Document management software helps you manage the constantly accumulating volume of documents. Documents have a habit of proliferating in any business. Correspondence, invoices, bills, blueprints, process charts, organization charts, photographs, product specifications, production plans, accounts, budgets, and numerous other documents can quickly make them unmanageable.
Document Management – The Issues
Storage: How can you save on space, equipment cost and staff for storing all the documents?
Organization: As indicated in the opening paragraph, the variety of documents is bewildering. How do you classify and sub-classify these to facilitate easy retrieval later?
Finding Needed Documents: As documents accumulate, you have to physically arrange them in a way so that you can find a particular document quickly when needed.
Workflow Issues: In a business, documents typically pass from person to person before they finally find a resting place. How can you facilitate the movement and economize on incidental costs?
Procedures: Who should see each document? What can they do with it? Instructions and safeguards have to be in place.
Collaborative Working: When a document requires contributions from several persons, how can the collaborative document creation process be made easier?
Security Concerns: You don’t want unauthorized persons to access your business documents. Even authorized persons should not be able to tamper with these without being detected. How do you ensure these?
Preservation: All physical documents deteriorate over time. They can also get damaged or lost in a fire or other disaster. How can you preserve them in usable condition as long as necessary?
Policies: Policy decisions and clear instructions are needed on issues like the length of time for retaining each type of document and what to do with expired documents.
As would be evident from the above, document management is not a simple task. Physical, organizational, procedural, and policy issues are involved even in a small business.
Documents and Regulations
Document management issues are complicated further by several regulatory requirements. You have to keep certain kinds of records under employment, health & safety, tax, and other regulations. These often have to be maintained in a government-determined format.
How do you comply with the regulatory requirements and yet keep costs to a tolerable level?
Document Management Systems
To help you cope with the document related issues discussed earlier, document management systems—DMS—have appeared in the market. Computerized DMS provides an entirely new dimension of paperless (or more realistically, paper-minimized) document management.
Each of these document management issues, and how DMS handles these, will be identified in separate articles.