Having an organised working environment is vital for the success of a business practice given the current challenges such as customers and clients expecting faster response times and increasingly burdensome regulatory requirements. Regardless of the size of the business organisation, handling documents manually is time-consuming. and often results in data loss and extended response times.
Although initially, it appears that the flow of documents can be managed, it’s not really possible with the constantly increasing volume of correspondence – and it is not just paper; there are electronic communications too. This is why businesses turn to digital document management systems to help automate the process of document management. Document management software enables the organisation to convert paper files to digital storage, and enhance the ability to share all type of documents and information.
With the constantly changing requirements of a business, the nature and functionality of the document management application have evolved. Early document management systems used to support only a limited number of file formats, but now the software has developed enough to be able to support a plethora of digital formats.
Choosing a document management software application depends on several factors as it needs to fit in and be adaptable to the company structure and work culture.
Here are some of the most important factors to help you make the right decision:
Scanning – Scanning is an essential element in the business and most document management system provide the feature to scan documents. However, some systems take this further by providing the ability to recognize bar codes on the documents, to make it easier to both track and store the document information.
Accessibility – The documents, once stored in the system, can be accessed through not only the machine that was used to store it but also shared across multiple users and multiple devices – especially if the document management system is cloud-based.
Storage – Document management systems store documents conveniently on a server that can be in-house, or, if its a cloud-based system, the data is stored on a cloud server. Compared to manual storage, the servers can store huge numbers of documents, and this has the ability to free up significant amounts of office space which otherwise would have been required for storage. Efficient document management systems not only store documents but through micromanagement, can reduce the required space on the server by keeping track of user activities and archiving data that is not likely to be required in the immediate future.
Filing structure – Document management systems should be flexible in terms of the filing structure to suit the needs of your business. If the structure is too rigid then it may not fit into your working practices and methodologies.