Businesses look continually for that competitive edge. And with today’s digital economy, where so many products and services are being commoditised and processes automated, any initiative to deliver improvements in any core business processes must be viewed as offering a slight business advantage.

Managing documents and information has long been seen by enterprise businesses as a way to improve processes and add to that competitive edge. And today, small and medium size business owners now view information and document management as more than just an administrative task. With each passing day and the plethora of documents and information a business creates, the profile of this critical management duty is raised and its importance highlighted. With so many regulations to comply with and data to protect, the importance of secure document and information management is a topic to which more and more small and medium sized organisations must devote more time. It is also as important to consider how this once pure administrative task can provide some business advantages.

A document management system or DMS, is a software solution that provides businesses with a system to manage and control every aspect of electronic files and documents; from scanning paper documents and combining these with existing soft documents, to storing them in a secure central repository, that is accessible to users at any time, from anywhere. A DMS will include many features and tools that allow users to search, review and process their documents. The business benefits are many, here are just a few:

  • Reduce Acquisition Time and Storage Needs.
    A DMS will have options to allow users to manually and or automatically acquire electronic documents and index them. Some will also offer A.I. features to train the system to store document information systematically. With customisable indexing and integration with other document creation tools, a DMS can quickly become the foundation of a businesses’ information management strategy. Allowing user to reduce the time to index and help reduce storage requirements.

  • Improved Safety, Security and Access Control
    Safeguarding your data, and ensuring regulations that effect both business and personal data should be addressed by a DMS. It is important that a system provides the means to not only secure the digital files it stores, but also the data related to these files. A Secure Document Management system will also provide tools to secure access to the system, offering preferences that define policies about who and how a user can access the system, the documents and information it stores and how this can be shared with others. An important feature that systems should also offer is document and activity audit trails. These are particularly important where evidence may be required for compliance with regulatory standards.

  • Document Control and Workflow
    The control of working documents and how these are shared with colleagues will also be addressed by a DMS. Features for versioning, locking files and archiving will need to be included. Combine these document control features with workflow features that allow documents to be sent to colleagues and co-workers, for action or for their information, and for these processes to be tracked and updated, will help deliver improvements of efficiency in these workflow and document control processes.