Why Document Management Is Still Relevant
Document Management (DM) has been around since the 1980’s. Initially, DM consisted of vendor-developed software systems designed to manage paper-based documents, including printed and published documents, photographs, prints, and so on.
As personal computers and word processing applications became common place, newer Electronic Document Management (EDM) systems were developed to manage electronic documents, which were often stored on the users’ local computer or server. These earliest electronic document management (EDM) systems managed either proprietary file types, or a limited number of file formats.
In the late 1990’s and into the early 2000’s, these systems became known as document imaging systems, because they focused on the capture (via scanning), storage, indexing and retrieval of the image file formats that were generated by scanners. Eventually, EDM systems evolved to a point where they could manage any type of file format that could be stored on the network. The applications grew to encompass electronic documents, collaboration tools, security workflow and auditing capabilities.
Have times changed that much?
To some technocrats, because DM and EDM have been around for so long, it’s “old technology,” better replaced with more advanced systems, newer sounding buzzwords and ideas like Business Process Management (BPM).
While BPM can take DM and EDM to new heights of technology, automation and Artificial Intelligence, there are still plenty of organizations for whom Document Management systems are relevant. These organizations include local and state government agencies, schools and colleges, small to medium businesses of all kinds -- any business that relies on paper files and digital documents within a network.
For paper-reliant organizations, Business Process Management may be a step too far!
Paper-reliant organizations need Document Management solutions that provide the ability to convert, store and share a variety of digital documents within a network, or in the Cloud, enabling corporate managers to reduce workload by minimizing the use of papers. In fact, Document Management Solutions are highly effective in reducing hundreds of hours that are wasted in the distribution, locating and managing of paper files.
Reliable statistics from companies like Gartner point to these facts:
- 5% of all paper documents get lost;
- 90% need to be passed from department to department and worker to worker, leading to lost time; and,
- Professionals spend 50% of their time looking for files,but only 5% to 15% of their time using the required information.
With statistics like these, it’s easy to see why reducing paper and implementing a document management solution would be sufficient to improve business processes.
Focus on Document Management
So, if Business Process Management seems a step too far for your organization, take a fresh look at Document Management. And, keep these points in mind:
- A good document management solution is able tocapture a variety of file types. Whether you scan the documents yourself, or the document management vendor scans them for you, make sure the document management solution recognizes the images and is able to index them, archive them, and make them available to you via the search criteria that you need.
- The system should meet all legal requirements for governance, compliance and security.
- Captured files should be searchable by metadata.
- The system should be scalable.
- Secure access, redundancy and security are imperative.
- Training and support should be provided by the vendor.
- Finally, the Document Management Solution should be able to be linked to your Business Processes. That way, when you’re ready to take the step to Business Process Management, you’re already half-way there!
Need help choosing a document management system? Download this Free Document Management Workbook.