Document Management System
Today, document management systems support the life cycle management of document based information. DMS is the acronym for the term “Document Management System”. These systems consist of a variety of technologies. DMS functions include capture, storage, classification, indexing, versioning, maintenance, use, security, and retention of documents.
Document management system, however, is designed to improve your business's handling of electronic files. The problem is that many small businesses have to deal with mixes of old-fashioned data on paper and electronic files - and in many cases, the proportion of paper data is much larger.
As content stored within a DMS is typically self contained a well-designed document management system promotes finding and sharing information easily. It does this via sophisticated search tools - and the adding of classification schemes or taxonomies to the document information being stored.
The Document management system is focused primarily on the storage and retrieval of self-contained electronic data resources in the document form. Generally, The DMS is designed to help the organizations to manage the creation and flow of documents through the provision of a centralized repository. The workflow of the DMS encapsulates business rules and metadata.
A document management system is a computer system (or set of computer programs) used to track and store electronic documents and/or images of paper documents. The term has some overlap with the concepts of content management systems. It is often viewed as a component of enterprise content management (ECM) systems and related to digital assetmanagement ,document imaging, workflow systems and records management systems.
There are many different levels of document management software available on the market - but “the best” document management systems will have at least the following features:
- focused on managing documents, though they are often capable of managing other “electronic information” such as images, movie files etc.
- each unit of information (document) is self-contained
- there are few (if any) links between documents (they may be associated by “grouping” the items using a classification scheme or taxonomy)
- focused primarily on storage and archiving and document life-cycle management including document expiry
- includes powerful workflow for incorporating business processes into the management of the documents.
- targeted at storing and presenting documents in their native format (not limited to MS-Office products but including many different information types)
- document access may be restricted at a folder or document level - and other security models may be applied
- limited ability to create web pages (suitable for intranets but not internets) typically produces one page for each document.
An effective document management solution specifies:
- What types of documents and other content can be created within an organization.
- What template to use for each type of document.
- What metadata to provide for each type of document.
- Where to store a document at each stage of its life cycle.
- How to control access to a document at each stage of its life cycle.
- How to move documents within the organization as team members contribute to the documents' creation, review, approval, publication, and disposition.
- What policies to apply to documents so that document-related actions are audited, documents are retained or disposed of properly, and content that is important to the organization is protected.
- Whether a document has to be converted from one format to another as it moves through the stages of its life cycle.
- How documents are treated as corporate records, which must be retained according to legal requirements and corporate guidelines.
DMS have the following advantages:
A DMS creates electronic images of documents and stores them centrally. Less time is spent locating the documents as they can be retrieved without leaving a desk. DMS users can also access other systems available from the desktop at the same time as retrieving documents.
Images of documents stored within a DMS can be indexed in several different ways simultaneously.
Improved, faster and more flexible search
DMS can retrieve files by any word or phrase in the document - known as full text search - a capability that is impossible with paper. A DMS can also apply single or multiple taxonomies or categorizations to a document of folder that allow documents to be classified and stored in more than one way from a “single instance” – something which is not possible with paper.
Controlled and improved document distribution
Imaging makes it easy to share documents electronically with colleagues and clients over a network, by email or via the Web in a controlled manner. Paper documents usually require photocopying to be shared. This provides a cost saving by reducing the overheads associated with paper based document distribution, such as printing and postage and removes the typical delay associated with providing hard copy information.
A DMS can provide better, more flexible control over sensitive documents. Many DMS solutions allow access to documents to be controlled at the folder and/or document level for different groups and individuals. Paper documents stored in a traditional filing cabinet or filing room have the same level of security i.e. if you have access to the cabinet you have access to all items in it. A DMS also provides an audit trail of who viewed an item, when – or who modified an item and when, which is difficult to maintain with paper.
A DMS provides an easy way to back-up documents for offsite storage and disaster recovery providing failsafe archives and an effective disaster recovery strategy. Paper is a bulky and expensive way to back-up records and is vulnerable to fire, flood etc.
No Lost Files
Lost documents can be expensive and time-consuming to replace. Within a DMS, imaged documents remain centrally stored when being viewed, so none are lost or misplaced. New documents are less likely to be incorrectly filed and even if incorrectly stored can be quickly and easily found and moved via the full-text searching mechanisms
Keeping archival versions of documents in a document management system helps protect paper documents, that still have to be retained, from over-handling and keeps electronic documents in a non-proprietary and native format, such as Microsoft Word or Excel.
Improved Regulatory Compliance
The risk of non conformance leading to fines, a withdrawn license to operate, or in certain circumstances custodial sentences when an audit takes place is reduced and in most cases removed. A combination of security control, audit trails, archiving and disaster recover ensure that an organisation is able to authenticate the validity of information stored and demonstrate compliance with regulations and requirements.
The cost of commercial property and the need to store documentation for e.g. retrieval, regulatory compliance means that paper based document storage competes with people for space within an organization. Scanning documents and integrating them into a document management system can greatly reduce the amount of prime storage space required by paper. It also allows any documents that still have to be stored as paper to be stored in less expensive locations.
Improved Internal Operations
The reduced time to complete processes provided by the tangible advantages, improves the day to day operations of all functions within an organization, leading to an improved flow of information, an increased perception of staff in their ability to solve questions and tasks and a general “feel good” factor.
The same information that was previously stored as paper, can now be distributed to customers and target audiences electronically. The “reduced time-to-market” effect can be for products, services, support – all of which improves the impression the external recipient has of the organization and provides a competitive edge over your competitors (or it removes a competitive disadvantage if they have already deployed a DMS).
Improved customer service and satisfaction
Reduced response times, a more professional response, a more accurate response with more controlled processes reduces the time spent on “manually” ensuring customer satisfaction and allows staff to allocate resource to other core business activities.
Preserve Intellectual Capital - Organizational Knowledge
The result of new or changed documentation the locality of information is not locked away in the “heads” of specific individuals and can be easily shared across departments and physical locations increasing the value of that information to the organization.