No matter how large or small your business is or what industry you work in, you most likely deal with a lot of paperwork. From invoices and sales receipts to reports, white papers, and bank statements, most businesses rely on a wide range of documents for their basic day-to-day operations.
One challenge every business faces is figuring out how best to manage all of their paperwork. This is where document management systems (DMS) can help. What is document management? In essence, it is the process by which businesses store, manage, access, and edit documents.
These powerful tools make the process of dealing with documents of all types a lot faster, easier, and more efficient. In order to understand how one of these systems can benefit your business, you first need to learn a little bit more about how they work.
A typical business generates a tremendous amount of paperwork on a daily basis. For instance, if you sell products directly to customers, a single order can result in multiple documents. These documents usually include the initial inquiry from the client, the completed order form, and the final invoice. If any of your employees communicate with the client through email, the messages also need to be stored so they can be accessed again in the future.
Without a document management system, all of these documents are usually stored in different places. For instance, most companies have a filing system where they store invoices and order forms. Electronic copies are usually stored in a computer folder while hard copies are stored in physical filing cabinets that are located on-site. Email messages, on the other hand, are usually kept on the server or stored in a special area that is dedicated to keeping records from electronic communications.
While this may make sense from an organizational standpoint, it can also be quite problematic. Having the documents stored in multiple locations makes it difficult to access them after the sale is complete.
If a customer contacts you about their order, you can’t just pull up all of the information about their account with the click of your mouse. Instead, you have to take the time to gather all of the documents from different places. This is not only time-consuming but it also makes it more difficult to find the specific information that the customer is looking for.
Document management systems solve all of these problems, making it extremely easy to store, organize, and access documents. In this case, all of the documents from the customer’s order would be stored in the same place on the same server. Because the server is centrally located, any employee who was authorized could access the information from their workstation. This makes it far easier to respond quickly to inquiries or to access important information on an as-needed basis.
Another advantage of using a DMS is that it makes it easier for multiple employees to collaborate on projects with one another. Documents that are stored in the system can be edited by multiple people. If someone needs to make changes to the document, they first have to check in, alerting anyone else who is working on the project that someone else is active and making changes. The system is designed to prevent people from overwriting each other’s changes if they are working on the document at the same time.
In most cases, it will also save multiple versions of the document, showing the original version and any changes that were made. Changes by specific employees can be highlighted in different colors, allowing everyone who is working on the project to see who contributed specific information to the document. As an added bonus, any unwanted changes can be rolled back, restoring the document to its original state in case of any problems or errors.
From a security standpoint, these systems are also an excellent choice for any business. They allow you to set customized permissions to control who can access and edit specific documents. They also create a record of the date and time the documents were accessed as well as information on who pulled them up. This makes it easy to see at a glance who has been accessing certain documents.
Another thing that makes these systems unique is that they can be used to store a wide range of document types and file formats. Along with standard documents and spreadsheets, they can also store images, voice recordings, and videos. All of these media types can be tagged with relevant keywords and can be linked to other associated documents, meaning that they can easily be accessed with a simple keyword search.
Documents that are stored in the system can be created on a computer and saved directly to the electronic storage area. Alternatively, they can also be scanned in with a document scanner or digitized in some other way. This provides a lot of versatility in terms of the types of documents that can be stored, edited, and accessed.
What is document management and how can it benefit your company? In essence, these systems can help with every aspect of controlling and accessing documents and paperwork.
From a workflow standpoint, they can streamline your processes, making it faster and easier to save, edit, and access documents.
These systems also allow you to respond more quickly to customer inquiries, making it much easier to find all of the documents that are related to a particular account. Employees can easily collaborate on documents using one of these systems, as well. They do an excellent job of tracking edits and preventing people from overwriting each other’s changes.
What is document management? It is a way for businesses to take control of their paperwork so that they can manage it in the most efficient, effective way possible.
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Whether it’s a big organisation or a small organisation, a lot of documents are generated each day and every single document is important which means it needs to be stored in an easily retrievable manner. The need to manage the content produced by an organisation in a variety of forms has given rise to a huge variety of enterprise content management systems.
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