Everyone today is trying to reduce the use of paper in their business; not just as a cost-cutting method, but also as a small contribution towards saving trees and saving the environment. Apart from this, records kept on paper cannot be considered as permanent; there is always a risk of loss of data due to damage caused by pests or fire. All businesses are being encouraged to go paperless, and under such a situation, the age-old methods of documentation are soon going to become obsolete. It is no longer considered productive to keep your records on paper; every business now needs an efficient electronic document management system.
What is a document management system?
A document management system (DMS), more particularly an electronic DMS, is a system based on computer programs that are used to track, manage, and store all your documents without the use of paper. The document management system benefits include automation of the entire process of organizing, tagging, storing, and accessing your business-related documents and files. Cloud-based document management solutions can even help you store your documents centrally at one place, making them accessible to multiple members and also keeping the data safe. Unlike the conventional method of documentation on paper, electronic and cloud-based DMS makes it much easier and faster to search, retrieve, and share files.
How does a document management system work?
A document management system has three jobs- to capture, store, and distribute documents. ‘Document’ refers to saving documents from any source and indexing them to make them easier to find later. Documents may be captured from a paper by scanning, from emails and their attachments, from system-generated reports, or from other applications like CRM and ERP. The captured document then has to be stored centrally, so that it is accessible to everyone in the company to whom it is relevant. That is where a cloud-based system comes in handy as it makes the document accessible from anywhere and anytime for the approved members, and also ensures no data is lost even in case of system failures. Finally, the DMS helps to retrieve documents with its keyword search feature and distribute documents using email or FTP.
That explains how document management systems are used.
Types of document management systems
Although the functions of a document management system are quite simple, there is a wide range of software products under the umbrella of DMS.
- Content Management Systems – These are systems designed to organize and deliver a wide range of content and media to web users and customers. Some such popular document management system examples are WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.
- Records Management Systems – These systems are designed to maintain records and make them easily retrievable, mostly used by regulated industries such as healthcare, legal, and government agencies.
- Document Imaging Systems – These help to collect and manage images from different sources and help convert paper files into digital files.
- Enterprise Content Management Systems – These systems manage content, taking into account the specifics of the enterprise using them such as workflows, processes, and rules of the enterprise.
- Workflow Systems – These systems automate repetitive processes to help streamline a specific workflow.
There are also different systems based on their storage methods. For instance, a server-based DMS stores documents on local or on-premise servers and do not necessarily require an internet connection. A database DMS software stores data and allows you to sort and search for what you need based on field queries or several other options. Cloud-based DMSs store information remotely making them accessible to users from any device at any time. Web-based DMSs can be used directly from the web without having to install any specific software. They are either opensource or very low cost and can be integrated with other office software systems as well.
The requirement of each user is different. Depending on the need of your business, you can choose from any of these types of DMSs.
How to choose the right DMS for you?
Before deciding on the right document management system for your business, it is important to look out for a few factors. Here are a few things you must check before choosing a DMS:
- File structure – This refers to the structure of storage of files in the DMS. The way in which the files are stored must be easy to use and accessible. The best structure is usually the cabinet-drawer-file structure.
- Search tools – The search tools available in the DMS must have a wide range of options for quick and easy searching. Searching by file names only is not sufficient; the system must be able to look for keywords in the file’s content and search based on the date last modified, file type, and other criteria.
- Scanning – The system must be compatible with a wide variety of scanners for easy conversion of paper files into digital files. Also, the system should be capable of modifying file formats as required.
- Security – Security settings on a DMS are very important. The files on a DMS must be accessible only to those employees who have been authorized to access them. You must be able to set access permissions on files and folders on the system.
- Integration with other software – The system must be able to integrate other software that you are using, such as your email client, customer relationship management software, or ERP.
- Mobile-friendly – With most people finding it more convenient to work on-the-go on their mobile phones, it is important that the DMS be accessible on smartphones and tablets.
Our eDocs Document Management System archives and distributes standard business documents, general documents and scanned images in the most efficient and cost effective way, ultimately offering more than just document imaging. Speak To Us for more.