7 Powerful Advantages of Using a Document Management System
There are people who personally prefer chaotic work stations, insisting that chaos fuel their creativity. While that may be true, it hardly works in a business environment where people are usually equipped with the right productivity tools to do the right jobs. This article tackles the benefits of managing your business documents through document management software.
It happens even to the best of us. A document gets misplaced, and you spend hours looking for it, to no avail. Then, your brother or sister, friend or colleague tells you in their most dismissive tone: “Quit looking for it. You’ll find it when it decides to finally show up.”
And guess what, they almost always end up right. The moment you stop looking for the darn document, just when you already forget about it, you find it sitting innocently on a pile of other documents, on your night stand, or other places you thought you've already turned upside down but never actually had, as if enjoying every moment of the little hide-and-seek it obviously beat you at.
Now, this is a situation you can have a good laugh about if immediately finding the said document isn't a matter of life and death, or business-critical, one way or another. What if it’s that one document a team needs to get started on a stringently time-sensitive project? What if it’s something that can save a struggling company from costly litigation? Or a government-mandated shutdown, perhaps?
This is where a document management system (DMS) becomes absolutely necessary.
What exactly is a document management system?
According to iDatix, “document management encompasses the processes and procedures your organization uses as it pertains to capturing, storing, securing and retrieving information on a daily basis,” a process that can be simplified through the use of document management software.
Document management software makes it easy for businesses to combine paper and digital files into a single hub, as physical documents, including checks and business cards, are scanned and digital formats are imported. File formats supported can range from Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, PDF files, and so on.
BusinessDictionary.com cites an example on their explanation of a Document Management System : “the online banking section of a bank’s website that allows users to manage and access their monthly banking statements.”
The basic components of document management software systems include:
- Document storage
- Simultaneous editing coordination
- Security and access control
- Search and retrieval
- Version control
- Indexing and classification
- Audit trails
It’s more than just going paperless
Aside from helping keep trees upright to protect the environment from health and economic hazards such as pollution, landslides and flooding, employing a cloud-based document management software solution comes with a host of advantages.
Below are seven of them:
1. Document/file repository
Cloud-based document management systems serve as a central repository for all your important documents that can subsequently be accessed, viewed, changed and shared with colleagues. No more wasting hours upon hours of precious time frantically looking through stacks of folders to find a single document.
2. Document/content security
When documents are not managed, the possibility of important information being exposed to the wrong people is considerable. Vital, sensitive information falling into the wrong hands can bring irreversible damage to a business. Document management software solutions let you safeguard confidential business information through rigorous security policies and role-based access control (RBAC) where authorized users alone are allowed to view certain files or documents.
In the case of disasters like fire or flooding, cloud-based DMS ensures your business-critical data are kept intact, not wiped out from the face of the earth.
3. Anytime, anywhere access
As is the case with cloud-based software solutions, web-based DMS affords users the ability to access files and documents anywhere, anytime, regardless of device used, which is particularly handy when collaborating on projects with team members who are on the go or located remotely.
4. Integration with third-party software
App integration is a nifty capability that eliminates redundant data input and allows seamless information flow between disparate platforms. Not only does it save you time and effort, it maintains data integrity and accuracy as well. Some DMS even support email integration, affording you the ability to directly send files and documents to customers, colleagues, and vendor partners.
5. Better organization
With tags, categories, subcategories, and metadata to mark your files and documents, they become easier to organize, locate, and retrieve for future use. A search using the appropriate keywords can yield results in a matter of seconds.
6. Time/cost efficiency
Employee efficiency is a time-saver. Business-wise or otherwise, time saved is money saved. Add to that the fact that keeping and running a document management system can be done at absolutely no cost (for those with free options).
7. File sharing
With DMS, users get to share and collaborate on files and documents with colleagues, regardless of their location. They control who they share documents with, and files can be shared through links, published on the web or sent as password-protected files to third-party stakeholders. With the audit trail functionality, they know who has viewed or edited certain files or documents, also critical when unearthing process errors and inefficiencies.