A short guide on document management for organizations

Document management is one of the oldest and most important content management disciplines. The need for proper document management emerged from the ever growing amount of hard copy documents that made it quite difficult to manage all the information which needed to be stored and retrieved for the most common processes within an organization.

Learning about Document Management Systems (DMS)

At a more simple level, every PC user has a system to manage documents, weather that person is aware of it or not, by creating folders and storing various files. Of course, when it comes to a large amount of documents, this simple system is far from being enough. The need for proper document management systems led to the development of software solutions meant to assist entire organizations in order to seek, manage, create and retrieve documents. Unlike PC folders, a DMS revolves around a repository used to store and manage any type of information that could be valuable and also to protect it from getting lost. The key-feature of any DMS is to make it as easier as possible to find and share documents easy, through sophisticated and complex search tools, as well as classification schemes for the document information that is being stored.

How to find the best Document Management System

Although there are countless software options available on the market, the most important features to look for are the following:

  1. The best DMS is the one that focuses on managing documents, although most of them are able to manage other electronic information, such as images or CAD files (because those types of files are very much used within an organization)
  2. Each document is self-contained, meaning there are no links between documents, so if one is removed, no other document connected to it is also lost. The documents are grouped by using classification schemes.
  3. Besides document management, storage, archiving and life-cycle management (including document expiry) are some of the other features that need to be included in the “check-list” before purchasing a certain software.
  4. Business processes should be included into document management, by using powerful workflow.
  5. Restricted access at document, folder, project or department type, for confidentiality and security issues.

Benefits of a Document Management System

When it comes to the actual benefits of integrating a DMS within an organization, these benefits can be divided into tangible (measurable) and intangible (which occur indirectly).

Tangible benefits usually include:

-   reduced storage, which means reduced space necessary to store paper documents and less expenses

-   flexible retrieval, because all documents are stored in a central repository and are easy to find, without even leaving the desk

-   flexible indexing, by categorizing documents in different file formats and avoiding using the same name

-   improved search, because documents can be retrieved by any phrase or word contained by it

-  controlled document distribution, by sharing documents with colleagues or business partners through email in a controlled manner avoiding printing costs and saving time

-  security of sensitive documents by using access levels and providing an audit trail, which means it’s easy to track down who read, modified or moved a certain document

-  recovery in case of disaster, through different back-up options, unlike paper documents that are easily destroyed by fire, flood, vandalism etc

-   no risk of losing valuable documents, as these are sometimes very hard to replace and it may even be quite expensive

-  digital archiving, even for paper documents, as the digital versions of hard copies are very useful because they prevent paper documents from over-handling

-  regulatory compliance, due to the fact that all documents are archived under controlled security makes it easier for an organization to prove the validity of documents and thus compliance with requirements and regulations

Intangible (or indirect) benefits of a DMS:

-   reduced time for internal operations and an improved flow of information

-  faster  distribution of information to business partners or clients, increasing the value of the organization’s services and support

-  better customer service and customer satisfaction, due to a more professional, more accurate response when it comes to providing information

- better distribution of information, because documents are available to all departments or different companies within an organization and can easily be accessed, without having to exchange documents back and forth through email

Given the increasing importance of document management in companies, enterprises and various organizations, Lantech-Soft has developed VENDOM, a Document Control System that meets all requirements of storing and managing digital documents. The software is reliable, safe and easy to integrate with Microsoft Windows and with all basic applications necessary to work with different file formats.

Photo source: Pixabay.com , user: Joergelman