How Does a Document Management System Work?

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Written By Haissam Abdul Malak

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Document management systems are essential components for any organization attempting to transition to a hybrid or fully digital workspace. It is due of their features that organizations can manage the complete lifecycle of their digital documents in a single solution.

A document management system works by allowing documents to be captured, stored, retrieved, secured, and shared in a single repository. It serves as the foundation for businesses to digitize their documents and automate their internal processes in order to achieve the most effective and efficient business operations.

Document digitization is seen as the initial step toward realizing the full potential of the important information contained within them. It is not an easy procedure, but the rewards are enormous for the future and profitability of the firm.

Having to manage tons of documents on a daily basis necessitates the ability to have a system that gives you the power and functionalities to ensure that your documents are captured correctly, stored securely, managed properly, and, most importantly, that document-centric processes are automated in order to speed up work and finish tasks more efficiently.

In this article, we’ll look at how a small business document management system works and some of its most powerful components.

Managing Documents

What is a Document Management System?

A Document management system is a system or software used to capture, store, manage, and easily retrieve data within an organization. Document management is frequently used to refer to an overarching plan for how a corporation saves, organizes, and records electronic documents.

It includes all document management capabilities like version control, version history, audit trails, metadata management, archives management, sophisticated search, and simple collaboration between members. Not only that, but some of these systems allow you to effortlessly gather documents using automatic data capture, making it easier for your staff to find any document in seconds.

These technologies are critical for every organization, regardless of size or sector, since they must begin the process of transitioning their firm into a fully digital one before it is too late.

I strongly advise you to read the following article for more information

What is Document Management System? The Complete Guide/

How Document Management System Works?

A document management system works best by having an enterprise-ready document management plan in order to define how documents are to be collected, captured, stored, secured, and distributed.

The three main functions of a document management system are to capture, store, and distribute documents. These are the most important features that every system should have in order to help organizations manage the ever-increasing volumes of documents they create.

These benefits enable us to search documents in a matter of seconds, restrict unauthorized access, manage the entire lifecycle of documents, and exchange documents with team members without fear of data breaches.

There are two types of DMS you can start with: open source/free or commercial.

1- Capture

As a definition, data capture, often known as electronic data capture, is the process of collecting information from a document and converting it into data that computers can understand. It is one of the most essential phases of digitization, and if done correctly and without human error, it will allow employees to file, organize, search, and retrieve documents in record time.

The sole source of truth is the content of documents. They give insights and written content that assist any organization’s management in making educated decisions that drive the company’s success path. As a result, the capture phase is critical and should be done with care in order to achieve the ultimate aim of presenting information to the right audience at the right time to make more accurate business decisions.

Capturing documents could be done in a different form

Capture Paper Documents

The digitization process is the first step in handling digital documents. Paper documents must be captured by scanners and advanced technologies such as OCR and document imaging are used to extract the information inside these documents, populate the metadata, and save this information in the system during this process.

Document scanners, barcode scanners, smart card readers, and signature capture pads are exampled for capture devices that organizations might utilize in combination to capture all the information needed to help make more informed decisions.

Capture Information From Different Applications

In each organization, there are around 4 to 5 separate repositories that store documents required in day-to-day activities. Information and documents should be gathered automatically from inside the systems that are utilized across multiple departments in order to allow individuals to effortlessly locate documents while maintaining high productivity.

Document management systems typically have a solid collection of integration modules with well-known systems that may be used in businesses, and some suppliers may additionally assist by supplying a custom integration module that allows their system to potentially communicate with any application utilized.

Capture From Email

Unfortunately, email remains the most popular method for exchanging and managing digital information. Emails can significantly impede employee productivity due to their inability to manage documents, versions, and updates.

To prevent this, most DMS provides integration with all known email apps, allowing these emails to be instantly imported into their system, classified, and safely stored in a central repository for documents.

For more information about document capturing, refer to the below in-depth guide

What Is Data Capture and Why It Is Important?

2- Store

Documents should not be distributed across numerous places and mediums in order to secure access to them and provide them to any prospective individual in need. Many organizations keep their documents in various locations such as network folders, personal PCs, email, dropbox, and so on.

That causes headaches and wastes a lot of time for every employee looking for documents, not to mention the possibility of content duplication. With a document management system, these documents are kept in a central repository, making it easier to handle backups, security, duplications, overrides, and, most crucially, document deletion.

Nowadays, business documents must be accessible from virtually any location. Document management solutions, with their central repository for documents, can enable access to the required documents from your laptop, desktop, mobile device, or tablet.

Maintaining strong levels of document security is critical for all companies. Without it, rivals may obtain sensitive information such as client data, or workers may have access to information they should not, such as salary or performance reports.

Implementing an organization-wide document management and document security best practices can reduce the worry of leaking sensitive material to the public to a larger extent.

It is no longer sufficient to just store these documents; it is now required to safeguard them by offering various capabilities to assist companies in securing their material in the central repository.

3- Distribute

The ultimate objective of every document generated by the organization or acquired from an external source is to get the document to the person who needs it in the shortest amount of time while maintaining security.

With the power of many functionalities in a solid well-known document management system, you can be certain that communication between team members occurs securely and, in some situations, in real time, allowing them to drive better business judgments.

In the absence of a system to handle this cycle, staff often email the document as an attachment to the appropriate persons. However, this document might easily slip into the wrong hands, causing a slew of issues.

Only the authorized individual may access the document and share it with other members for comments or collaboration when using a document management system.

Paper documents and manual processing can lead to human errors, delays, decreased productivity, and increased cost.

Organizations may reap significant financial and operational benefits by modernizing document-centric processes and document approval flow.

For more advanced document distribution, organizations can use the power of automating document-centric processes from within the DMS itself. This will provide the ability for the document to circulate automatically between various members and departments in order to collect feedback, approvals,

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