In basic terms Document Management (also known as a Document Management System or DMS), is the combination of a computer system and a software application. The main function of a Document Management System is to manage and track electronic documents and electronic images of paper based information captured through the use of a document scanner.
Document Management is the process your organisation uses to capture, manage, store, track and share your business documents.
A Document Management System has several key features:
- Document Capture provides the ability and feature set to automate the process of scanning paper documents. This is more complex than you think because you will want to consistently achieve the best image quality without the need to constantly tweak scanning settings.
- Check in/ Check out. It’s pretty obvious really but in layman’s terms this stops two people working on the same document at the same time. While the item or file is checked out, other users usually can see only the last version that was checked in; they can’t see the changes that the current user has made on the file while it’s been checked out.
- Version Control. Also known a Versioning is a method of managing multiple variations of the same document, particularly when it is important to keep a clear record of how the document was created, developed and changed over time.
- Storage . A good DMS must provide a safe central repository for the electronic storage of documents. To protect the system’s integrity in the event of loss, the system should be able to provide backup copies of stored data by the use of data replication facilities.
- Indexing. Document indexing is the process of associating or tagging documents with different “search” terms. Setting up a good document index process is key to a successful Document Management System.
- Retrieval. This is the process of using search terms or user queries to retrieve documents.
- Sharing or Collaboration. You may wish to share your documents with other business applications such as finance or HR systems.
- Security. Increased security is a huge advantage of using document management solutions, it’s much easier to restrict and manage access in an electronic world but you need to pay attention to the security of your systems.
You can make Document Management as complex or as simple as your business requirements but there is certainly a solution available for any organisation big or small.