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What is a document management system? 

A document management system (DMS) is a process or technology used to create, store, and track documents in electronic formats. Modern enterprise document management uses hardware like scanners and servers, and updateable document management software to convert high volumes of paper documents into digital files.

Electronic documents boost productivity and reduce errors, saving organizations millions of dollars. Installing a DMS is a high priority initiative for firms looking to streamline operations.

What is content management?

“If you strip away all of the technology and terminology that we use to describe information systems, what do you have left? A simple and utterly commonplace idea: Information systems help you talk to people who are not in front of you.”—Bob Boiko, a well-known professor and author of the book: Laughing at the CIO, as quoted in the book “Web Content Management” by Deane Barker.

We tend to think that the term content management refers exclusively to managing electronic data or files. However, content management has been around as long as any form of content has.

The Great Library of Alexandria (estimated to date as far back as 285–246 BC) was probably the earliest known form of content management. Its layout (meeting rooms, a dining area, and lecture halls) became a blueprint for early Greek university campuses. And its rich collection of papyrus scrolls became the basis for the Greek education system. Records of this Great Library reveal early (but sophisticated) forms of tagging, cataloging, and indexing—it had all the makings of a modern content management system.

In the modern context, content management refers to collecting and managing information (in many formats), including publishing, storage, retrieval, and access control. 

A Content Management System or CMS manages content in various forms and media, usually automating repetitive, manual tasks. A CMS offers different tactical advantages to organizations as compared to document management systems. A CMS includes web content management systems (like WordPress, Wix, and SquareSpace), learning content management systems, records management systems, and enterprise management systems.

Modern enterprise content management systems (ECMs) manage diverse data formats like text, graphics, video, and audio. An ECM handles more than word-based documents. This ability is vital for organizations like courts, universities, creative studios, etc. The use of non-textual data formats like artwork, audio-visual content, meta-data, etc., will continue to increase at a staggering pace in the future, and ever-more sophisticated ECMs will evolve to manage and enable efficient use of that data. The term “enterprise” signifies that software is suitable for large organizations or enterprises.

The difference between a Document Management System (DMS) and Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

Document management and enterprise content management are overlapping terms, but there are some striking differences:

A DMS works with structured data stored in a rigid, well-defined format. File formatting turns all content and rules into a single unit. Document Management Systems capture and manage these structured files very well. Some key features of a DMS include check-in/check-out, i.e., access control, version control, and workflow management.

ECMs have a robust software architecture that handles both structured and unstructured data. An ECM becomes a central repository of all usable information that an organization needs (from its corporate logo to its employee records and everything in between). ECMs also feature robust access controls, categorizing and storing of web and offline content, and security features. 

Which software an organization chooses depends on its needs. ECM offers powerful collaboration and productivity advantages, while a DMS is a cost-effective solution to handle all aspects of document control.

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Key components of a Document Management System

Document management systems organize and manage electronic files. All physical documents are first converted to digital format then integrated into the DMS via a multi-step process. The process begins with scanning and includes indexing, data extraction, workflow management, and document retention.

Scanning

Scanning, or document imaging, creates digital facsimiles (digital copies) of physical documents using specialized optical scanning machines. 

Once an organization decides to incorporate document digitization into its workflow, the next step is to pick which scanner to purchase. Document scanners are available in many sizes and capacities, from compact home office scanners that scan a few dozen pages a day to high-speed production scanners that process over a hundred thousand pages daily. Scanners also offer other features like wireless networking, different file-saving formats, page size flexibility, etc. 

Ask an expert scanning services provider like DRS Imaging to recommend the right type of scanner for your organization, based on your digitization requirements and budget. We are a channel partner to Kodak Alaris and Canon and offer end-to-end sales and sales support for office scanners. 

Indexing

Once scanned, digital files are indexed or categorized for easy search and retrieval before integrating it into the DMS. Indexing is the process of attaching identifiers or tags to a file according to a pre-defined system, so users can search and retrieve the file later. The most common tags used are the serial number, name, and date of creation. Indexing maintains uniformity in the document filing systems. It minimizes expensive processing errors like lost or misplaced files. Recent innovations in Machine Learning provide advanced document management systems like DocuWare with intelligent indexing functionality that automatically reads a file’s index entries and categorizes it appropriately.

Data extraction

Some documents have a fixed structure, e.g., banking forms. But PDFs, contract documents, and spreadsheets are unstructured by nature. Other documents like invoices or receipts have varying layouts but contain the same type of data—these are semi-structured documents. Extracting data from different types of documents requires different methods. Unstructured data is not extractable or searchable by the DMS and, therefore, holds no value. 

Optical character recognition (OCR) software converts unstructured scanned images into structured data. OCR engines extract data from images so the DMS can read, index, and report the information contained in them. OCR is a valuable component in a DMS or ECM.

Workflow

A document workflow is a business process that defines the path and access rules of a document through its life-cycle. A well-defined workflow is vital to a streamlined business process

Research by McKinsey suggests that up to 45% of employee activities can be automated using more efficient processes and technologies.

Specialized workflow management software (WMS) tracks and manages processes. Many DMSs now include full-fledged WMS, but standalone offerings have specialized features like Intelligent Indexing and archival. DRS Imaging is a Docuware partner. We deploy powerful ECM and WMS solutions tailored to match an organization’s current needs, yet flexible enough to grow with the organization.

Audit trails

Document management systems provide a complete tracking log of all user access and file amendments. Systems administrators can view this audit trail and track any change or activity in the DMS. The audit trail pinpoints accountability in collaborative work situations.

Version control

As documents move through respective workflows, they go through multiple edits and rounds of manipulation, with each new amendment constituting a new version. Version control tracks and controls changes to files over time, especially in collaborative work situations. Teams manage multiple document versions using well-defined nomenclature rules for files and folders. But these often prove to be time-consuming and inefficient processes. Specialized version control software automates version storage, creates backups, tracks access and changes to documents, and maintains a history of every version of the file. Version control software accelerates business processes, reduces errors, and avoids loss of information due to version conflicts.

Analytics

Document analytics is a data-driven technique to track which users access documents in a workflow and when and where the documents are accessed. Analytics streamline internal processes and logs strengths/weaknesses in a system to meet regulatory compliance. Documents drive business processes within an organization. Once you know who is accessing documents, when and for how long, you will be able to identify operational inefficiencies, discover opportunities for automation, streamline workflows, address bottlenecks, and re-design complex processes.

Typical Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for document analytics may include vendor ranking based on quality parameters, lead time, document processing time, and employee productivity.

Document retention

Document retention sets up rules governing what happens to some or all documents in the organization’s data repository (such as a data warehouse or data lake) at specific points in time, over long periods. For example, DMS rules automatically send out copies of some files to employees at a future date with instructions on what to do with secure documents as they reach their designated end-of-life. Document retention policies are necessary for regulatory compliance. Well-defined document expiration dates make paperless systems easy to maintain. Retention policies define the rules for destroying unnecessary documents and archiving old documents. Once business documents are well-organized, it eliminates or reduces errors in workflows caused by inaccurate or misplaced information.

Document security

Document security protects a document against unauthorized access, amendments, or deletion. Document security is a critical function of document management systems; secure sharing of sensitive files, adequate safeguards to prevent data theft, strict access control, and automated backups. Organizations that deal with sensitive customer information like banks or healthcare companies must select a DMS that uses advanced encryption techniques for safe, secure document handling, transfer, and storage.

DRM (Digital Rights Management) offers a higher level of document security, with more access control and customization than encryption. DRM algorithms typically restrict unauthorized viewing, copying, or printing. 

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Types of content managed by a Document Management System

Scanning Paper Records

Scanning paper records to create electronic versions boosts an organization’s efficiency by consolidating information and reducing redundancy. Active business documents like employee records, project blueprints, sales records, etc., are good candidates for digitization.

Electronic Document Integration (email, Office documents, PDFs, etc.)

Though paper documents must be converted into electronic documents, many business documents are created in electronic format. Emails, online data capture forms, word processing documents, Excel spreadsheets, and AutoCAD drawings are a few examples of files that start out electronic. PDFs take electronic files and convert them into another form of electronic file that’s universally readable: a portable document format is software-independent—you don’t need a specific program to view it. You only need a PDF reader, free software used around the world. Cloud storage and computing services for individuals and enterprises make digital document retention convenient, affordable, and feasible.

Active vs. inactive records

Active records relate to ongoing business processes, while inactive records belong to completed workflows. In both cases, the document management system must manage the records as per the established business rules. Active records are accessed frequently and tagged in a way that access is readily available. Inactive records usually end up in archives, long term storage, or are sent for shredding. 

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Industries that benefit from document management

In a VUCA world (one that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous), document digitization—the first step towards digital transformation—is a proven practice that benefits many industries because it’s easy to implement, secure, and comes with incredible time-saving tools. Recent estimates say the global document management services (DMS) market size will exhibit a CAGR of 13.04% from 2020 to 2025 (USD 4.89 billion in 2019, expected to reach USD 10.17 billion by 2025). These statistics cover early adopters like healthcare, education, and financial services. But they also take into account slower-moving industries like government agencies, manufacturing, construction, and engineering firms.

Let’s look at some industries that benefit significantly from a DMS.

Healthcare

A document management system (DMS) gives healthcare providers time to focus on their core function: healing patients. 

Benefits of a DMS in healthcare:

  1. A centralized document repository 
  2. Uniform processes and consistent care across multiple branches.
  3. Fast and accurate collaboration between departments, such as labs and doctor teams.
  4. Security: Paper documents can’t match the protection and confidentiality of electronic hospital records filing. 
  5. Compliance with HIPPA guidelines and privacy laws to minimize the risk of fines and lawsuits from non-adherence.
  6. Lower costs: no more printing paper records, storage space, or filing cabinets.

Manufacturing

The manufacturing sector operates under strict quality controls and adherence to standard operating procedures. With a paper-based system, the complexity of maintaining handbooks and guidelines increases over time. Manufacturing organizations gain cost-efficiency by reducing or eliminating paper documents like spreadsheets, process guidelines, and engineering drawings. 

A DMS has these advantages:

  1. Improved operational efficiency with a seamless flow of information between multiple office locations and instant access to information.
  2. Indexing ensures fast and accurate retrieval of documents from thousands of records.
  3. Security of intellectual property through tight access control. 
  4. Secure cloud storage and affordable backups to better protect data from accidents and natural disasters.
  5. A central document repository links documents to inventory, supplier lists, BOMs, and supply chain documents.
  6. Minimal human intervention to increase the accuracy of data and directly improve production quality. 

Financial Services & Insurance

Financial service providers rely on accurate and streamlined data to deliver high-quality services to their customers. This industry reaps the maximum advantages of a DMS in these ways:

  1. With millions of customer records, the instant search and retrieval feature of a DMS is critical for financial service providers. A DMS also ensures multi-location remote access to data; city-level and national-level branches of the institution work collaboratively via a shared document repository.
  2. Statutory compliance requirements for data security, confidentiality, and privacy that exceeds paper documents.
  3. A smoother, more accurate audit trail for direct competitive advantage.
  4. Digital mailrooms cut customer transaction and communications costs. Since financial service providers deal with large volumes of mail every day, digital mailrooms offer significant benefits.

The insurance industry, too, is document-intensive, with numerous policy forms, receipts, claim applications, and contract records to maintain. A DMS brings many benefits, including workflow automation for more efficient business processes, faster and more efficient customer service, fewer errors, and lower document storage costs. 

Construction & Energy

Construction projects depend heavily on the accuracy of calculations, cost projections, drawings, and project management. A document management system lends measurable benefits to this sector: 

  1. Accurate project documentation directly impacts the company’s ROI. Project managers at different sites need accurate data instantly for fast decision-making, information exchange, and simultaneous access for teams working remotely—something a paper-based system doesn’t support. 
  2. Even a small construction project involves coordination between the company and several suppliers and vendors. Electronic records make it possible to keep track of deadlines, ensure turnaround times, and adhere to timelines.

The energy sector works under immense pricing pressure. An efficient DMS allows remote sharing of drawings and blueprints with off-shore teams, faster document sharing, and cheaper storage costs—all of which contribute to reduced operational costs and better productivity.

Engineering

Engineering projects rely on thousands of documents that are fundamental to accurate and timely project completion. Every project involves many stakeholders at different stages and various on-site and off-site locations. Successful engineering companies and facilities managers follow document management best practices, including using a DMS to handle large-format drawings, project schedules, access control, and, most importantly, version control:

  1. Project blueprints, drawings, and document references form the backbone of engineering organizations. A DMS preserves data authenticity and reduces the chances of manual errors. 
  2. Large-format drawings are expensive to print, inconvenient to carry, difficult to share, and hard to preserve over time. Digital files are easy to transfer, access remotely from off-site locations, and share collaboratively with tight access control. Digitization offers significant cost savings in printing. A DMS manages high-volume large-format engineering drawings economically and at scale.
  3. A DMS efficiently captures workflows in turnkey projects and promotes higher operational productivity. 
  4. Digitization keeps proprietary data, company innovations, and patented systems secure and protected.
  5. Electronic filing reduces task repetition during the project life-cycle.

Wholesale, Distribution & Transportation

The wholesale sector functions under tremendous pressure from demanding delivery times and thin profit margins. The efficacy of their order management process affects operational costs and ultimately impacts revenue. Order management is a document-heavy process with order forms, shipping manifests, bills of lading, invoices, and delivery receipts. Real-time access to all this business information helps speed up distribution workflows, resulting in cost savings and a definite competitive edge.

A DMS brings clear benefits to the wholesale and distribution industry:

  1. Streamlines distribution workflows
  2. Saves costs on invoice processing
  3. Improves the entire supply chain from purchase to pay
  4. Enhances process control and eliminates inefficiencies
  5. It helps boost customer satisfaction.

Another domain that follows similar workflows due to an intricate supply chain is transportation. A DMS offers superior logistic management for transportation companies. An efficient DMS converts, stores, and manages documentation so the transport sector can deliver service on-time, optimize their schedules, and lower operational costs. 

Government & Legal

Government agencies deal with a high volume of incoming mail, regulatory documents, and constituent information. Their top considerations are to maintain operational efficiency, manage public perception, and cut costs. Here’s how electronic records management benefits government agencies: 

  1. Track document flow from origin to destination, including points of access and editing.
  2. Better security, confidentiality, and data protection than a paper-based system.
  3. Compliance with data privacy laws and statutory regulations.
  4. Maintain data integrity over time since electronic records don’t fade.
  5. A centralized repository raises overall efficiency in governance through its cost and time-saving features.

Timely access to accurate information is critical in the legal services industry. Litigation management, adherence to regulations, and addressing privacy concerns are the main checkpoints for legal firms. A robust DMS brings firms in alignment with security and compliance protocols and saves legal teams hours of manual work searching through documents and ensuring that critical case papers are not lost or misplaced.

K-12 Education

School districts maintain student transcripts, manage schedules, maintain fee records, comply with education laws, and track educator standards. An automated document management system at a K-12 education institution:

  1. Eases operations by allowing authorized users access to student and employee records instantly.
  2. Raises departmental accountability by tracing document workflows.
  3. Reduces the costs incurred in printing, upkeep, storage, and retrieval of years’ worth of student records.
  4. Improves student record confidentiality and adherence to data preservation norms.
  5. Seamlessly integrates with existing business applications in schools.

Higher Education

Today, universities reel under the workload of traditional paper-based systems. Electronic data management practices create competitive advantage:

  1. Increased student satisfaction with quick access to records, transcripts, grade reviews, and scholarship applications.
  2. Improved odds for grants and superior funding by maintaining structured data about student track records, research & development activities, scholarship contributors, and alumni networks.
  3. Improved document classification, storage, retrieval, and archiving processes.
  4. Enhanced information management and governance at an institutional level.
  5. Prevents data breaches that frequently affect paper-based systems.
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Key departments that benefit from document management

Just as some industries reap richer rewards than others with document management practices, some departments within an organization benefit more than others. Not surprisingly, the departments with paper-based processes stand to gain the most:

Accounts payable

An effective DMS streamlines AP processes such as retrieving goods receipts, invoices, and contracts from a centralized location. It integrates with the existing ERP and enables real-time status checks of invoice processing. It raises both the quality and the speed of the entire invoice processing mechanism.

Accounts receivable

A comprehensive accounting document management system gives the AR team better control to track and monitor transactions. The DMS has alerts for outstanding dues, taxation features, and improved monitoring for audit compliance. A DMS enhances accuracy in financial projections and gives decision-makers a realistic idea of the company’s financial health.

Human resources

Managing product information is challenging, but maintaining human-based data is even more challenging! An electronic DMS provides immediate access to confidential information such as employee performance records, payroll, grievance redressal, contracts, and succession planning frameworks. It saves the department a lot of time, manual effort, and energy.

Purchase/Contracts Team

The purchasing team collaborates with vendors, receives quotations, and scouts for the supplier who offers the best value. This department benefits from a DMS because it improves the department’s process speed, enables quick comparisons, and increases productivity.

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How to deploy a Document Management System?

You decide that a DMS is essential for your organization. Great! Now it’s vital to integrate the DMS efficiently into existing workflows. Like all strategic decisions, start with clear goals and define the purpose of opting for a DMS in the first place. For instance, your goal may be to create digital archives of historical records and streamline future processes into a paperless workflow. Remember that every unique purpose will likely have different constraints like cost, timelines, and stakeholder approvals. 

Choosing the DMS provider

Designate an internal champion to drive the DMS adoption (in larger organizations, this may be a committee). Next, select an experienced and reputed DMS service provider to manage implementation. 

Research, plan, and develop a scope of work

Approach a DMS integration within the framework of a formalized project management methodology (such as Agile) to ensure a systematic, results-oriented execution.

In the research stage, a project manager first gains a thorough understanding of current workflows, tools, and internal processes. The project manager also evaluates if any business processes are too complex and need to be simplified. This research paves the way to an appropriate configuration of the DMS in the implementation stage.

In Project Management methodology, the research and planning step is called “Project Scoping.” The project scope is a collection of all processes that define objectives, tasks, and resources that affect project success. The key is to ensure that the scope is neither too broad (to avoid ambiguity, open timelines, and resource overruns) nor too narrow (to gain significant impact).

Project scope is a four-step process:

  1. Scope Planning: Identify project objectives, KPIs, success parameters, and project start/stop points. Granular details such as IT protocols, business processes, and timeframes are also defined.
  2. Scope Definition: Identify stakeholders and their primary and secondary needs. Map all external factors that can affect the project.
  3. Scope Documentation: While this may seem an obvious step, it is one that many organizations skip! It is vital to formally document all agreed-upon objectives, parameters, timelines, and workflows.
  4. Scope Change Management: Define a framework to accommodate (or reject) proposed changes to the scope after the project is underway. 
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Deploying a DMS on the Cloud vs. On-Premise

Most organizations do not doubt the benefits of a DMS. One of the considerations open to discussion is whether to operate it in the Cloud or opt for on-premises deployment.

Consider setup and maintenance cost, security, scalability, connectivity/accessibility, security, and legal compliance. Here is a comparison of both approaches:

Cost: On-prem DMS installations have a higher setup and maintenance cost. Hardware, software, and infrastructure all add up to higher initial costs than cloud deployments. Cloud versions follow a subscription-fee model or a pay-as-you-go model. Lower initial setup costs make cloud deployments more feasible for many organizations to get going with DMS adoption.

Security: Best-of-breed cloud solutions provide you with top-level security. Cloud providers with deep pockets invest heavily in keeping client data safe at all costs. For companies opting for on-premises DMS versions, security is their responsibility, and they must hire data security experts to mitigate risks of external assaults or internal data leaks.

Scalability: With a cloud-based DMS, you have the flexibility to scale as you grow. Software updates are automatically applied so that your cloud version is always up-to-date! Scaling up is immediate and as simple as updating your subscription. On-premises DMS installations require prior planning, anticipating needs for a few years. Both hardware and software have a limited life, and upgrading them is the organization’s responsibility. Scaling up takes time and planning.

Connectivity/Accessibility: A cloud-based DMS is always on and always accessible as long as the user has internet connectivity. Remote access, mobile-readiness, access controls, collaborative features, document sharing, and transfer are all easier on the Cloud. On-premises versions are in the complete control of the hired IT administrators and usually score lower on accessibility.

Compliance: On-prem DMSs have a high degree of control over compliances and mandatory regulations, provided the organization is prepared to add resources and implement and monitor adherence to regulations. Companies opting for Cloud versions must carefully understand the cloud service provider’s compliance standards and ensure that they match their regulatory requirements.

To summarize: Cloud deployment brings scalability, involves no (or low) initial setup costs, and is financially more feasible for many organizations. On-premises deployment is a throwback system still in use because of a misconception that relates to control and mistrust of “Big IT.” On-prem servers increase operational costs, including human resources and hardware. The ultimate choice should consider not just current but future needs as well. Assess your document management requirements thoroughly, evaluating Cloud vs. on-premises versions. In almost all cases, companies today opt for the Cloud. 

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Industry-leading Document Management Systems and Tools

Several DMS products are available in the market today, including scanners for document capture, software for indexing and classification, and document archival and storage solutions. 

There are dozens of choices, divided by areas of expertise, geographical availability, cost, etc. Here are our top picks for each stage of the workflow:

Mercury 

Mercury’s DMS and ECM (Enterprise Content Management) software suites are among the best in the business with rule-based automation setups that are particularly great in two areas: Information Governance and Storage Optimization. Mercury solves real business problems: whether it is to analyze, classify, or migrate data using automation or manage and securitize documents throughout their lifecycles while cutting IT costs.

Docuware

Docuware is a scalable, intelligent, archival system contained within a powerful ECM. It uses machine-learning technology to automate document indexing. With DocuWare, vast document archives can be indexed and classified at blazing speed. Docuware is available in both cloud and on-premise versions. This means that organizations can adopt Docuware at an early stage and scale up their usage as they grow. Docuware is user friendly, scalable, and future-ready. It’s an excellent content management system for organizations of any size.

Canon document scanners

Canon is a market leader in document scanners for a reason. From compact, portable document scanners with a daily capacity of just 100 pages to high-speed production machines with a daily capacity of 70,000 pages, Canon scanners offer superb value with award-winning features and industry-leading durability. Grayscale (B&W) and color scanners are available with different output file types. 

PSIGEN intelligent capture

Psigen is a specialist in image capture, data extraction, and publishing to any CMS software. The PSICapture solution uses proprietary OCR/ICR technology and an intelligent system that eliminates manual data entry from the document digitization process. It works well with dozens of scanners and virtually all DMS software and makes a perfect data processing software add-on.

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Conclusion

DMS implementation is strategic. When done right, it brings significant advantages. From museums and government offices to home offices and major conglomerates, digitization makes document-heavy workflows efficient. 

With so many moving parts and optimization levels to get right, many organizations prefer consulting with document management experts like DRS Imaging to plan and execute their digital transformation journey, starting with DMS implementation. 

DRS Imaging has decades of expertise in document management services such as planning, procurement, DMS implementation, and workflow optimization. DRS consultants work with organizations to understand their needs and plan every step—from choosing the right kind of scanner to installing and seamlessly integrating a DMS in their existing workflows. 

DRS offers a range of turnkey document digitization solutions, including digital mailrooms, offsite storage, and archival solutions.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is document management?

Document management, in its simplest terms, is a system that manages documents. Modern document management manages native electronic files and paper documents that are converted into digital files using scanners. Electronic documents can be filed, retrieved, updated, and shared easily, cutting storage costs, and increasing productivity.

What is a document management system?

A document management system is a process or technology used to create, store, and track documents in electronic formats. Modern enterprise document management includes hardware and software systems like scanners, servers, and document management software that organizations use to convert their vast document volumes into digital files.

What does document management software do?

At a fundamental level, document management software scans paper documents, extracts data from structured and unstructured documents (using OCR technology), and indexes the data for easy retrieval. Modern document management systems have several advanced features to manage and control access to records. These include utilization reports, audit trails, security logs, eForms, eSignatures, mobile accessibility, backups for disaster recovery. 

Can SharePoint be used as a DMS?

SharePoint is popular for document storage and management in large organizations across the world. It stores high volumes of documents and provides activity logs. You can access documents remotely and from mobile devices. As it is a Microsoft product, SharePoint integrates with commonly used business software such as MS Word, MS Excel, PowerPoint, etc. As it is a platform rather than a single product, it is customizable and configured to suit your organization’s specific needs. While SharePoint is suitable for document storage, complexities crop with more advanced functionality. Its search function performs poorly. And its initial setup and long-term maintenance are expensive.

What are three benefits of Document Management Systems?

Document management solutions (DMS) offer organizations many benefits that ultimately improve time-management and increase profitability.

1) Work remotely and collaboratively; retrieve/share documents in seconds from any location. 

2) Secure access to data with audit trails and activity logs.

3) Reduce labor and save on storage costs.

How to choose a Document Management System

When choosing a DMS, start with identifying your needs. List the current issues and challenges your staff faces and choose a solution that addresses these problems. A top priority should be to evaluate the data security features offered by the DMS. Does it comply with industry regulations and mandated security protocols? Document backup is a DMS feature you cannot afford to ignore. Does the product offer consistent and affordable data backups? 

Next, pick a DMS that is compatible with your current internal processes. It should integrate seamlessly with your accounting software, CRM, etc. Review customer support options before you buy the system. The support should be reachable by email, online chats, social media platforms, and telephone. 

Lastly, the DMS should be efficient and easy to use for everyone in the organization. Don’t forget to pick a DMS vendor who understands your industry thoroughly so you reap the maximum benefits of your chosen DMS.

What is Enterprise Content Management?

In the modern context, enterprise content management collects and manages information (irrespective of its format), including publishing, storing, retrieving, and accessing information. Modern enterprise content management systems (ECMs) manage diverse data formats like text, graphics, video, and audio. ECMs handle more than word-based documents. This ability is vital for organizations like courts, universities, creative studios, etc. The use of non-textual data formats like artwork, audio-visual content, meta-data, etc., will continue to increase at a staggering pace in the future, and ever-more sophisticated ECMs will evolve to manage and enable efficient use of that data. The term “enterprise” means that the software is suitable for large organizations or enterprises.

What is the difference between Enterprise Content Management and document management?

The terms “document management” and “enterprise content management” are often used interchangeably, but there are striking differences. One is powerfully singular, the other more comprehensive:

A DMS captures and manages structured data exceptionally well. Things like search/retrieve, update, share, check-in/check-out, i.e., access control, version control, and workflow management are key DMS tools. 

ECMs handle both structured and unstructured data from documents to employee records to graphics to audio files and everything in between. ECMs offer robust access controls, the ability to categorize and store web and offline content, and security features. 

An ECM offers powerful collaboration and productivity advantages, while a DCM is a cost-effective solution to handle documents.

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