A document management system is a part of a long-term digital transformation plan. It entails the transition from manual processes to amplify efficiency, streamline operations, and increase productivity in a workplace. As the name suggests, a DMS is designed to take paper-based information such as expense reports, invoices, purchase orders or onboarding forms and extract it into a digitized format for safekeeping and on-demand access.
Just as AI solutions work intuitively to ease human-intelligence tasks, a document management system helps make business decisions based on data collated from the physical files. It allows executives to analyze, measure and react to trends and bottlenecks, building an environment for proactive policies.
What is a document management system?
An electronic automated document management system is a conduit for storing and tracking documents. Think of it as your in-house scanner on steroids. The idea of a DMS is not only to save digital copies of paper documents but also to store and distribute them in an optimized manner. This involves pulling essential information from the reports and presenting them in an understandable and malleable format. Consequentially, a DMS is also known as an electronic filing cabinet. The entire process is indispensable for any organization planning to go digital.
How does a document management system work?
There are three parts to the working of an automated DMS – capturing, storing and distributing.
1. Document Capture
This capability is concerned with the saving of documents so that you can find them later. A DMS uses indexing, i.e. document classification via metadata, order number or customer number, to section the files into searchable folders. Paper documents, emails, system-generated reports and application-produced documents are all under the ambit of a DMS document capture.
2. Central Storage
Management and retention of documents happen at this stage. All the scans and extracts of data are accumulated in a cloud-based architecture for any time, anywhere access. Both static and dynamic content is then secured via version control and editing authorization. This maintains the data integrity while allowing for on-demand information.
3. Document Retrieval and Distribution
When a document is called in question, it should be shareable in a snap. A DMS uses indexing and storage capabilities to add keyword search to the whole library. This is further integrated with content management systems, ERPs and emails to automate the entire workflow. For instance, an order goes from approval to fulfilment on completion of the predetermined triggers.
Benefits of Using an Automated Document Management System
Taking all your paper documents digital may seem like an insurmountable task, but this is exactly where an automated DMS comes into play. Businesses that choose to invest in the right equipment experience better productivity and scalable processes. Apart from this, here are some more benefits that veer towards implementing a DMS today.
1. Reduced Storage Space
Commercial property rates are at an all-time high. No matter the size of your company, continually investing an additional warehouse space to store some files can seriously hurt the bottom line. A software-based DMS takes the need for cabinets, storage bins and boxes out of the picture. Plus, the documents that you need to store in physical form can always be sent offsite in less expensive locations.
2. Comprehensive Compliances
File keeping goes a step ahead of managing the business operations of an enterprise. Various compliances laid down by the law, such as HIPAA and Sarbanes Oxley, mandate record maintenance in a secure format. An automated document management system reduces these risks of non-compliance by integrating retention schedules within the processes. In some cases, extensive fines, revoked licenses, and even criminal liability are evaded, thanks to an effective DMS.
3. Improved Security
Company sensitive data needs to be protected at all costs. Therefore, document security is one of the most important aspects of a DMS. With better control and access points, information can be distributed across folders for different individuals and groups. It also leaves a complete audit trail for document updates, informing about the last creation, access and modification. Adding to this, all files are highly traceable, allowing for automated alerts with every change.
4. Simpler Document Retrieval
An average office spends 30% of its time searching for printed documents. This can be primarily associated with unfiled, misfiled and lost papers. The unnecessary input into looking for the right information bites away employee productivity, effectively hurting the company’s efficiency model. A DMS works as a time-saving tool that retrieves files with keyword or phrase search. Faster facilitation allows easier access to critical information in times of need. Furthermore, remote access takes away the added cost of transporting files between different offices.
5. Ready for Collaboration
Today’s workforce is completely mobile. Employees need to work on the same papers while living on different continents. A document management system simplifies multiple access, ensuring quick collaboration from a variety of sources. All the captured records are kept in central storage that is equally available to every executive. Thanks to the internet, the DMS also allows for document sharing via email, better visibility in business processes, and complete workflow monitoring.
Time is practically an invaluable resource for every enterprise out there, and this is exactly what a DMS is made for. Faster and more efficient processes help employees make the most out of their capabilities by automating redundant and mundane tasks. As a growing organization, a document management system lends you the power to scale with peace of mind, competitiveness, flexibility and improved client relations.