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Document Management in SharePoint

Every organisation requires content, data, and information to carry out daily operations but without proper management tools in place, things can go downhill fast. The solution – document management.

The right document management solution provides organisations with a central digital location that captures and houses their growing information. Paper based processes have largely become redundant and inefficient in the current digital landscape, and continued usage of them can greatly hinder the ongoing success of an organisation. To prevent document disarray from occurring and negatively influencing how your employees work, be sure to consider document management for your organisation’s digital transformation journey.

What is Document Management?

Document management refers to the procedure of storing, managing and capturing electronic formats of paper-based files and content. By using a computer system to track and scan electronic documents, organisations are better able to organise, locate and ensure only authorised personnel have access to specific files.  

Whilst physical filing cabinets have proved themselves to be useful in the past, they are simply unable to cope with the growing amount of files and documents in the current digital world. This is where document management software come in. Document management software are the electronic form of filing cabinets and provide an organised foundation for the storage of both digital and paper documents. Metadata and tags are attached to each document in assisting with the location and navigation in finding it within the system. With an in-built search engine, users can also easily find the file they’re looking for by simply entering one or two keywords. Document management systems are akin to an online library except made specifically for files and with the added layer of security. Have a sensitive document you won’t want everyone to have access to? No problem. User restrictions and permission settings can automatically restrict who can and cannot access confidential information.

Why is Document Management Important?

Imagine having to spend hours sifting through multiple filing cabinets and storage rooms in search of that one document. For many organisations, this is the reality of daily life for their employees. Not only is this a highly inefficient process but also not a wise use of valuable time. With the shift to a paperless world, why not enlist the help of technology to lighten the document management load?  

Document management gives your organisation the ability to control and manage your documents in an organised manner. Without a proper system in place, your documents are susceptible to headaches such as out of date versions, inaccurate information and security risks. Here are a few reasons why your organisation should invest in a document management system:

By giving your employees access to documents whenever they need, not only will you improve their productivity and organisational efficiency but also better support them to work wherever they are in the world.

  • Security

    So many things can go wrong with storing hard copy documents. One simple misplace can result in a lost document. Document management systems provides companies with greater control over their sensitive documents with extra layers of security measures. They minimise the chances of data breaches and accidental leaks by restricting user access to certain folders and documents. As document management systems record every change made to a document, possibilities of tampering and theft are substantially reduced.

  • Cost Savings

    Physical storage of documents is bulky and requires a hefty amount of resources to maintain – filing cabinets, paper, ink, filing staff, folders etc. Paperless offices save on both precious storage space but also do the environment a huge favour. Thanks to the digital formats of documents, you’ll spend minimal amounts on printing services and operational costs.

  • Compliance

    Organisations operation with strict regulatory policies may be at risk of penalisation with poor document control. Afterall, nobody wants confidential information such as bank details or medical records to be mishandled or leaked accidentally. A document management system can assist with meeting regulatory compliance requirements with their integrated maintenance features. They can provide structure around the lifecycle of a document from creation to deletion and reduce the chances of it being lost of misfiled.

  • Document backup and recovery

    Document management systems often come equipped with data backup plans that protect documents from being lost in disasters or threats. As documents are stored in electronic formats, they can be easily traced and located with the help of digital archiving. With the assistance of meta-data and cross-indexing, your documents can be easily located, and version tracked.

  • Easy Access

    As long as you have your logins and internet, you can access your document management system anywhere on any device. With the flexible nature of work, document management systems enable individuals working remotely to retrieve files no matter where they are.

  • Easy Retrieval

    Documents stored within document management systems can be easily located and retrieved by simply typing in a few relevant keywords. Long gone are the days of spending hours in the filing room searching for that one specific file. In-built search engines bring up the required document in mere seconds and saves your employees plenty of time and unnecessary frustration.

  • Central repository

    When each individual is using a different version of a document, versioning issues happen. Which document is the most recent? Which one has the most accurate information? A document management system prevents this issue from every occurring with its version control capabilities. Individuals can work on the same file at the same time and with edits made in real time, the latest version will always be the one in use. Version control also enables older version of documents to be recovered if need be.

Key Components of a Document Management System

Document capture

Document management systems must be able to capture and record documents in various formats before processing them to a consistent format. Documents are scanned and uploaded in an electronic format to a central repository where they will be available for storage, retrieval and usage. When converted into uniform electronic formats, documents are readable, editable and easily searchable.

Document Retrieval

The key function of document management systems is to retrieve the right document when needed. The retrieval process must be quick and easy or else the entire system is useless. Nobody wants to be searching a keyword only to be faced with a lengthy search time and inaccurate results.

Document Storage

To ensure retrieval of documents as needed, files needed to be stored in a central repository where employees can gain immediate access to them whenever, wherever. Document management systems must be able to safely store electronic formats of various types of content for long periods of time without compromising its quality. Most importantly the storage system should continue to be compatible with new technologies and devices to maintain its archiving abilities.

Document Distribution

Most documents are created to be shared. Document distribution makes it possible for both internal and external stakeholders to access files through various mediums whether its via email, the web or the company intranet. There should also be regulations around document sharing so that some individuals only have “view” permissions whilst others are able to edit the metadata and files.

Document Security

System security is one of the most important components of a document management system. Not every employee should have access to every file. Document security should permit every right employee to have the permission to view the relevant documents that can enable them to perform their required duties. By limiting user accessibility to sensitive data and information, important files are less likely to be at risk of security breaches and compromised.

Types of Document Management Systems

  • Cloud-based

    Cloud based document management systems are the more cost-efficient option of the two as the organisation is not responsible for the management nor the maintenance of the system. A third party will be responsible for all the hardware, software, security and backups needed to support the system. Organisations can use this service on a month to month basis where a periodic fee will be paid depending on the amount of usage and number of users required. Whilst organisations are able to enjoy significant cost savings and save on the headaches involved with maintaining the system, they are also at the mercy of the provider for security and control. After all, you are trusting your data to an external provider and depending on them for the security measures they have in place.

  • On premise

    On premise document management systems involves organisations to purchase hardware and software themselves to store and manage their data. You’ll be responsible for performing the necessary maintenance in keeping your system running, backing up the data and ensuring the right security measures are in place. This option involves a considerable amount of upfront investment in terms of both budget and IT resources as you’ll have to purchase the equipment and enlist a team to take care of the ongoing support. On site document management systems provide organisations with the most control over their documents and is perfect for businesses operating with sensitive information or strict regulatory compliances.

  • Hybrid

    Hybrid document management systems provide the best of both worlds. Organisations can enjoy the flexibility and scalability of the cloud whilst still being able to conform to strict governance policies. Confidential information that requires encryption can be stored on site for greater control whilst files that are frequently used in everyday can be situated within the cloud for easy access. Opting for a hybrid document management system offers a flexible user experience for employees whilst still ensuring compliance measures are being met.

Get in touch to find out more about Document Management

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the best document management software?

    Just like shoes, there is no one size fits all document management software. Every organisation is different, has unique challenges and requires distinct solutions. The best document management software for your organisation depends on the number of individuals within your organisation and the functionalities that you’re after. A well-planned document management system can add considerable value to your organisation by saving you both time and resources. Whilst a bad one can lead to inaccurate decisions, frustration and dissatisfied employees.

    A basic, simple document management system might meet all the needs of your competition but may prove to be useless for your organisation if its not solving your challenges. Before deciding to use a document management software, we recommend you identify the problems your organisation is facing in terms of locating and storing files. You can then keep an eye out for system with technical capabilities that can help you resolve these issues, enabling you to narrow down your options and ensure you’re actively matching your problems with suitable features.

  • How do companies management documents?

    Knowing where your documents are and being able to retrieve them when needed is essential to the daily operations of any company. In the current world where physical filing cabinets are no longer enough to store all of an organisation’s files, technology has prevailed and offered a digital solution to document management. Most companies now use a document management system to organise and keep track of their files.

    Document management systems are the electronic equivalent of a filing cabinet and enables organisations to scan paper-based documents into a digital format. User can then enter metadata and tags to organise the files in an easily retrievable manner. Modern document management software are also equipped with a range of sophisticated features such as integrations with third party applications, disaster recovery, and collaboration tools to improve the way organisations operate. Documents in all kinds of different formats from emails to images to handwritten can all be captured

  • How much is a document management system?

    There is no one price for a document management system as the pricing is dependent on a variety of factors. The type of software you choose, number of users and amount of storage can all affect the end price of a document management system. Cloud based document management software are often paid on a subscription basis where the pricing structure is based on the number of users and features included. Pricing for these subscriptions can range from $10 per user a month to upwards of hundreds.

    On premise document management systems are often a lot more expensive than cloud options as organisations need to purchase the hardware and software required upfront. As the price of this software is heavily dependent on the number of users and the vendor you choose to go with, options can range from the lower thousands to the tens of thousands.

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