The benefits of document management software include optimized document handling, improved data accessibility, streamlined file searches, and lower document management costs. In addition to these, having such tools around will allow you to get a tighter grasp on the security of your company files while improving collaboration by making data sharing easy.
Do you still store your documents in large filing cabinets or disconnected computers? You may notice it takes you precious minutes to retrieve even a single file. What more if you’re looking for several documents. Doing the manual process is time-consuming and arduous. This also exposes the risk of human error which may lead to lost and damaged files. Hence, businesses automate this process using document management systems.
DMS is the utilization of a software or computer system for archiving, managing and tracking documents. This modern approach to file storage handles digital files and paper-based documents that are image-captured or scanned. It is differentiated from content management systems which are used to create and publish digital content online.
In this article, we’ll explain what is document management software so you’ll understand the system’s purpose and how it can benefit your business. We also compiled some of the leading products in the niche to jumpstart your search if you decide to engage one.
Document management is no easy feat. From drafting and editing to sharing and archiving, the whole process can take up a lot of time and money. According to research, an average office spends $20 to file a single document. Inefficient document filing systems are not only troublesome for businesses but also costly. Misfiled documents can cost roughly $120 to correct while it takes $220 to reproduce a lost document if you consider the labor costs and processing fees associated with them.
With these numbers, it only makes sense for businesses to invest in the best document management systems. These tools will allow you to avoid mishandling documents as well as ensure that your files are safely stored in a digital database. Moreover, having one at your disposal will make it easy to pull documents later on when you or other team members need them.
While the demand for paper worldwide fell, actual paper usage in business rose to 126% for the past two decades. This indicates that many still use the traditional and manual process of a physical filing system. Organizations that haven’t adapted to the digital landscape yet are potentially losing out to their competitors. Furthermore, they’re also likely to face an extreme disadvantage in the future as businesses go digital and agile in order to adapt to new dynamic environments.
If you’re asking what is DMS, then you’re on the right track leveraging this business tool. Let’s help you along by explaining its uses and benefits. We even compiled some of the best practices you can apply once you implement your new document management system. This way, you can make the most out of your investment.
First, let’s talk about what is document management. In essence, it is the process of managing documents on how they’re created, shared, organized, and stored for future retrieval. This is critical for many businesses because this is where document security and recovery relies on. These are the two parts of setting up a document management system:
While it may sound simple, the steps mentioned are actually challenging to accomplish. A solution that automates, streamlines, and optimizes these manual processes involves transferring into the digital landscape and engaging a software program for handling all your files.
Here are some key features and components of DMS:
Identifying the purpose of document management software is indispensable to know whether it’s right for your business and if it will add value to your operations. It will also help you target the features and tools you specifically need in order to maximize them. We’ll list some of the advantages you can get from a DM system which may solve your organization’s problems and bottlenecks.
Paper, as it multiplies, becomes burdensome when it turns an office into a storage space. It hits a company’s efficiency and security in the long run. An essential and primary purpose of document management software is to manage your organization’s digital documents efficiently and quickly with minimum operational costs. This helps your team members to be updated on each file they’re liable to and stay on track with their projects, including those in diverse locations.
Accessing physical files can be challenging because they have to be with you all the time. They run the risk of getting left behind and don’t allow working remotely. On the other hand, Most DM software programs let you access your files even when you’re on the go. You can use it on any computer or device, such as smartphones and tablets, so you can immediately make modifications at a moment’s notice.
If you ever tried shuffling through a disorganized stack of papers and folders, you’ll know how much time is wasted doing the cumbersome task. The digital file system makes organizing, searching, and tweaking files easier to ease the painful process. Most DM software programs have optical character recognition technology to enhance file searchability based on its characteristics like the name and keyword. It may also be filed under several references such as name, date, and document number, among others. This expedites the process of retrieving the document through a full-text search box and index categories.
You may think that a physical filing system doesn’t cost you money. As we’ve mentioned earlier, according to research it will cost you double-digit figures to find a single misfiled document. And you’ll have to spend triple-digit figures to recreate a lost or damaged document. These can add up in the long run as companies lose an average of two to five files a day. Purchasing a document management solution is considered an investment because of the valuable returns it gives your company. Furthermore, it cuts down costs from ink, paper, postage, and other supplies when printing documents. It also frees up the space occupied for storing physical supplies and documents, and you don’t have to buy expensive steel filing cabinets.
There are times when modifications must be done to a document. Using a physical copy requires printing the file again to add the changes. As required, it has to be reviewed, signed, faxed, or sent again. When there are adjustments to be made, you can easily transform your digital documents in the DM software because they are responsive. It also has a robust backup solution to ensure your files are saved and protected in case your computer gets broken or you face disasters, like floods and fires.
Enterprises know the importance of keeping documents safe and secured, especially when they contain confidential and sensitive information. Failing to protect these can hurt your company’s integrity. DMS ensures all your files are protected by using role-based access control. This is an essential feature so you can regulate each user on which documents they can access and limit the actions they’re allowed to do. This safeguards your files from getting into the wrong hands.
By their purpose and nature, collaboration solutions often include document management functionality and vice versa. For instance, printing copies of the document and then comparing notes with your teammates consume time and waste physical resources. On the other hand, using the software lets you work together on a single file and receive real-time updates when changes are made to ensure everyone is on the same page when editing. By ameliorating information sharing, the documents captured from various sources can be accessed in multiple locations.
Creating physical copies of documents uses a lot of resources, especially since it’s needed on a daily basis for many companies. Paper alone accounts for 25% of landfill wastes. Add to that the energy used by printers and the disposal of ink cartridges. Transferring to a digital storage lessens your company’s contribution to wastes and eliminates strenuous disposal work.
These are only some of the benefits that may address your company’s DM requirements. Meanwhile, DM software programs aren’t created equal and each of them has capabilities and features that set them apart from each other. Hence, checking out some examples of document management software is vital to see which one fits your digital filing needs.
While DMS can be used by organizations of all types and sizes, there are many document management systems for small business available in the market. Here are examples of leading DMS products you can consider:
Document management systems are undoubtedly helpful in simplifying the creation, revision, and storage of official files. However, you should not expect these software solutions to automatically know how you want your documents to be organized. It is important that you put in some time to understand how to make these platforms work for you.
One thing you can do to make the most out of its features is through the use of document management best practices. With these, you can fine-tune your digital filing process while maximizing your new software.
It’s good for Mother Nature and it’s the most appropriate practice when you live and work in a digital and connected world. But you would need a good document management system for your Mac or PC such as those we’ve listed in the examples section of this article. You’ve read the many benefits that a DMS can bring to your organization. No more information chaos and document mess to bog down productivity and efficiency. No more costly document handling, filing, and storage. You can smooth out workflows and maximize work time. It lets you streamline document processes and approvals. You gain all these and more when you go paperless with a document management system. In fact, you can start right now with a robust document management tool built into a project management and collaboration system. Just sign up for Wrike free trial here and experience first-hand how it is to be paper free.
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