Essential Components of a Quality Document Management System

Although all document management systems provide the basics of scanning, retrieval and display, when it comes to implementing a document management solution in the real world, system essentials extend far beyond the basics. Document management systems designed for multiple users, a high volume of documents or multiple office locations must meet more stringent requirements. The features listed below are important to look for when selecting a document management system for your organization:

Usability -

One of the most important factors in how successful a document management system will be is how easy it is to use. Usability is critical in encouraging rapid staff acceptance. A System will only be widely used if it is simple to capture documents, organize and find them. The best systems are user-friendly and flexible enough to adapt to the way people already work within an organization, rather than forcing them to change their preferred way of working.

Capture -

For a document management system to enhance business operations, it must accommodate all the types of documents - paper, electronic, fax, audio and video, to name a few - that are part of an organization's processes and procedures. It should also enable batch processing of documents and forms for organizations that rely on high-volume processing as a part of business operations.

Indexing and Retrieval -

An enterprise-quality digital document management system is uniquely positioned to help you solve the problem of helping employee quickly search through thousands of documents in order to pinpoint the information they need. Many employees use search tools that are nearly identical to commercial search engines designed for use with the Internet. Although these search engines are efficient at helping consumers find information like Web pages of retailers selling a certain product, they are not geared toward the specialized searches necessary in many business environments,

Annotations -  

Annotations permit users to append or remove information about a document without permanently changing the original image. Highlighting, stamps, redaction's (blackouts or whiteouts) and sticky notes are among the most common annotations. A document management system's security should give the system administrator control over who can view annotations and see through redaction's.

Storage and Archiving -

Once documents are brought into the document management system, they must be reliably stored. Document management storage systems must be able to accommodate changing technologies and an organizations future growth. A versatile document management system should be compatible with all storage devices currently available, as well as emerging systems, to provide long-term document storage and archiving.

Distribution -

A document management system should assist you in putting the right information in the hands of the right people. A quality system makes it possible for multiple users to access the same files at the same time and aids in distributing documents to authorized individuals both inside and outside your organization over an intranet, by e-mail or through publication to the Web, CD or DVD. A full-featured document management system safeguards an unalterable copy of the original while allowing you to enhance collaboration and service by circulating copies in the format that best serves your business needs.

Workflow - 

Workflow modules can increase the benefits of a document management system by automating the routing of documents to various people, eliminating bottlenecks and streamlining business processes. This added functionality is crucial for large branch offices, for organizations with central and branch offices and for organizations that plan to extend their system.

Security - 

System security is an absolute necessity for any document management system. A rigorous security system should permit every authorized person to perform required duties- whether from desktop, laptop, the office, a remote location or over the Web- without compromising the integrity of the database, system or network.

Integration - 

The introduction of new software and data bases often creates logistical challenges for an organization's computer support staff. Document management programs should offer packaged integration tools for simple image-enabling, to minimize the burden on IT support staff. To minimize disruptions to business operations, it is essential that a document management system integrate smoothly with other software applications, such as enterprise resource planning systems (ERP), geographic information systems (GIS), student information systems (SIS), customer relationship management (CRM) software, portfolio management tools and electronic medical records (EMR) applications currently in use. 

Technical Considerations - 

The goal of digital document management is not solely to eliminate and organize paper, but to manage all organizational documents, both computer-generated and paper-based, and all files, including digital audio and video files. This is the most important reason to implement a digital document management system.