Document Management Software for Small and Mid-Sized Business

Steve Breault

Steve Breault

All businesses create different types of documents while doing and keeping track of various steps involved in the business. And to organize these documents in an easy to retrieve form, all businesses need to establish some rules and policies about creating and saving these documents. Most small businesses believe that only substantially large organizations require document management software in order to maintain huge amounts of records and files. However, document management is more about streamlining the process of recording and storing the documents needed for smooth functioning of your business, rather than just electronic storage of large quantities of paper files.



As a business entity your organization may be creating several types of documents including invoices, balance sheets, information brochures, payment reminders, spreadsheets, annual or monthly reports and so on. Even if you have a database management system it only helps in maintaining structured data such as short records in the form of customer ID, name, address, order number, and so on.

On the other hand, document management software uses automatic data capture and allows you to save your files in many types of formats. This includes unstructured data such as text, sound or video clips, images, spreadsheets, and so on, thus giving a wider platform for digitizing your current document management system. Document management software can be viewed as an automation tool used to facilitate smooth functioning of your business. When implemented correctly it can increase efficiency, streamline routine work, and analyze and retrieve data more quickly.

Some benefits that document management software offers over traditional filing systems include:

Consistency: A major part of document management for your small or mid-sized business is creation and storage of templates for different types of documents. However, in case there are several people collaborating and updating or reviewing the documents, then you would need a system that ensures consistency and efficiency. Automatic data capture feature of a document management system helps capture relevant data from document, as set by the user, and storing it in appropriate location on the computer. Once a folder has been set, all documents of one type, say invoices, are stored in that folder. This helps in maintaining consistency in storage and retrieval of specific documents. Same is the case with many other procedures carried out using the software.

Storage: This aspect of automatic data capture takes away a big burden of storage space and time involved in keeping paper documents in an organized manner. For instance, you may have a good filing system with an organized referencing style to store all your paper files. However, you can probably imagine the time consumed while looking for a file in case it’s not filed as per the referencing rules of your office.  An automated system works almost entirely without any manual intervention, thus tremendously reducing the scope of error while filing.

Retrieval: This is one of the major concerns of all types of businesses including small or mid-sized ones. Most organizations often complain about misplaced or lost documents, simply due to the quantity of documents being received and dispatched on a daily basis. The time lost in looking for documents is one of the major losses that small businesses face. Document management software completely eliminates the chances of loss of information as it uses a robust storage and retrieval system including backup. As almost all documents can be shared electronically, loss of paper file remains of no consequence any more.

Security: Securing a document management system is also a primary concern for small businesses. However, in an electronic system having access control through user names and passwords for employees at different levels, documents can be shared on need-to-know basis. For instance, monthly or yearly reports need not be seen by all employees and can be exclusively shared with higher management only.

Manual systems are fast becoming redundant in the face of growing user demands and higher expectations of clients, brought due to computerization of many systems. As your clients observe other organizations using electronic document management to facilitate faster service for them, they are bound to expect the same level of competence from your business as well. Considering this, installing document management system can help your business become more efficient and quickly comply with the needs of your clients. 

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