In the current digital age, with more and more companies, organizations, groups, and individuals now maintaining, exchanging, and sharing electronic data online, it is necessary to have a streamlined system that allows easy storage and quick search and retrieval facilities for the vast amount of information and documents that need to be accessed.
A document management system (DMS) does exactly this. It helps you to store, manage, and track relevant documents. You can locate, retrieve, update, and share critical information from various work periods, and from various work projects, in a timely and efficient way, thus, simplifying the work process of your business or organization.
There are many management systems available currently, in either affordable or expensive models, or as downloadable open source systems, available free or for a fee. While price is certainly a deciding factor in purchasing a management system, the features offered by the system should be of primary consideration.
The priciest systems do not necessarily have the best features, or at least the features you particularly require for your business operations. So start by having at least a rough idea of your requirements.
Do you want a system that be accessed by all users, or one where each user gets a unique ID and must login to access? In case of logins, the users can create and edit personal profiles that can be read by others in the group.
The benefit of having a login DMS system is obvious and helpful if security is an issue, and you have documents you don't want accessed by the general public.
You can decide what documents are made available to users and in what formats, that is, read-only, or download as text document or PDF, and so on. You can also allow or disallow documents to be forwarded or emailed to other work associates or be stored in the user's online folder.
You will also want a DMS with an easy-to-use messaging facility, with message storing capability, and a message list where you can check all the messages posted by you or by others for you, and post new messages that you send to a selected user or to several users or to everyone in your address list.
There should be a contacts page, where you can manage all your contacts and their email and home/work addresses. You should be able to view a contacts list, manage it in alphabetical or non-alphabetical order, add new contacts, edit or delete existing contacts, send individual or group emails, forward messages, and so on.
Since the main purpose of the DMS is management of information, the DMS should have a well-defined, clearly designed and systematically arranged section.
This section should correctly categorize all the contained directories and their folders and files, together with all their specific information regarding author, size, modifications made, dates of creation and modifications, and any other pertinent details.
You should be able to access all the information by a simple click of the displayed buttons and add, edit, delete, and rename the documents as you want. You should be able to adjust privacy or viewing settings. You should be able to upload or download files.
You should also be able to search for files using relevant keywords. This is one definite advantage of storing data online to filing it on paper. With paper filing, you can search by categories or type, with online storage you can find a required file by categories and type, as well as by keywords or phrases.
You should also be able to store the files you require in your own personal online library from where you can access or download them at any time. You will also need administrative features that allow you, as the administrator, to oversee group or individual user management, message board management, document management, and help management.
You must be able to authorize the addition or deletion of users, activation or deactivation of user IDs, allocation of a memory to a user, allocation of a home directory to a user. You should be able to edit or delete messages posted by any of the users.
You must be able to manage and supervise the way workplace documents are accessed and used. You must ensure that there is a well-detailed help facility that outlines how the DMS can be used and that it is made available to all users.
Using a DMS is not only convenient, it also reduces the usage of paper, the expense incurred in storing all the paper, and the time spent in searching for documents. There is also a lesser chance of losing or misplacing documents. So it makes your work process more efficient and at the same time environment friendly.