What Is a Document Management System?

September 24, 2018
What Is a Document Management System?

In a nutshell, a good document management system helps you and your company organize files digitally even if the original files are in paper format. No one has time to dig through mountains of old paper files, and in this day and age, there is a more efficient way.

Document management systems, also known as enterprise content management systems, allows employees to quickly search for the needed documents which could be in a variety of forms: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDFs and others. 

If you have files in paper form, the paper files are converted into an electronic format by scanning the document. The electronic file can also be searched by keyword making searches easier and quicker. Eliminating paper files eliminates a company’s need to store all file boxes of information which allows a company to decrease their operational costs and increase efficiency. 

A DMS can also improve workflow. If it integrates with some or all of your other systems it can decrease time as well. If you’ve ever had an instance where you’ve been collaborating on a document with someone else only to realize you are editing an older version, DMS is definitely for you.

Document Management System Examples

Document Management Systems Examples

A good DM system is adopted and implemented across a company. Different systems offer different features including a drag and drop upload, metadata, templates, optical character recognition (OCR) and forms management, mobile interface including iOS and Android capability, document search, storage, audit trail, simultaneous online editing, version control (who did what and when), document annotations, check-in and check-out, OCR, file encryption, and two-factor authentication. 

PC Magazine came up with their best document management software systems for 2018. Looking at their top picks as document management systems examples will help you determine which system is right for your business needs.

In our experience, our clients most value the ability to collaborate (sometimes simultaneously or with a check-in and check-out feature which locks the document when one person is in it), version history (so you can see who has edited the document and when and can revert back to a previous version if needed) and the ability to search for a document using keywords. However, this will simply be up to your specific business needs.

Types of Document Management Systems

Types of Document Management Systems

There are a variety of document management software on the market to fit many business needs. However, if you don’t have anything in place currently, the state of South Carolina has suggestions on choosing a system. 

When choosing your software, check their reviews to see if they have good customer service. Feel free to use trial versions of different types of software until you find the one you like best. Since every business is different, needs for features will vary. Be sure to determine what your specific needs and priorities are before purchasing the software. 

However, if you are just starting out and need to create your document management plan, the Qatar National Project Management suggests that your outline should include many items, including:

  1. Purpose of Document Management
  2. Definition of Document Management
  3. Objectives of Document Management
  4. Document Templates
    1. Document Naming Conventions <Document Status>_<Deliverable Name>_<Document Version Number>_initials of editor or author
    2. Example: Final_Document Management Plan_v8_JJ
  5. Document Storage 
  6. Document Recovery and Backup
  7. Document Security
  8. Document and Media Destruction
  9. Document Approval
  10. Roles and Responsibilities

The National Center for State Courts’ Joint Technology Committee drafted a document on Developing and Electronic Records Preservation and Disposition Plan that goes into more detail if your business is interested in delving deeper into the topic. It is focused on courts and court-specific needs which may be interesting to our legal clients. They also detail many of the things a business will want to consider when developing a document management plan such as how long to keep records, storage, security and more.

Just going through the exercise of figuring out what all to consider when creating a document management plan will help you to think through different scenarios and what would be helpful to your business or organization.

Falcon Document Solutions Can Help

If you’re ready to implement a more efficient system, our experts can help you choose a system as well as scan your old paper documents to prepare them for incorporation into your new document management system so you and your team can focus on what you do best.

Call our experts at 817-870-1330 today to get started and increase office efficiency.

Call our document imaging and scanning experts today at (817) 870-0330 to schedule your next project.