Document management solutions — which incorporate functions such as digitizing paper documents and indexing them along with other digital assets in an archive for ease of search, retrieval and processing (e.g. copy/print) — are now a multi-billion-dollar market. (Estimates vary based on service scope, but one firm pegged the market’s 2019 value at $7B.)
That’s a lot of documents, and for good reason. With digital archives, organizations enjoy the major productivity boosts of global search and on-demand document retrieval (on any device) while shrinking storage footprints by a factor of 10 or better. While these benefits are attractive in themselves, an advanced document management solution (DMS) enables business functions beyond basic storage and retrieval. Following are a few scenarios that showcase why robust document management is a business imperative.
Version management: How many times have you lost track of a document’s version and inadvertently shared the wrong one with a colleague or client? Nearly everyone has experienced this breakdown, because file dates and built-in headers/footers aren’t foolproof. Whether version management is required in your industry or simply a competitive necessity, a DMS equips you to thrive.
Regulatory compliance: In highly regulated industries (HRIs), the cost of non-compliance, on average, rose 45 percent between 2011 and 2018. If your firm is classified as an HRI, a DMS will make compliance nearly automatic. If you’re not, but any of your partners, clients or prospects are HRIs, impress them by meeting their standards — and negotiate from a position of greater strength.
Document uniformity: With a DMS in place, activities that rely on continuity, such as personnel onboarding and training, become much easier to manage. Even if you haven’t onboarded an employee in years, a DMS is valuable for workplace consistency.
For example, when your firm updates policies and procedures, the revised manual can be accessed by everyone at the same time. If you manage policies and procedures that are interrelated, you can group them so that relevant changes populate across the entire group at once.
Multi-author collaboration: Have you worked on a sales proposal or new business plan where other contributors were involved? In such a scenario, versioning alone isn’t enough. With a DMS, not only can you track each version of a document, but you can also keep tabs on who made which edits, and when. When it’s time to merge the contributions into a final draft, a DMS can prioritize by contributor, date of edit, and other criteria.
Automated workflows: A key feature and major motivator for adoption of DMS is workflow automation. With this feature, documents generated by one department or function can automatically be routed for approvals or enhancements by another department or function inside or outside of the organization. The most obvious value is for finance and HR roles, but any business planning or development-focused team that depends upon collaboration for success can capitalize on these features to expedite task completion.
Permission control: We all wish every hire would be permanent, but that’s not realistic. With document solutions, it’s easy to adjust levels of permission or revoke them completely at a document or file-store level. Firms can also expand or restrict permissions temporarily if someone is filling in for a worker or engaged on a special project. This ensures the work, as well as any errors or irregularities, are associated with each file’s editor rather than just its owner.
One vital element of managing documents we haven’t yet discussed is security. With the right combination of solutions in place, your firm can do more than control who accesses and works with a document inside your perimeter (either physical or virtual). You can also restrict unauthorized access from outside the network — and identify the device from which attempts were initiated. Such an approach brings the concept of “data security” to a whole new level.
To learn more about document solutions — and the managed print services that often accompany them, visit www.novatech.com. There, you can explore these technologies further and even chat on demand with an expert.