Document management got its start when filing systems were invented in the 1880s. They have come a long way since then. In today's fast-paced office environment, the document management or document management system (DMS) means an electronic filing cabinet that provides a framework for organizing digital and paper documents. Simply put, document management is how you or your company stores, manages or tracks documents electronically.
One of the challenges for the today's office is to keep up with all the paperwork and electronic files that come every day. It takes little time for paperwork in a typical office to pile up and it increasingly gets difficult to access the required paper or information quickly and efficiently. DMS provides the practical solution to the company for organizing all their paper work in one centralized location where relevant people in the office have access to it.
Must have features for any Document Management System
In today’s world, if you want your office to be efficient and organized, you need to have a good DMS. Any good document management system, whether it’s a small basic one or a large sophisticated system, needs to have these essential features:
Easy to use
Not everyone in the office is tech savvy; hence the system should be built in a way that is easy to use and effective for every employee.
The ideal document system should allow inputting of files through multiple systems such as: Scanner, Email, Mobile application, and web services
One of the most important features in DMS is security. Any good DMS should let you restrict who can see specific folder or files, or set permission to access documents or document folders.
Any good DMS should let you easily integrate programs that are already in use such as your emails or any customer management software you’re using.
A good DMS should have a robust and intelligent search engine. You should quickly be able to find the file you’re looking for not only using the file name but also through the content of the file.
Version control of the document is a must have feature. It should be a part of any document management system so tabs can be maintained on who updated/ edited the current version and how different the document is from the original version.
An ideal document management system should have inbuilt workflow automation that routes the documents to their designated folder. It also allows you to create your own processes and manage them as per your feasibility.
Two basic Types of Document Management System
Document management systems come in all shapes and sizes. However, there are two basic ones from which all the other types are stemmed from. DMS can be self-hosted or cloud based, they both have basically the same essential features but also offer some key differences. It all depends on which DMS type suit your needs best.
Self-Hosted Document Management System
This document management system is stored on your own office servers. It allows you to stay in control of your system, and you don't have to be dependent on the internet to access the files in case of emergencies. However, managing your own self-hosted DMS is expensive and requires yearly maintenance on software updates.
Cloud Hosted Document Management System
It is a DMS that is hosted by cloud server provider and can be accessed online. You’re depended on the provider to ensure that the DMS is running smoothly and is upgraded accordingly. In return, your provider charges you monthly or yearly fees for maintenance. You can access your files and folders anywhere in the world through internet.
In conclusion, a document management system is the lifeboat of any business or office. It provides significant benefits such as document repository, better organization, content security, time and cost efficiency. Hence, it’s about time that document management system should be common in every office and business place.
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