Here's the latest news on document management software.

Itaz notes: "Studies show that employees spend a significant portion of their work hours trying to find information already available in the organization. This time spent on searching, sorting, creating and re-creating redundant documents might account for millions of dollars of wasted hours in the US alone."

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A document management system 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 could soon make them unmanageable.

Document Management - The Issues

Storage: How could 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 could 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 could you facilitate the movement and economize on incidental costs?

Procedures: Who should see each document? What could they do with it? Instructions and safeguards have to be in place.

Collaborative Working: When a document requires contributions from several persons, how could 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 could also get damaged or lost in a fire or other disaster. How could 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.

We will look at each of the document management issues, and how DMS handles these, in separate articles.

What and Why? »

Document Management »

Storage & Retention »

Organizing Documents »

Retrieval Issues »

Workflow Management »

Creation & Collaboration »

Security Concerns »

Policy Issues »

Data Recovery »