Document Management Systems

Learn the basics about document management tools

Document management is crucial to daily operations for many businesses. Document management systems are designed to keep documents organized and structured in such a way that they are easy to find, update and organize at a moment's notice by any qualified team member.

For businesses that require tight controls on their documents, having a management system can be of paramount importance to ensure the highest quality control of the end document. A good system reduces the need for policies which may be forgotten or misinterpreted and helps to keep a document project on track to meet the required deadline. Since there are many document management systems at all price points, it makes sense to do a thorough document management system comparison to find one that has the features your business needs without overspending.

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Document Management System Features

Here are some of the main features of an electronic document management system:

  • Document metadata. This information includes details like the creation date, name of the author as well as the revision or document identity number.
  • Document indexing. Documents are parsed for metadata along with content to make searching for a specific or related document much easier.
  • Document storage and retrieval. Many document management systems include data storage and retrieval to make accessing a given document at any time faster and easier.
  • Document distribution and security. This feature governs the access restrictions of a document according to user or title permissions. Attributes such as read-only or editing functionality can be assigned to a particular user or group.
  • Document workflow and collaboration. Workflow helps to ensure that the document is completed on time by letting anyone on the team know where the document currently sits in the production queue and what the next step is in the cycle. Collaboration makes it easier to seek and gain feedback with other team members with proper attribution to those who participate in updates or revisions.
  • Publishing. Many document management tools also allow you to publish the document by uploading to the Internet or an intranet, or printing off a hard copy that can be filed for later reference. Publishing also adheres to the workflow scheduling, ensuring that the document has been properly edited beforehand. This reduces the chances of mistakes making it to the final copy.

In many ways, document management systems work like search engines; they index and return relevant documents based on a search query. However, document management takes the next step of allowing document manipulation to those with the required permissions.

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