Archive for January, 2011
Document management is an integral part of the administrative system of any organization. Your business objectives or goals can never be reached successfully without a robust document management system. Besides automation, there are several benefits of installing document management software for your business. Higher level of security, better storage options and saving cost on material such as stationery, printers and filing cabinets, are some of them.
With almost every software company coming up with document management solutions, getting document management software that meets your needs can become a bit confusing. Automatic data capture, OMR processing, barcode reading, version control and auto filing of documents in Windows folders are some of the features offered by document management software. However, requirements would differ from business to business and you will have to evaluate your needs before purchasing a document management system. Some features that you must consider include:
Functions related to records management: The software should be able to regulate the creation, modification and maintenance of the digital records. Easy search and access are two of the most important features of a document management system that you must look for. The software should be able to search and retrieve records using keywords or names of files or other conventions such as ID number of files stored on the system. Apart from this, it should be able to file, store and update electronic records. It should also be able to track movement of records or files between different users. For instance, in case a report or policy file was shared or distributed among employees, the software should keep a record of users to whom the files were sent.
General functions: Though you must look for features specific to your business requirements, the document management software you choose should definitely have general functions. Software developers usually include Help files and Menu shortcuts so that the software is easy to use. Make sure that the software you choose is simple to learn and operate. For instance, the Menus and Commands of the software should be easy to understand and operate. Similarly, the error messages should be easy to follow and rectify.
Customization: Though automatic data capture always forms part of a document management system, you must look for software that can be modified to meet the specific requirements of your business. As such, the software must be customizable so that particular requirements pertaining to your business can be incorporated. For instance, following a naming convention for files or documents always makes it easy to search or file. This is can easily be implemented if the software is customizable.
Manage different file formats: As your business grows you will be using several file formats such as videos or audio files for presentations, PDF, text, images, and so on. Make sure you select software that supports all types of file formats. For instance, a relational database system can support only tabulated data. However, such a system will not be feasible when your records contain other file formats.
Performance: The document management software you choose should be compatible with your current computer system. However, if you are planning to change or upgrade to a higher version of the hardware, make sure the document management software you purchase is compatible with the new system. Also, in case you plan to upgrade the hardware system at a later stage, the software should be able to adapt to the new system.
Once you have selected software that meets your requirements, make sure it is tested with mock records and file formats before you make the purchase. This is because in case there is a problem, it is fixed before the software is installed for your entire office. This can be done either at the vendors’ place or by installing the trial version of the software on one of the computers in your office.
Automatic data capture will be one of the primary features of any document management system that you choose. Apart from this, an important point to consider is versions of software available, so you can simply upgrade to another version instead of purchasing a new software as the need arises.
Earlier advanced technology was probably used only in the medical or engineering fields. However, with several types of gadgets flooding the markets today, this is no longer the case. People need not even withdraw cash anymore. Online banking and online shopping with credit cards provides them instantaneous access to anything they wish to buy. Supermarkets have automated the billing system, thus reducing the waiting time for their customers. With your customers getting fast service almost everywhere else, this factor simply cannot be ignored by you.
Faster turnaround time: Document management software works by storing important documents in the digital format. These are stored in a systematic manner for easy search and retrieval. Once entered on the system, any type of information can be accessed and shared or distributed instantly. This way it’s much easier for your employees or subordinates to locate a file compared to searching a paper file in the filing cabinets, thus providing a faster turnaround time. Being stored systematically and easily searchable using certain keywords, there is no longer the hassle of a wrongly filed document.
Easy recovery: What would happen if you lost a paper file containing invoices or other important document? Chances are you would search for a copy, if any, or would have to ask for copies of the documents from its originator. This point is completely eliminated with use of digital document management. Everything being saved in a digital format, the data can be easily backed up and retrieved whenever needed.
Remote access: This again results in faster turnaround time, as employees need not physically go anywhere to get a document. A centralized document management system can be accessed remotely and documents shared when required.
Security: Any data or document is much more secure in the digital format compared to paper files. Document management systems can be set with usernames and passwords so only those authorized to view them are able to access them. Apart from this, digital data can be backed up, thus data is available even if the original computer system breaks down.
Streamline workflow: Most businesses handle several types of documents every day, which go through several departments, filed differently at each place. Document management system helps streamline the process of record keeping. Being centralized, employees would have to follow the naming conventions and filing rules of the software in order to save the document correctly. In fact, document management system is so efficient that it would not accept a wrongly named document.
There are many other advantages of digital document management. Reduced use of paper, cost savings and customization are some of these. With the world moving at a fast pace, you need to adapt to newer ways of managing the office in order to keep up. This is also true in case of your clients, who expect superior service from you. A robust document management system can help you concentrate on customer service and your business objectives, rather than worrying about lost documents. It is truly the best way of ensuring success for your business and helping it achieve its goals.
More than 80 percent data of a business resides in documents making document management the deciding factor in the efficient running of an organization. There is no doubt that document management software has made records and information management very convenient. However many companies have also started switching to digital document management to gain an edge over their competitors.
There are several advantages of document management system over the conventional methods of filing documents. For instance, you no longer need to take prints or make copies of documents to share them with others, as document management software can be used over a network and documents shared through a virtual repository. Digital document management also reduces scope for error, as everything from creation of document to their modification and deletion is automated. Document management software is usually customized to accept certain file conventions while creating a document, otherwise the system would show an error. Such features of document management system ensure accurate entry of information and minimize errors.
Version control is another important component of document management. This feature helps in managing multiple revisions of the same document. This often happens when a team is working on a project, where each member is likely to make changes to one or many documents. Having several versions of the same document with every member of the team, it may become difficult to manage the revisions. Problem occurs when the team does not know which the latest workable version of a document is. For instance, software developers may make very small changes to a long set of coding, however, without giving a different name to different versions of the code, it will be very difficult to know which coding worked.
To resolve this issue, document management software uses version control to store and retrieve different versions of a document. There are many ways of saving versions of the same document. You can either suffix the name of the file with a number or simply add the date of creation or modification to the name while saving the document. For instance, year of creation may be used while naming company policies, so both administrative staff and other employees know the latest version of policies.
In digital document management, a version control system manages documents and directories and tracks changes made to them over time. This helps you recover an older version of a file if and when needed. This is an important feature especially when there are many people working on the same file. It also helps in keeping track of documents created over a period of time. For instance, the older version of a monthly report would help compare the changes that have taken place over the past few months. Similarly, an older version of a presentation shown to senior management helps you know what information was shared during the last meeting.
Version control in document management software also helps keep track of changes made to the document and who made those changes. This makes is easier for team members to collaborate and create documents updated by every member of the team. Making different versions is also easier with a version control system. Such a system saves file as you edit them, thus recording a different version of file to which changes have been made. You can also revert to the previous version of the file, so the older version remains intact.
Being part of document management software, version control support several file formats. Whether you want different versions of a PDF file or an image file, you can easily manage any file using version control. Along with this, the system also creates backup of all the versions of a document. These versions can then be retrieved and shared through the network, storage device or email, whenever required.
Digital document management has truly made management of files much more convenient and comfortable compared to the conventional methods of filing. In fact, one cannot imagine version control without a digital system. A digital document management system is essential for increasing the efficiency of your business and streamlining the flow of documents required to support your business.