A document management system (DMS) is an electronic system designed to organize and manage documents. These documents are usually organized with software, which provides the user with the ability to access, modify, and centrally store the documents. Document management systems handle tedious tasks such as archiving, distribution, and creation of documents. An example of a document management system is the online banking section of a bank’s website that allows users to manage and access their monthly banking statements.
What Benefits can be expected from a DMS?
Convenient Retrieval: Documents are stored with the objective of retrieving them later whenever needed. These needs can be transactional, research, legal, or similar. Retrieving a particular document from the typically large volume of business documents can be difficult or even impossible unless a sound DMS is in place. Convenient and quick retrieval is a key objective of installing a DMS.
Version Control: Where different versions of a document need to be maintained (as in the case of product specifications) it’s essential to clearly identify the latest version, including the sequence of all the different versions in existence. A good DMS can eliminate the chaos that can otherwise result when attempting to locate a particular version.
Improving Workflow: Business processes typically involve movement of documents from the company to third parties, from department to department inside the company, and from person to person in a department. Several persons with different roles (such as creation, review, approval, and dispatch) will have to reference the document before it completes its intended purpose. Well-planned and efficient movement of documents can significantly speed up business processes and enhance their quality.
Regulatory Compliance: The benefit here is one of avoiding trouble, which can be serious enough to shut down the business. Government regulations require maintenance of different kinds of data and documents, and the requirements are often very complex. A good DMS will help ensure compliance with the rules, using such means as checklists, standard forms, and automatic organization.
Document Security: Maintaining documents becomes absolutely necessary to meet many different requirements. Documents can contain business secrets and other confidential data, such as product formulas or employees’ personal details. If unauthorized persons gain access to these documents, it can lead to business damage or legal damages. A DMS ensures that only authorized persons can access particular documents.
Documents also need to be secured from disasters such as fires and floods. A good DMS can make it much easier to restore the documents in case of a disaster.
Cost Reduction: Managing the sizable volume of documents generated in the course of business is expensive. In a paper-based system, paper, ink, file folders, filing cabinets, filing staff, and other requirements cost money. Even in an electronic system, you need computers, storage media, and system-administration staff. Good document management systems can reduce these costs by meeting all document-related requirements (outlined above) in a well-planned manner.
Enhanced Competitiveness: By improving business processes, reducing costs, and preventing serious losses, a DMS can actively contribute to business competitiveness.
It seems that for as long as there have been documents, organizations have been trying to manage their storage and retrieval. In recent years, companies have been replacing the arduous process of delivering, storing and retrieving documents with high-tech document management systems. There are many document management systems on the marketplace, but most offer similar functionality and benefits.
Let MCC help set your business’ Document Management System up. Contact Shell Berry by phone at 901-725-9271 or [email protected] for a live demo.