All about document management and document management software
What is document management?
Before we define document management, let’s clarify in simple terms what qualifies as a document. A document can be considered as any record of information — paper or electronic — that is required for the functioning of an organization. And document management collectively refers to the set of activities like the creation, organization, retrieval, and sharing of documents by organizations for the effective management of information.
Document creation can refer to either the generation of documents by the organizations or the receipt of documents from vendors, partners, customers or regulators.
For example, businesses generate invoices for the products or services they sell to their customers, which are stored in the form of documents. These businesses can also receive payment receipts from their vendors, contracts from their partners, order forms or delivery details from customers, and certification, permits and tax receipts from regulators.
Document organization refers to the arrangement of documents in filing and storage systems in a way that the documents and the information can be easily found and retrieved later whenever needed. It is a healthy practice to organize files according to differentiating factors such as name, type, importance, or frequency of access to enable easy retrieval of information.
Document retrieval involves the process of searching for documents or information stored in them. As an organization grows older, it piles on a considerable volume of documents. Finding important documents when needed from this stockpile can be a challenge if proper document organization practices are not adopted.
Document sharing implies making documents and the information within them available to the people who require it, be it the employees of an organization, partners, vendors, or regulatory authorities (e.g., the Internal Revenue Service).
Effective document management means creating a system of practices that enable the delivery of the right amount and the right type of information to the right people at the right time through documents. And to ensure effective document management, organizations adopt different document management systems. With the advent of the digital age, businesses are rapidly moving towards the use of electronic documents and electronic document management systems.
What is document management workflow?
A workflow is an established series of activities performed, often by multiple people, to achieve an outcome. A document workflow is a system or set of procedures for creating, tracking, reviewing, editing, approving, storing, and retrieving documents, repeated on a regular basis to achieve different outcomes.
Different outcomes have different workflows to achieve them. So, the workflow for purchasing parts from a vendor is different from the workflow for resolving a customer complaint. Both these activities require the involvement of different kinds of information and hence different types of documents, different members of the organization, and different actions need to be performed by the personnel involved.
To make the concept of workflows clearer, let’s take the example of an office workflow for ordering a manufacturing component from a vendor:
The workflow is initiated on the factory floor, where a line manager requests the inventory department for the manufacturing component using a request form. The inventory department receives the request form and checks the inventory only to confirm the lack of the said component. The request is then forwarded to the purchasing department where a purchase order form is generated and signed by the purchase officer. The purchase officer also initiates payment after approval from the finance department and, upon the delivery of the ordered component, signs on and verifies the receipt and records the document in the organization’s file storage system.
We can see how even a simple task such as ordering a single manufacturing component requires the involvement of multiple people performing different actions in a standardized sequence. We can also see how a single workflow sequence can create multiple documents for the organization. Businesses, depending on their size, undergo multiple cycles of such operations, requiring these workflows to be as streamlined and efficient as possible. It is, therefore, quite clear why having paperless offices or paperless document management is the need of the hour.
What is document control?
Document control is the document management function that is responsible for planning, establishing, and executing standardized practices and procedures for creating, filing, retaining, modifying, sharing, and securing documents. The document control function, generally performed by a document control specialist or similar personnel, is responsible for communicating and upholding clearly defined policies for document-related activities across the organization that all employees must follow. Document control is necessary to not only ensure that all documents are in order and easy to access whenever needed but also to obtain quality certification from bodies like the International Standards Organization (ISO) and to ensure regulatory compliance.
What is paperless document management?
Paperless or electronic document management, is the practice of creating, organizing, retrieving, and sharing documents in the electronic format, instead of using sheets of paper for storing and sharing information. Paperless document management, although not always, is usually done using a document management software.
Although it is highly challenging to operate a 100% paperless organization, businesses can minimize the use of paper documents to not only save paper and stationery, but also reap other, more significant business benefits.
What are the benefits of having a paperless office?
The most obvious benefit of implementing paperless document management is saving expenditure on paper and other related office supplies. In addition to saving on stationery expenses, it also helps organizations to contribute to the global green initiative by making the organization more eco-friendly.
A paperless or electronic document management system enables users to find their saved documents with significantly greater ease. Imagine you have to find an important financial report for an audit that is due to take place in an hour. If you have a traditional document filing system, your best bet will be to instruct a group of people to scramble through physical folders, file cabinets, and drawers to find the urgently needed document. However, if you happen to have a paperless office where documents are stored electronically, finding any document becomes incredibly fast and easy. Since very little time is spent on finding and retrieving documents, the organization’s overall efficiency is also maximized. This eventually leads to gains in the business’s bottom line through both reduced costs and increased productivity.
Having a paperless office also minimizes the space requirements for paper documents, as documents and information worth millions of pages can be saved on a single hard drive that can fit into the palm of your hand. This is in contrast to having to maintain paper records that take up increasingly large spaces as a business continues to grow, or even if it just continues to operate. Since office spaces are not always available in abundance, especially for small and medium businesses, every bit of extra space helps to accommodate more employees or additional pieces of equipment that can allow the business to scale its operations.
Going paperless also enables organizations to streamline and speed up their workflows as most document workflows can be executed electronically. This saves a lot of time and effort for office employees and enables them to perform their workflow tasks with ease, cutting down the time required for the completion of workflow operations and expediting the entire business process for maximized efficiency.
What is a document management software?
A document management software is an application that provides individuals and organizations with the tools to create, organize, retrieve, and share electronic documents. Many of the best document management software also come with tools to automate and manage office workflows.
How does a document management software work?
A document management software comes with multiple features that enable users to perform different document-related tasks in a single location. It works similar to your default file management systems (Windows Explorer for PC, or Finder for Mac), but offers much greater functionality to help organizations manage their information and documents better. It acts as a unified, centralized repository for all your documents, including spreadsheets and PDF documents besides the standard .docx files.
The best document management software applications are capable of classifying documents using the contents of the documents in addition to classifying them based on the document metadata. They use advanced tools such as optical character recognition to read what is inside scanned documents to enable users to find documents easily, based on the information contained in those documents. Different document management software provide different sets of tools to not only create, organize, and share documents but also secure them to prevent data loss and theft.
What is a file management software?
A file manager is a basic software application that allows users to explore the files stored on their device. File managers can classify and work with a wide range of file extensions but are limited in functionality when it comes to organizing and indexing documents and searching documents in different ways. Thus, file managers cannot be used when users have to deal with large number of documents.
How are file managers different from document management systems?
The biggest difference between a file management system and a document management software or system is as obvious as their names suggests. While the purpose of file managers is to manage all the files stored on a device (hard drive or cloud), such as documents (.doc, .pdf, .txt), music (.mp3 or .aac), videos (.mp4 or .avi), executable files (.exe), batch files (.bat), etc., document management software specialize in organizing different kinds of documents. So, while a file manager may not be able to differentiate between an invoice document in the .docx format from a receipt with the .docx extension, a document management software can enable users to differently classify hundreds or even thousands of documents having the same file extension.
While file managers are useful for the average computer user, organizations that deal with thousands of documents need the greater functionality offered by document management software.
What are the benefits of using document management software?
Using document management software to create a paperless office can enable businesses, both big and small, to organize their documents in an easily searchable and retrievable repository. This is because using electronic systems for managing documents enable the arrangement and sorting of documents using different document organization methods. Using these methods of classifying documents, organizations improve the searchability and the ease of retrieval for their information. This makes the process of finding documents less time consuming, as finding files that traditionally required rummaging through file cabinets, folders and piles of paper now simply requires a few button presses and clicks. Activities that used to take hours can now be accomplished within minutes or even seconds. Thus, using document management software to organize information and documents can save a lot of time for organizations, which is becoming increasingly valuable in the business world.
In addition to helping organizations save time, a document management software enables teams to collaborate amongst themselves by enabling them to share documents with ease. Using such software, they can easily share information within the organization securely, without having to worry about information leakage. The best document management applications enable greater security control to ensure that sensitive information doesn’t get into the wrong hands. For instance, using document management software, system administrators or document owners can hide specific portions of documents from certain users. This ensures that documents can be shared within the organization without having to worry about unauthorized users seeing sensitive information within documents. Such features foster easy collaboration between members of an organization.
Using a document management software eliminates the possibility of documents being lost, misfiled, or illicitly tampered with. Documents stored in the application’s database can be easily discovered, regardless of how many documents are stored in it. These software enable users to search for documents using multiple criteria and not just the file name, so there isn’t much that a user has to remember about a document except for its contents when she needs to find it. Most of these software also allow users to automate the process of filing and arranging new documents, which minimizes or even eliminates the likelihood of documents being misfiled.
While paper documents can be — under certain circumstances — modified, duplicated, or forged, documents stored electronically cannot be modified without leaving a trail of evidence. The authenticity of documents can be maintained better using electronic document management systems.
What is workflow automation software?
A workflow automation software, as the name suggests, automates the day-to-day business processes or office workflows. It does so by automatically routing documents to the concerned members of an organization in a pre-programmed, standardized sequence and prompting them to take requisite action for the workflow to progress. This replaces and upgrades the traditional office workflows, where physical paper documents had to be carried from cubicle to cubicle and desk to desk, making the process longer than it needed to be. Using workflow automation software means all documents are shared and routed electronically so that there is no need for the workflow to be intermitted.
The most advanced and the best document management software come with the built-in ability to allow users to create document workflows and automate their document-related processes. They can customize workflows to closely replicate their business processes and can also track the progress of the workflows that are active. This streamlines the office processes and automates repetitive sequences that require the movement of documents between different departments and personnel for verification and approval, making the process more convenient for them. This ensures that employees can effortlessly perform their routine workflow tasks, and direct their effort towards activities that require greater focus and creativity.
Why do I need a document management software?
Regardless of whether you’re a small business, a giant corporation, a non-profit, or a government agency, a reliable document management software should definitely be a part of your organization. Having such an application helps you to make your documents and the information contained within them easily available to the right people at the right time, so they can take the right actions to help you sustain and grow your operations. Here are a few reasons why you need document management software:
To organize documents better
You need a document management software to help you organize documents in an easily searchable manner. This allows you to find your files fast and effortlessly without requiring you to remember specific details about them. You also need it to file your documents quickly, as they can automatically index files without requiring a lot of manual data entry.
To automate document workflows
You need a document management software to automate your routine business processes that require the participation of multiple people. Without such a software, document workflows will involve the sharing of documents as email attachments that would need to be downloaded, modified or approved, and then reuploaded by every user, adding extra, time-consuming steps to the process. Such processes, if performed multiple times a day, can eat up a huge chunk of your working hours, drastically impacting productivity. This brings us to the next point:
To improve office productivity
You need a document management software to maximize your office productivity by streamlining the process of sharing documents and information between different members and departments. In addition to enabling easy sharing, the software also help in speeding up official processes such as creating, filing and indexing new documents, searching for specific documents or specific bits of information contained by them, modifying the contents and the indexing information of documents, and deleting unwanted documents from your database. Each of these actions saves time and effort when performed using document management software. These effects compound over time and result in major productivity gains in the long run.
To save on document management costs
You need a document management software to improve the overall cost efficiency of your office operations. Office operations predominantly involve the consumption of paper, pens, ink, and other stationery supplies for the purpose of recording, storing, and sharing information through written or printed documents. Maintaining an inventory of such supplies takes up a significant portion of your business’s budget. Using a document management software can reduce these expenses to negligible amounts, and add more to your bottom line. Using such an application also makes other, indirect contributions to your finances.
To preserve and protect your documents
You need a document management software to ensure that your documents are preserved for as long as you need them. As you may know, paper documents are hard to maintain for long periods as they are susceptible to wear and damage with time and constant use. Recording and storing important information on paper documents can be risky, as the information can be lost in case of an accident or just due to continuous use. Electronic documents can be easily backed up and stored for as long as necessary, without any risk of damage or reduction in quality.
You also need a document management software to protect your documents and the information in them to remain unaltered either by accident or on purpose. It enables you to protect documents from illicit access and modification of stored information.
Am I legally required to have a document management software for my business?
While businesses have no legal obligation to have a document management software installed, different sections of the law do require businesses to manage their documents and the information contained in them in a transparent, standardized, and traceable manner. For instance, laws pertaining to finance and accounting such as Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) require the maintenance of finance-related documents transparently and immutably. Healthcare laws such as HiPAA require patient record document to be maintained and handled with utmost privacy. And, newly passed data privacy laws like the GDPR require businesses to handle and process customer data using standardized document control procedures to ensure the security of personal information. Using a document management software can help businesses to comply with such regulations with minimal effort, as many of them come inbuilt with document control functions.
How much do document management software cost?
The cost of document management software is variable depending on the vendor, the number of users, and the functionality of the software. The price may range from a few hundred dollars per user for a perpetual license to per user per year pricing model costing thousands of dollars per year.
Whatever the price of a document management software may be, it is crucial to note that if the right software is used the right way, you’ll end up saving much more than your paying. Thus, choosing the right vendor and utilizing the software features effectively can make it a lucrative investment for any organization.
What to look for in document management software?
Choosing the right document management software for your organization should involve an assessment of the software for the following:
Document management features
No two document management software vendors are the same. And whether one is right for you totally depends on your organization and your needs. Thus, the first question that you should consider is, “Does the software provide all the features I need?” Based on the nature of your organization, you might value specific features more than the others. You should see if the software has the features you need, and whether the features justify the price you will be paying for the software.
The software you use should have industry standard security and privacy features built-in. This is especially critical if you aim to use the document management software for storing personal information of your employees or customers, as you are legally required to ensure the security of personal data.
Your document management software vendor should be available to receive and respond to any queries, troubleshooting, and other feedback that you may have regarding the software.
What is GLOBODOX document management software?
Trusted by thousands of business and government organizations of different sizes across the globe, GLOBODOX is a feature-packed yet easy-to-use document management software by ITAZ Technologies. GLOBODOX makes the process of managing documents simple yet effective. Built around the principle of simplicity, GLOBODOX has all the features to satisfy your document-related needs.
Because GLOBODOX offers you best-in-industry features
Brimming with best-in-industry features, GLOBODOX will offer you and your organization the following benefits, among many others:
- Limitless document management
You can manage unlimited documents in all popular formats, such as .docx, .pdf., .xlsx,etc. using GLOBODOX in a single, unified application.
- Detailed access control
You can use GLOBODOX to control who can access and view which documents. You can also hide specific sections within documents from specific users for sharing only as much information as is required.
- Automated approval workflows
You can create customized workflows using GLOBODOX to replicate your organization’s document-centric processes. You can also emulate complicated consensus mechanisms for document approval using GLOBODOX’s workflow module.
- Minimized costs
Using GLOBODOX means not only saving on paper and other stationery but also on set-up, training, and maintenance costs.
- Ease of compliance
GLOBODOX’s strong security and privacy features make compliance with data privacy regulations easy and immanent to your data management practices.
Because our customers love GLOBODOX
Regardless of their sector, industry, and size, organizations of all types are experiencing the benefits of GLOBODOX document software. The continued growth of GLOBODOX over two decades is a testament to how much our customers enjoy using our software. You don’t have to take our word for it, read it from our customers themselves.
If you still aren’t sure if GLOBODOX is right for you, read on to know how, regardless of the nature of your business and your industry, GLOBODOX can be your go-to tool for managing documents.
Businesses can automate their accounts payable processes using GLOBODOX’s customizable workflows. They can automatically route invoices and other related documents to the concerned people, and notify them to take necessary action using GLOBODOX. GLOBODOX’s flexibility allows users to set up approval mechanisms by designing workflows that accurately represent organizational processes to streamline their operations.
Click here to know more about using GLOBODOX for accounts payable processes.
Confidentiality and data security is a vital requirement when it comes to storing documents for organizations operating in the legal industry. GLOBODOX allows legal teams to share case-related documents amongst themselves freely without having to worry about security concerns. GLOBODOX comes with best-in-industry security features that ensures data integrity without hindering efficiency. GLOBODOX can also be an excellent case preparation tool with its set of powerful annotation, and file organization features.
Click here to know more about how GLOBODOX can help legal industry practitioners.
GLOBODOX can help government agencies handle the vast volumes of documents that they need to deal with on a daily basis. GLOBODOX’s advanced, best-in-industry document organization features enable government officials to have a secure, yet well organized repository of all the information they may need, be it regarding property ownership records, forms submitted by civilians, identity information, or any other kind of information stored on documents. Government bodies can greatly enhance their productivity by using GLOBODOX’s workflow automation ability and save both time and funds.
Click here to find out how GLOBODOX automates governments’ document-related activities and workflows.
Purchase orders, invoices from vendors, transaction records, receipts, and bills — these are just a few of the documents that manufacturing organizations deal with through their operations. An application like GLOBODOX helps minimize cycle times by streamlining and automating document-centric processes involving different types of documents.
To know more about how GLOBODOX can contribute to manufacturing organizations, click here.
Educational organizations can store and process documents using GLOBODOX to help them keep up with the paperwork requirements that is inherent to the industry. Teaching staff, non-teaching personnel, and institutional managers can use GLOBODOX to organize the voluminous pile of documents generated every semester, every month, and every day, as soon as they are generated. This ensures that documents are easily retrievable when needed.
Click here to know more about what GLOBODOX can do for educational organizations.
Insurance organizations can store policy-related documents containing sensitive personal information in the secure repository offered by GLOBODOX. GLOBODOX’s advanced security features help in ensuring that all documents are duly protected. They can easily group together or link documents that related for ensuring quick retrieval when needed.
Top learn more about GLOBODOX’s benefits to organizations in the insurance industry, click here.
Banks can use GLOBODOX to store important documents, such as customers’ ID documents for KYC requirements. They can also use GLOBODOX’s audit trail feature to ensure that information is not tampered with, to ensure easy audits and demonstrate transparency to authorities, customers, and other stakeholders.
Learn about other ways that banks can benefit from GLOBODOX here.
Construction companies can use GLOBODOX to automate their processes according to their project plans. The status of projects can also be easily tracked by monitoring the corresponding workflows on GLOBODOX.
Here’s how GLOBODOX can add further value to construction companies.
GLOBODOX can serve as a secure and well-organized repository of patient information and the documents containing it. GLOBODOX allows healthcare organizations to exercise demonstrable document control to assure patients of data privacy, while ensuring the easy sharing of information to pertinent personnel such as physicians and nurses.
Click here to know more about how GLOBODOX can help healthcare organizations.
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…service, ease of use, multi-user friendly, simplicity, can be fitted to a smaller project, economical (didn’t have to buy a large, complex software package and that would be overkill), responsive service when needed…
— , Texas