The COVID-19 lockdowns reveal the limits of collaboration tools. For reasons that no one seems to be able to explain, the process of collaborating with home-based colleagues is harder than collaborating with them in the office. We’re using the same tools, but with less efficacy.
The production and storage of documents is one area, in particular, where we see some businesses truly struggling during this pandemic. Even with email, web conferencing, instant messengers and shared cloud storage volumes, people are having problems keeping track of important documents. So, it’s a good time to learn about the value of document management solutions.
What is a Document Management System?
A Document Management System (DMS) is software, in some cases joined by specialized hardware, that receives, tracks, manages and stores electronic documents. They’re sometimes part of a larger Enterprise Content Management (ECM) or records management system. It’s a mature technology. After all, the need to manage documents predates computers by many centuries. However, the DMS continues to evolve. They are increasingly flexible and adaptable, able to integrate with operational systems and automated businesses processes. Learn more about the benefits of document management.
Why Document Management Solutions are Good for Remote Work Scenarios
Most documents come together as the result of a collaborative, subjective and unstructured process. Others are produced using a recurring, rigidly choreographed business workflow. In some cases, an employee creates a document and it’s perfect as-is. He or she places it on a cloud storage volume and anyone who needs it can download. Most of the time, however, a document has multiple creators and approvers. At some big companies there might even be entire committees of people assigned to the Owner/Approver/Reviewer/Producer (OARP) roles for a single document.
A document can fly around between different people, who each mark it up, comment, revise and so forth. The final version can be hard to find. People frequently use the wrong, pre-final version by accident. Or, employees waste time tracking down the right version. When people are remote, the risks of such errors and time-wasting efforts increase.
Introducing a DMS reduces the likelihood and impact of these problems:
- Version control—A DMS provides change logging that generates an automatic audit trail. A check-in and check-out versioning system shows users who has worked on a document. It can even reveal if someone is working on it in real time.
- Security—Unfortunately, the move to home-based work has led to increases in cyberattacks. Attackers are using social engineering techniques to impersonate co-workers in order to gain access to intellectual property, including documents. With a modern DMS, it is possible to store documents with security controls that prevent unauthorized access. This mitigates some of the impact of social engineering and network breaches on confidential documents.
- Optimized workflows—The DMS enables an optimal document production, approval and publishing workflow. It also provides for a trackable editing process when a finished document is updated to a new edition. Templates and integration with core like Customer Resource Management (CRM) and Human Resources Management (HRM) further improve the efficiency of the document management process.
Document management comprises an essential element of an effective work at home program. To learn more about how our document management offerings can help you in this regard, contact us for a free consultation and demo. Or, to learn more about managing a remote workforce check out the following resources: