The difference between document management and ERP systems (or any other specialised system for that matter), is something we often get asked.  With so many systems all performing different but valuable tasks for your business, it’s hard to know where to start.

Managing Documents

The difference between document management and ERP is that the core functionality of a document management system is to track and store documents.  Your business may have an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or a HRMS (Human Resource Management System) but these systems are used to manage day-to-day operations in various ways. They don’t manage your actual documents.

A document management system (DMS) manages your documents, and additionally can incorporate workflows, approval processing, email integration and task management.

Naming and Storing

Specialised systems like ERPs, store all documents in a single file repository.  They have a naming scheme that only that system can understand and locate. It means you can only use that ERP system to search for files located in one big pile in a single folder or within your database.

If your ERP is storing files in a database, there are some limitations. There could be a size limit of 10GB which you could use pretty quickly.  Investing in a paid version that you may need a third party to manage could be costly.

Also, as your database size increase, locating information within them gets slower.  A DMS handles document storage by utilising a file system that works with key data stored in a database.  It keeps search-speeds fast and databases small.

Image Size

The difference between document management and ERP with image sizes, is that they’re not compressed in an ERP system.  That means each image, no matter how big, is stored at its maximum size.  This is more than you need and quickly takes up space. A DMS compresses images to save space from the beginning.

Retention Policies

If you need to retain your documents for a set time, and then delete them when that time is up, it’s unlikely an ERP can do this.  Those documents potentially stay and take up space.  With a DMS, retention rules can be set and then upon authorisation, deleted once that period is over.

Image Quality

With specialised systems, the quality of the image being stored isn’t guaranteed.  It is an image alone being captured, and not the data on the page. If scanned documents cannot be read, and are therefore unusable, your ERP has no way of knowing an issue exists. These systems just store the image, they don’t index the data, which is then used for search and retrieval.

Using a DMS or Document Capture Software, you’re immediately made aware of issues before hard-copies are destroyed.  Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is used to scan the document, which will flag anything it can’t read.  It is therefore brought to the user’s attention before hard copies are unavailable.

OCR also indexes the data, meaning searches can be carried out for anything found on that document.  Instantly finding what’s needed.

Even if you’ve been using your ERP or specialised system to handle your documents to-date, it’s not too late to change to a document management system.  DocTech can help convert your documents and help sort the data back into searchable, logical file structures.

There is a big difference between document management and ERP systems, but both can effectively work together to help you run your business.  Get in touch with a member of our team to discuss your requirements further.