Businesses of all sizes have been discovering that storing paper-based documents is a bad idea. Documents can get lost or destroyed, they take up space and there are concerns about security. A document management system (DMS) can eliminate these issues.
Filing cabinets bursting at the seams, stacks of documents on every shelf and in every cupboard – it’s a nightmare. It’s also worth mentioning that it’s increasingly common for printing to be an option, not a requirement. So, your business documents need to be securely stored and easily available. With a DMS you can satisfy that requirement – without the associated printing costs.
Which is why more and more businesses are incorporating a DMS into their digital workplace. A good DMS will allow you to track, manage and store documents in a flexible structure. The DMS will also typically run from inside your intranet software.
So, what do you get with a typical DMS?
The main component areas are integration, indexing, storage, versioning and previewing. A good DMS will have a range of integrations available. So, seamless integration with Microsoft Office, for example, means your users can generate and upload documents all from a familiar working environment.
That integration means users can drag-and-drop from their desktops. It also means that along with other business tools, your document workflow is at the heart of your digital workplace. Most DMS products offer permissions systems too. So, you can precisely control who gets to see which documents.
Another powerful feature of a DMS is indexing. It means that every document stored inside the system will be searched for keywords. That means that as more documents are added, you get a powerful search capability. This search will also find documents based on the indexed keywords.
While powerful search capabilities are available, versioning is also a key feature. That means as a document moves through a normal business lifespan, changes to it are monitored. You’ll be able to retrieve previous versions of the document for review and comparison. It also means you’ll have a full auditable history of every document held in the DMS.
Being able to preview documents held inside the DMS is also a common feature. That means you don’t have to wait for specific software to open so you can read a document. You can preview it right there, inside the DMS. This saves time when working with the stored documents.
How about cloud storage?
Where the actual storage process is concerned, it’s common for a standard DMS to have cloud storage as an option. That means you’ll have your documents in a robust, secure environment. Backups and disaster recovery features are standard, and you don’t have to worry about running out of space.
Enhancing your digital workplace
Your digital workplace can be further enhanced with a good DMS. That’s because you can use e-forms that allow users to upload files based on the permissions system. This means uploaded documents can be managed at a granular level, to ensure document security is paramount within the workflow.
This also introduces the idea of collaboration. A DMS will allow users to share and work on documents based on their individual user permissions. That’s a powerful feature because it means authorised users can work in the collaborative environment – without ever needing to print a document. It also means system administrators have a clear overview of who worked on what and when.
Archiving is another common feature in a DMS. It provides a feature based on the ageing of documents. Your administrators will have controls where they can ‘soft delete’ documents that have reached end-of-life in terms of common usage. Archiving commonly comes with control over the superseding of documents contained within your DMS.
What about when you are on the move?
Advancements in mobile technology means many DMS providers now also have mobile apps available. Key users can access the DMS and manage documents all from their smartphones or tablets. Again, the level of access and document review can be precisely managed at user level.
The idea of a paperless office might seem like a far-off dream, but a DMS makes it much more possible. The ability to store, retrieve, preview and edit documents all within your digital workplace is now a realistic option. You only have to choose between a self-hosted or cloud-based solution.
While a DMS will incur costs, they can be offset against improvements in workflow and document management, as well as direct savings in printing costs. You’ll also save office space and get rid of stacks of paper.
Incorporating a DMS in your digital workplace is becoming increasingly relevant. Since many DMS products are available via your intranet software, and with the added benefit of security, ease of search and retrieval and workflow enhancement, it makes your decision even easier. All you need to consider is which DMS to use in your business.
Get in touch to discover more about the impact of a good Document Management System