A White Paper on Document Management (Part 1) by Austin Amuok
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What is document management? According to the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), document management, also referred to as Document Management System (DMS), is the use of a computer system and software to store, manage and track electronic documents and electronic images of paper based information captured through the use of a document scanner.
Why should you consider document management? There are several reasons why an organization would consider implementing a DMS. There are three main reasons we want to look at:
The first reason is the most obvious, record keeping. The need to keep your organization's records could be for archival reasons. An organization may want to keep an archive of its most important documents which often times could also be its intellectual capital. This ensures that as the company grows, it can reach back and leverage on its accumulated intellectual capital even as it carves its way into the future. The need to archive certain documents could also be driven by legal requirements. Depending on the statute of limitations a company finds itself obliged to, there could be a need to maintain a vast swath of documents that fall into that category. A failure to maintain such documents could lead to costly legal battles that could drain a company or even drive it out of business.
The second reason to implement a DMS is to enhance the day to day transactional part of the business. Increasingly, many organizations are finding that a DMS system that incorporates a workflow component could be a critical part of their own business workflow. As staff transact within and without of the organization, consistency and efficiencies can be enhanced when documents are shared, approvals digitally input and policies enforced by mapping dynamic rules into a DMS enabled workflow. This new dimension of many leading DMS’s is increasingly becoming the single most important reason for a business to consider implementing a DMS.
The third reason for implementing a DMS is cost. While the cost of data storage seems to be going down due to advances in storage technology and cloud systems, the cost of physical storage of paper (often measured in square footage) is going the other way. Storage of large volumes of paper is cumbersome, costly and difficult to manage. The wide acceptance of electronic copies by courts, businesses and consumers has driven even the most reticent of businesses to rethink mass storage of paper documents. Storage of paper documents also exposes documents to natural decomposition, fire and water hazards. In many parts of the USA (and the world), these natural threats are very real.
In the next article in this series we will look at an overview of the leading DMS solutions.
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