitive content-based tasks, these systems help free up the time of critical resources in an organization. In most cases, a workflow system is a platform that consists of several discrete tools that can work together to automate various tasks.
What are the key features of a document management system?
In today’s data-centric world, implementing a quality document management system is likely to have a direct impact on your organization’s success. When looking for a new document management system, make sure it ticks all the following features.
- Powerful search capabilities: If your information is not easy to locate, it beats the whole point of having a documentation system. Without powerful search capabilities, finding information in your documentation tool is extremely difficult. You need to be able to locate files based on metadata, users, titles, relationships, etc.
- Access permissions: There must be an option to create tiered permissions in the documentation platform. This ensures only the right people have access to the right files in your IT infrastructure.
- Cloud & mobile access: Your files must be stored in the cloud to ensure easy access from any location in the world. Your document management system should also have mobile capabilities to allow information access on the go.
- Version control & edit history: When there are multiple stakeholders collaborating on the same file, it is often hard to keep track of the latest version. Your documentation system should have versioning features with a history of who has made the edits. This helps you prevent duplication and gather information only from the latest files.
- Workflow automation: Managing your day-to-day processes manually is not a good use of resources’ time. Your DMS should have workflow automation features to automate repetitive tasks.
- Intuitive user interface: Since document management is a critical technology in today’s business world, it should come with a solid user interface. The user interface of the platform should be easy to navigate. Most importantly, it should be simple to use even by a new user.
- Legacy integration: Integration is vital as you are likely to be working with multiple disparate tools. Your DMS should be able to integrate with even the legacy systems in your IT infrastructure.
What are the benefits of a document management system?
You may already know that a high-quality document management system is easy to implement and makes life easy for you. It also offers a range of other benefits. Some of the top benefits are as follows.
- Saves time: This is probably the most important benefit of a DMS. You can save a lot of time by organizing your files and making information easily accessible.
- Low digital mess: Storing files online can get quite messy over time. With a centralized repository, you can clean up the digital mess and organize the way in which you store critical information.
- Increases security: When you have a secure platform to store your critical files, your information automatically becomes safe. A documentation tool with features like MFA, version control, password protection, audit trail, etc. boosts the security of your IT infrastructure.
- Fosters scalability: When your business grows, the number of documents you manage will grow alongside. By decluttering your information with the help of a DMS, you can easily scale your business.
- Enhances collaboration: Collaboration should be at the heart of a DMS. Cloud-based document management platforms allow easy collaboration from multiple stakeholders no matter where they are located.
- Reduces physical storage: Having a big pile-up of paper documents is no way to run a modern business in this digital age. A DMS can significantly reduce your physical storage by digitizing all your paper documents.
- Eases accessibility: A centralized repository of data is easy to access by anyone with the right access privilege. By ensuring easy access to business-critical data, you can make informed decisions that will convert to business success.
- Promotes accountability: When you have proper versioning with an edit history, it improves transparency in your collaboration. This promotes accountability among the stakeholders working on the files.
- Supports compliance: Having a proper DMS is a legal requirement under many data privacy laws. When you have a robust documentation tool, you can adhere to all compliance regulations.
Document management with IT Glue
IT Glue is an award-winning documentation solution that comes with powerful document management features. In addition to centralizing your documents, you can easily relate them to your other information, including hardware assets, software assets, passwords and SOPs. This helps you streamline all business processes like resolving tickets, building client relationships and managing projects as efficiently as possible.
IT Glue’s SOC 2-compliant documentation platform features an immutable audit trail, network discovery, diagramming and more. All these features are fully integrated and linked with all your documentation.
To learn more about how IT Glue can help you with document management, request a demo.