The increase in the remote workforce has prompted many organizations to seek out a viable document management system.
But to justify its adoption, an organization must study DMS tools and ensure that they meet the needs of the organization. With more and more options available due to improved technology and awareness, it can be difficult to know what to look for.
What is a document management system?
Document management systems help teams overcome the limitations of paper-based workflows to bring all of their business systems online. They also offer a more structured alternative to simple file management systems that improve security, sharing, and connectivity between workflows and applications.
A document is the universal API for exchanging business information. Every business document, including invoices, contracts, BOMs, and purchase orders, is wrapped in universally sized pieces of paper. Document management systems bring order and consistency to these manual processes.
Why does an organization need a document management system?
Every business need is different. Small businesses might appreciate the ability to digitize manual and physical processes. Large enterprises can appreciate new capabilities for more efficient integration of document data into various customer, financial, legal and compliance workflows with a higher level of granularity. And these more sophisticated capabilities are becoming increasingly accessible and cost effective thanks to improvements in AI, robotic process automation (RPA), and the cloud.
A document management system is a critical step in automating business processes. Timeshatter, a timeshare negotiation consultancy, turned to a document management system to improve the complex workflows around timeshare contracts.
Implementing a document management system has eliminated human error, according to Brian Donovan, CEO of Timeshatter. It also improved access and reduced the time spent rummaging through filing cabinets to find documents.
Businesses with a high volume of critical documents will likely see the biggest gains from deploying a DMS platform.
Ephesoft, a provider of intelligent document management systems, is seeing significant adoption among financial services companies, healthcare organizations, government agencies, educational institutions and manufacturing companies, according to Dave Beery, head of the company’s data science team.
Technology driving adoption of document management system
Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) is an emerging capability to further automate DMS capabilities. Key enhancements IDP apply optical character recognition to identify text, AI to interpret text layout and meaning, and RPA to automate document workflows. At the same time, the cloud improves document workflows and data exchange with other applications through more sophisticated APIs.
The combination of IDP and the cloud can help organizations create more sophisticated AI and machine learning models. For example, financial companies can use IDP to automatically extract more granular data from bank statements, pay stubs, tax documents, and other essential documents. This ability leads to more accurate models for predicting credit risk, identifying fraud and improving planning, said Sam Bobley, CEO and co-founder of Ocrolus, a financial document automation platform.
8 characteristics of a viable document management system
It is important to research certain document management system tools to determine if a platform is the right choice.
1. Cloud access and permissions
Access to the cloud is crucial as it allows users to access all documents from any device. It also helps mitigate the risk that data cannot be lost or deleted, while permissions are a great way to enable and restrict access to documents to different people.
2. Entering multi-source documents
Ensuring different ways to import documents into the platform is critical, said Eric McGee, senior network engineer at TRG Datacenters. It is best to ensure that a document management system allows entry of documents through different sources such as emails, scanners, apps and bulk downloads, he said. And if this is a critical source in an organization, the organization needs to consider how seamlessly it operates with the necessary workflows. For example, does downloading emails require an extra step, or could the Accounts Receivable team initiate a one-click, or better yet, no-clicks invoice payment process?
3. Document control via version, author and time
Document version control features can help teams coordinate changes to communicate on complex products, especially in manufacturing, said Maximilian zur Muehlen, director of business strategy at VEM Tooling Group, a molding company by injection in China. For example, teams can work on different documents, such as a bill of materials or a procurement request. Robust version control features helped the zur Muehlen team identify and avoid communication issues when documents are out of phase.
Security should be a top priority in any newly integrated software or technology. Things to look for include encryption in transit and at rest, support for role-based access, full audit trails, and revision indexing capabilities. These are all valuable to themselves and to simplify compliance.
5. Smart organization
The more documents users add to the database, the more theoretically it becomes complex to manage. Pay special attention to markup, notation, and other categorization capabilities, as they will help users locate needed files more efficiently.
6. Advanced indexing
Look for the tools’ advanced document indexing capabilities. Proper indexing of documents improves document retrieval, access controls and reporting. Some of the most popular DMS document indexing features include metadata indexing, content recognition and indexing, version and revision indexing, and automatic document numbering.
7. Pull print
Tightly regulated businesses may also consider support for pull printing, which prevents documents from being printed until users have authenticated themselves on the device, suggested Bob Burnett, director of deployment and deployment. planning of B2B solutions for Brother International Corporation. This prevents documents from being seized by unauthorized personnel and can help avoid large crowds around the machine, helping employees feel more comfortable returning to the office after the pandemic.
8. Hyper-automation capabilities
RPA can help automate DMS workflows, but someone has to create the RPA bots manually. Hyper-automation is an emerging ability to automate the process of creating automation. Look for human capabilities in the loop that can “watch” how people process documents. This can accelerate efforts to combine the benefits of AI, RPA and cloud initiatives, Bobley said.