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What is a Document Management System, and what can you do with it?

Mario Zules

Written by Mario Zules on 31 January 2020

To give you a short answer, a Document Management System (DMS) is a powerful tool to help you manage electronic documents. You can think about it as an extremely enhanced file cabinet.

It can help you boost your business organization, productivity, and security through a series of cloud-based solutions for managing files and documents. It could be argued that the overall aim of a DMS is to be a cabinet for the digital files of a modern paperless office, but the uniqueness of using a document management solution comes from the vast amount of benefits that come from its key features around the optimization of business resources by ensuring active document tracking, storage, data capture, and internal collaboration tools. Furthermore, it can be used to help with an organization’s regulatory compliance for all legal purposes.

There are many possibilities of what a document management system can do, and it can be a great way to improve any organization’s document management and security. However, diving into the purchase of a document management system without knowing what characteristics they have and how they can be implemented into your particular organization can be a frustrating experience.

What can you do with it?

The purpose of using a Document Management System may differ among users. Some people may need help storing and keeping track of a large volume of employee data, while others might want to keep records of invoices and bills or customer surveys for business analysis. So, here are some of the main features most Document Management Systems have, and you need to know to make a correct assessment of how you can benefit from using it.

1. Storage

DMSs have a repository where you can store and manage your files with configurable folders where both email and documents can be stored simultaneously and viewed through the same interface.

It is worth noting that a document can be any electronic media content (PDFs, Text, Images, Videos, Audio files, and so on), and you can also add attachments from your emails, which will be available for you through a simple search.

The advantage of having every document and email organized and easily accessible provides you and your business with a considerably efficient ability to address any enterprise or customer support issue quickly and accurately. Some of them offer Email integration options, so your Emails can be added by dragging and dropping them into the repository.

2. Organization

One of the critical elements of a Document Management System is its ability to find files through its search engine, and the way to make this effective is through the usage of meta tags. DMSs have a customizable system for creating meta tags so you can apply categories of information to files. This makes it easier for you to find all related documents or sorted by the creator, code, type of content, creation or last modification date or even a custom created category you can use to help boost your enterprise’s efficiency. This makes it convenient, especially if you need to organize your documents according to different purposes.

3. Optimization

By having all of your files inside a central repository, you would guess it takes a large repository size to hold everything stored in one place, but due to machine learning, Document Management Systems can create differential storage, that means you get to have all stored documents and files with a full revision history, including previous versions of any electronic document without piling them up. This is exceptionally helpful if you are handling documents that are updated continuously by different people, and you need to know what is the current version, or very particular scenarios like wanting to find specific information that has at one point been set to a particular status by any specific user. It provides you ultimate control of your document assets.

4. Accessibility

A revision management system, paired with an email notification system, can boost performance in a significant way. It ensures everyone’s work is saved and stored while keeping collaborators in the loop by letting them know whenever an asset has been updated. Some DMSs offer web-based systems as well, so collaborators can participate remotely.

5. Security

Any file added to the central repository can be set to a fixed security group. In other words, you can control exactly who gets the necessary permissions to read, write, delete or even modify the security of any precise asset and logically be able to update the status of permissions whenever you find it convenient. This can be applied to full folders or specific documents, so you don’t have to do it for every stored asset. Additionally, every document can be encrypted and decrypted at any stage of its lifecycle.

6. Automation

Automation technologies on document management systems have become an essential part of organizations by allowing them to perform everyday processes with minimal human assistance. They are a potent tool for jobs like approval processes, digital signatures, automatically numbering or naming files, barcode reading, adding specific metadata or any process management of a sequential and logical task and even optical mark recognition, enabling you to capture human-marked data from any document, such as surveys, reports, and tests. This can be used for significant applications where human resources are not a priority, and thus, allowing for improved allocation of them.

7. Data

Extracting knowledge and insights from data is a well-advised technique that can help to measure an organization’s statistics and current success as well as its employees' and customers' experiences. Using multiple ways of filtering data through a Document Management System, you can gather highly valuable data sets and develop accurate forecasts and subsequent objectives to ensure a project’s success.

Takeaway

If you haven’t yet been persuaded to make the jump from old–fashioned paper-based companies or have already been using different software for database collection or collaboration systems like Google Drive, Document Management Systems have complete integration through APIs, which allow you to transfer virtually any type of data among external applications.

It’s hard to imagine a scenario where it’s not beneficial to simplify your workload, produce and manage your documents highly efficiently, not to mention the increased consistency of output.

There’s plenty of versatility here, so whether you want to get more from your economic resources, your physical infrastructure or even to improve the allocation of your human resources, using a Document Management System will take your organization to the next level, so check out its security customization tips, automation applications, and frameworks databases to help you along the way to success.

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