Integration of document management into core systems continues to be one of the most prevalent information management trends in business. Most organizations have embraced some form of software-based document management system, and this is true even among small businesses due to the many organization benefits a DMS can provide.
1. The Almost Paperless Office
A business world that doesn’t use any paper once seemed like a very real possibility. Practical experience has revealed that no office is likely ever be truly paperless, but businesses can get close and reap many organizational benefits due to that effort. A reliable, efficient DMS is essential to achieving a nearly paperless office, and one of the major advantages of doing so is the sheer reduction of clutter due to being able to have on hand and store only those physical documents that are imperative to possess in that manner.
2. What You Need, When You Need It
Even if the paper document you need is in a file cabinet across the room, the process of retrieving that information wastes time. Using a DMS, you can search for the document you need and pull it up electronically within seconds. With this digital copy, you cannot only read it but easily integrate it into other work, and if you need a physical copy, then you can just create one on demand.
Document management offers a feature called tagging, and it often has an even bigger effect on organization than indexing and searching. Tagging is the ability to give documents tags or labels, and a document can have any number of these identifiers. What this does is help to overcome one of the greatest shortcomings of traditional document management: knowing what document you need. With tags, organizations can associate documents with aspects of the business or time periods and even organize them into thematic clusters or some other systematic grouping.
4. Workflow Automation
Workflow automation is an important tool for any modern business, and it allows them to process information in an orchestrated and repeatable way. A document management system is therefore an essential component of any workflow automation system. Perhaps the most important workflow automation benefit that a DMS provides is the ability to control simultaneous access. In a traditional system, only one person could have access to a master document at a time, and if that person made a change, it would invalidate all copies without the people possessing them being aware of it. With workflow automation, many people can work on a document at the same time, and it’ll remain current.
5. Change Notifications
Another benefit that involves workflow automation is the concept of change notifications. In fact, many DMS have integrated Really Simple Syndication or RSS, or an alternative technology. What this allows is for a person or an entire department to subscribe to a document. When changes are made to that document, the subscribers receive a notification via email or some other means informing them of the changes and providing them with a brief overview of what was changed.