Every organization has a magnanimous amount of documentation to take into account. So, evidently, there is a need for a systematic system to be in place. Document management systems are used to track, manage and store documents and reduce paper.
These systems are software based and are capable of keeping a record of the various versions created. So if a person modifies a version, other people are allowed to view it and hence tracking is made easier. Since details about every version is present, there is no sense of confusion and hence efficiency is increased. This is known as history tracking. Whoever is new in the team can therefore be brought up to date really easily and quickly.
Lack of proper documentation may lead to inefficiency and loss in productivity. These systems manage and store documents in the digital format, thus enforcing certain security measures and also, there is less chance of a document getting lost.
According to ISO 12651-2, a document is “recorded information or object which can be treated as a unit”. Although this might sound a tad bit complicated, in layman terms, it is simply what we use in our day to lives to create, distribute and use.
Document management systems provide storage, security, metadata, indexing and retrieval functionalities. Some of these functionalities are discussed below-
- Metadata: stored for each document. It is basically a set of data that describes and gives information about other data.
- Capture: accepting and processing of images of hard copies of documents from devices like scanners.
- Data validation: making sure that the data entered is valid-checks for missing signatures, spelling errors and other errors.
- Integration: users may retrieve existing documents directly from the document management system repository, make changes, and save the changed document back to the repository as a new version, all without leaving the application.
- Indexing: tracking of the documents- supports information query and retrieval.
- Retrieval: retrieval of the various documents from the storage.
- Storage: includes managing the documents, where they are being stored, for how long, etc.
- Distribution: usually a electric link to the original document is distributed, rather than the distribution of the original master copy.
- Security: documents are secure and at the same time compliant with all the regulations.
- Collaboration: allows documents to be retrieved and worked on by authorized users. Access to other users must be blocked while a particular document is being worked upon.
- Searching: finding documents and folders using template attributes or full text search.
- Workflow: different types of workflow are suited to different establishments.
- Versioning: involves check in/ check out processes such that people can retrieve previous versions and continue to work from a selected point.
- Federated search: This refers to the capability to extend search capabilities to draw results from multiple sources, or from multiple DMSs within an enterprise.
- Publishing: proofreading, reviewing, authorizing, printing, approving, etc. are included here.
- Hard copy production: Document/image reproduction is often necessary within a document management system, and its supported output devices and reproduction capabilities should be considered.
As far as key features of a document management system are concerned, the following are the main highlights-
- Check-in/check-out and locking, to coordinate the simultaneous editing of a document so one person’s changes don’t overwrite another’s
- Version control, so tabs can be kept on how the current document came to be, and how it differs from the versions that came before
- Roll-back, to “activate” a prior version in case of an error or premature release
- Audit trail, to permit the reconstruction of who did what to a document during the course of its life in the system
- Annotation and Stamps,
VComply is one such software, which along with handling your compliances also handles your documents to make sure you never misplace or lose any of your hard work.
DMSs are here to put to rest all your worries about all those tons of documents you have to take care of. And if your organization still has a storage room full of dusty files and important documents covered with cobwebs, it is high time you shift to a software based management system before you lose them forever.
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