Investing in a digital document management system may not be a topic that automatically tops the list of priorities of many management teams but its importance should not be underestimated.
An effective digital document management system can play a crucial role in helping an organisation to enhance the way information is stored, accessed and shared.
In today’s digitally connected world, the expectation that information will be available on demand and accessible on any device is likely to be the norm for many people. However, it is still not uncommon to find organisations in which people may have to spend time rummaging through filing cabinets for a particular document, or scouring their emails in search of a specific piece of information.
A digital document management system addresses these issues head on, helping to create more efficient and secure solutions to improve document workflows.
The document management process begins with the conversion of paper documents, forms and records to electronic files. Electronic conversion eliminates the need for manual paper processes which may be prone to errors. It also does away with the need for the retrieval of physical files from filing cabinets or off-site storage.
Document management software can transform the management and flow of information, making it possible to do the following:
- Turn cluttered and sometimes confusing filing into structured, easy-to-access systems
- Automate time-consuming manual processes
- Improve security when sharing sensitive documents to authorised personnel
- Support mobile working by enabling employees to access documents from smartphones and tablets
- Back up files and records as part of a disaster recovery programme
In my view, an effective document management system should have the following five basic components:
- Capture tools to bring information into the system
- Desktop, web and mobile apps that make documents easy to locate on the go
- Folder structures to organise, store and archive documents
- Workflow functionality that automates manual processes like filing and approval
- Security and audit trail functionality to protect documents from unauthorised access or modification
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