How do you currently store, manage and track documents?
If you don’t have a system, accessing a growing stack of mission-critical documents can be exhausting and overwhelming. As your small business grows so will the amount of paperwork and documents that flow through it. The need for a better way to manage documents, electronically, and improve workflow and records management will eventually arise.
What is a Document Management System (DMS)?
A document management system is a system (i.e., software or cloud-based app) that is used to track, manage and store digital documents. Most are capable of version control, roll-back, audit control, simultaneous editing and more.
Documents stored in a document management system— such as workflow diagrams, roadmaps, office procedures, employee handbooks, policy statements—provide ease of access, evidence of documentation, and for some businesses it eases the task of meeting compliance standards and industry regulations.
Must-Have DMS Features
Today, implementing a quality document management system is critical for back-office productivity, organization and ultimate success. Therefore, when searching for a reputable document management system, bear in mind that an ideal DMS should offer the following features:
When it comes to documents, most businesses combine paper and digital files. An ideal document management system will allow you to input files via a scanner, email, manual upload, bulk upload, mobile apps, and web services.
Document indexing is the process of grouping or tagging documents with identifiable search terms. Indexing creates a path to a document. For example, if documents are text-based you can index them for full text search to find a phrase contained within a document. All document management systems offer some level of indexing. An ideal DMS offers: indexing of all documents, automatic document numbering, content recognition, meta data, indexing, revision indexing, OCR in different languages, innumerable formats, etc.
No matter what indices we use, the power of document indexing is revealed when we conduct a search. A DMS search engine should provide: a safe and powerful search, content and meta data search, advanced search, and a scalable document search engine with quick results.
Document processing involves the conversion of typed or handwritten text and electronic documents into electronic information utilizing one, or a combination of, intelligent character recognition (ICR), optical character recognition (OCR) and experienced data entry clerks. An ideal document management system should: create documents using templates, link documents to records and an ERP or CRM software, check-in/out documents, and edit, forward, move, email, revise and share files.
A good DMS system, will offer business process management and workflow automation, which means it will automatically route documents to their destination. Some features may include multilevel approvals, automatic record creation and updates based on documents, to name a few.
Security is one of the most critical aspects of a document management system. Look for DMS software with a high level of encryption and role based access, as well as: audit trail, user and roles, advanced access rights, encryption, revision indexing, SSL support, and ownership modification.
You or your team will interact with a DMS through an interface and it should be simple and easy to use. Not everyone in your business is tech savvy, so the simpler the, the better. A main dashboard will offer a workflow and document inbox, alerts and notifications, reporting, follow-ups and chat, calendar, email and SMS.
Every business has its own workflow requirements. For that reason an ideal DMS should allow users to create custom: windows and records, fields and reports, document attributes, and workflow descriptions.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Gligor Chavdarov is Marketing Strategist at VIENNA Advantage, a German-based software company that provides innovative and future-oriented open source solutions such as: ERP (enterprise resource planning systems); CRM (customer relationship management systems); DMS (document management systems); application development framework; POS (point of sale) and more. Connect with @viennaadvantage on Twitter.
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