Of all the different types of management systems available in the office environment, Document Management Systems are considered by many to be the ‘core’ or most central one. Certainly, the running’s of any workplace centre around the documents being created and the information therein. Anything that improves their creation and management can only have positive effects on your business. Today’s rich Document Management Solutions definitely fit that bill – here are 5 ways they can radically boost productivity and efficiency in your workplace!
1. Superior Capture, Indexing and Retrieval of Documents
These features are the foundation of a Data Management System (DMS). Though much of our documentation today is, from its inception, digital, there will always be hardcopy – whether older original documents or recent printouts. The ability to quickly and reliably scan such information into a usable electronic form is, therefore, indispensable. Not all DMS’s place sufficient focus on capture – choosing a system such as the aptly named Canon Therefore with features like Optical Character Recognition (OCR) ensures capture of hard copy documents and even some electronic information. Your DMS then makes storing documents a simple and largely automated process. Indexing is achieved using sources including metadata, barcodes and word indexes built from the documents’ content. Now, with your files impeccably sorted and multiple ways to search, retrieval is a breeze.
2. Increased Security, Document Safety/Backup and Forensic Abilities
– Another area in which Document Management Systems tower over conventional file systems is that of security. Digital security (which includes not only password protection and the like, but also techniques such as encryption of the actual data) is far more effective than any lock and key. Further, as system administrator you can choose which individuals and departments have access to which documents and how much access is granted: for instance, certain individuals may be able to view documents necessary for research but not edit them. Unlike paper, your documents cannot be destroyed by flood or fire and with the ability to store in multiple sites and ‘in the cloud’, even damage to your servers will not result in loss of information. Auditing capabilities allow you to keep track of who has accessed and edited any document. Ensuring compliance with legal and industry regulations also is made easier, as you can regularly check that all necessary documentation is not only present, but also up to date without having to delegate many precious man hours.
3. Multiple Employees Can Efficiently Work On A Single Document
In the workplace, important documents go through many drafts which will then be further edited before a final version is completed. In a conventional setting, either a document is worked on by one employee or department while another waits, or else many copies are worked on simultaneously and then must be manually combined into a final version. Both of these ways are terribly inefficient and delay completion.
Document Management Systems possess a ‘check-in/check-out’ feature which allows multiple users to work on the same file. A user ‘checks out’ a document to work on it, then when the file is ‘checked in’ again, a new version with the most recent changes is created. Versioning ensures that all previous versions of the file are retained and information isn’t inadvertently lost. To further safeguard against clashes, the system can be set up so that other users can view but not edit checked out files.
4. Electronic Workflow Results in Increased Productivity
These features made possible by the electronic workflow are the secret to greatly increased productivity in the workplace. Many activities that would have necessitated an employee leaving her desk or getting on the phone to a different department can now be done directly within the DMS. Even the leaving of the work screen to use inter-office email can be mitigated. Document Management Systems allow you to make notes and update employees on the status of files (‘Approved’, ‘Under Review’, etc.) directly on the document itself through annotations and stamps rather than in separate emails.
5. Integration with Other Systems Exponentially Increases Efficiency
Document Management Systems can be seamlessly integrated with a number of other management systems. A popular pairing is that of a DMS and print management systems to streamline all document input, management and output processes. At the apex of such systems are fully integrated print, scan and device management systems like Canon’s uniFLOW. There are also other highly advanced systems available. Another Canon offering, IRIS, allows capture from multiple file types (PDF, JPEG etc.) using OCR and IDR (Intelligent Document Recognition) followed by conversion into a required file type such as HTML or Word. This automated processes greatly reduces manual data entry; the employee resources saved result in a dramatic increase in productivity.
These are just a few of the many ways investing in a document management system can revolutionise your business.