Within the context of technology, Document Management is exactly as it sounds – it is the storage, management, security and tracking of electronic ‘documents’. The reality is that a ‘document’ takes the guide of many different forms – it should be referred to as ‘content’ instead. A Document Management System (DMS) is the software that controls and organises documents throughout your organisation.
The system will typically incorporate document and content capture, workflow, document repositories and output systems. Sometimes this software is simply a shared file network with some rudimentary security and permissions configured against it. Other times it can be a sophisticated, rule-based system specifically designed to manage documents and content.
A scary scenario…
You have to submit a report for the quarterly board meeting. You know the information you need for the report resides in 3 documents …. located in
the company’s shared file system.
You begin by looking in the likely places starting with the department folder you think its in – no luck. No problem, you go straight to the search box…. You tap in the title you think the doc is called….. oh no… 400 matches…… You try to narrow it down with dates…… er, still 50+ matches…. The panic sets in… where are the documents?!!
What is a BAD document management system?
The answer to this is more about what risks are your documents exposed to?
- Is security around sensitive information appropriate?
- Can critical documents be ‘lost’?
- Who has access to your content?
- Who has permission to edit/delete?
- Can the state of a document be ‘rolled back’ to an earlier version?
- Are ALL documents managed centrally (i.e., nothing locally on Users’
Is there a strong governance policy in place…and is it enforced? With effective information management of a company’s Information Assets, all of these issues can be controlled in simple, logical ways. The typical reasons clients approach us for Document Management are:
- Finding the content they need, in a timely manner
- Improving collaboration and communication
- Ensuring there is ‘one version of the truth’ (i.e. no more multiple version of the same doc flying around on email!)
- Increased time and cost saving
- Improved accessibility (mobile-friendly DMS, anyone?)
- Greater productivity
Without standards and processes across the organisation, Users will not know where their files and documents are meant to be held. Without information management tools people won’t stand a chance of actually finding those critical documents!
SharePoint is a great tool for the management, storage and tracking of your company documents. Having said that, you need to start off on the right foot to ensure you maximise your investment in the platform (and don’t end up hating it).