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Why Choose a Document Management System

Author: Ruban Rajasooriyar

Maybe you store all your documents in folders on the server or in Google Drive.  It works, so why choose a document management system? A dedicated document management is exactly that, its sole purpose is to manage business information in a way that works for your company.  Whether that’s replicating existing paper processes digitally, or enhancing processes to make them more effective and productive.

A few reasons to choose a Document Management System

There are many products and solutions out there that can store documents, share files and organise data.  But when you delve deeper, can they do everything your business needs?

  1. Easily find your documents

Its sounds simple, but do you ever struggle to find where you’ve saved a document?  Was it on your desktop, in SharePoint, did you print and file it? If you rely on others saving documents in a structured way, are they saved correctly?

With a document management system, it becomes the only place to store documents.  Users can store directly from emails and scans. Settings can be added to restrict what a user can name a document.  It can’t be mis-spelt or named wrongly, making searches easy.

  1. Manage version control

When using collaboration tools, how can you ensure you’re working from the latest version of a document?  If there’s great communication and good naming conventions then it could work.  But what if an employee downloaded a file to work on at home and a colleague didn’t know?  Work can be duplicated and time wasted.

In some industries compliance can mean the difference between ongoing production or being shut down.  Using the correct product specification could be vital, and having a customer’s final order means the right product is made first time.  A good Document Management System will clearly show the latest document with an audit trail of what's been changed by who and when.

  1. Remove documents when they’re no longer needed.

Documents don’t need to be kept forever, and keeping track of when they can be destroyed is a difficult task.  Different starting dates for new employee documents, and varying legal requirements for different document types could mean keeping information longer than needed.  If you store paper documents, it’s likely you’re running out of space, pay for storage or need a lot of time to wade through what can be destroyed.

In a document management system, retention rules can be applied to each document type.  When an invoice is saved, the date is logged and rules in the background know it can be deleted six years later. There's no need to keep an excel document noting how long you can keep information, or use calendar reminders.

  1. Automate manual processes

Any manual process can be automated, whether it involves paper being passed between departments or an employee adding codes to invoices.  Choosing a dedicated document management system, along with an experienced supplier means this type of functionality can be done by the software.  The system can simplify tasks, increase productivity and reduce errors.

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