The days of stuffed filing cabinets taking up valuable office space are over. Document management systems have streamlined and improved workflows for all types of businesses.
The benefits of going paperless extend to your budget too. On average, printer ink costs more per ounce than a bottle of Chanel No. 5! If your business hasn’t converted to a digital workflow, now’s the time.
Which Document Management Option is the Best for You?
Document management systems have grown and improved in recent years, and now there are many options to choose from. But which one is right for your company? Let’s break down the five main types of document management systems and find out.
1. Content Management Systems
A content management system (or CMS) is designed for creating and managing digital content. These systems usually have a streamlined template-based user interface to allow users to create content without knowing anything about code.
With the proper setup, a CMS can help users create documents for websites, medical records, business contracts, and much more. In addition to the content itself, users will be prompted to fill in fields that help to categorize the document. This leads to the other half of the CMS workflow: document management.
A good CMS lets users easily tag their created documents so they can be organized automatically and therefore quickly retrieved later. These systems usually allow users to either browse through organized folder structures or search for the documents they need by keyword or category.
2. Enterprise Content Management
An enterprise content management system (ECM) takes the concept of a CMS further by tailoring it to the workflow of your organization. This often involves connecting the content to a timeline that makes sense for your business.
For example, some documents could not be created at all without a prerequisite document already on file. (For example, you might not be allowed to create a billing notification without first having an order confirmation from that client.) Or you might have a document that can’t be filed as “complete” unless it’s been reviewed by a manager first.
ECM systems can help employees conform to their company’s workflow and help reduce worker errors and unnecessary duplication. However, systems like this need to maintain a certain amount of flexibility for when things don’t go strictly by the book.
3. Document Imaging Systems
A document imaging system is the perfect solution for an office in need of modernization. These systems help convert paper files into digital documents that can be easily accessed by staff. Plus, you won’t need to dig through file drawers when the information you need is now just a few clicks away.
Far more than simply scanning documents, which would create an unsearchable image file, document imaging systems use a process called Optical Character Recognition. This converts the printed word into searchable text.
Document imaging systems are not only ideal for offices that need to convert their paper into pixels. Companies that still require paper forms (some doctors still require patients to fill out information by hand, for example) can use document imaging to scan completed forms before shredding them for security.
4. Records Management Systems
A records management system is designed to securely store documents long-term while keeping them easily accessible to the people who need them. These systems can be customised to suit different types of businesses.
When it comes to medical records, legal papers, and government documents, simply storing them on your company’s internal drive won’t cut it. Your records management system needs to conform to the security requirements of your industry, whether that’s HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, FINRA, or something similar.
A good records management system will be 100% compliant with your required security protocols while still allowing access for everyone who needs it.
5. Workflow Management Systems
A workflow management system (WFMS) goes a step beyond the creation, organization, and securing of your documents. WFMS allows you to automatically assign tasks based on the documents that are created in your system.
For example, an order of more than $10,000 might need manager approval before it can be processed by the warehouse. A WFMS could automatically route that order document to the manager, only allowing access by the warehouse department after approval is obtained.
Other, more redundant tasks can be programmed in as well. Every time a new client form is filled out and entered in the system, an email can be sent to the sales supervisor notifying them of the new business.
Which System is Right for You?
The good news is that you don’t have to choose just one type of document management system. Finding a solution that allows you to create new documents, scan in old ones, and secure and organize everything while keeping everyone on task? It’s easier than ever. The hardest decision might be what you’re going to do with the extra office space now that those filing cabinets are history.