Document Management Software for SMBs

steve-in-white-1Document management has evolved in the past few decades, from records being maintained on registers to the Relational Database Management System and document management software. Information technology has changed the way businesses function today. Most government organizations and industry sectors like engineering, construction, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and banks already have a document management system in place. However, in today’s business environment, every type of organization requires a document management system, no matter what its size or function.

Even if you own a small or mid-sized business, maintenance of different types of records and documents must be of utmost importance. If you are frequently facing problems such as loss of documents, misplaced reports or accidental deletion of records, you definitely require professional document management software. A document management system is not just a software with fancy features. It is a combination of different technologies brought together to provide a sophisticated and comprehensive document management solution. Some technologies used in electronic document management system are:

Automatic data capture or digital imaging: The digital imaging systems in the form of scanners, form recognition packages and character readers convert paper documents into digital documents. Such a system enables employees to capture, store, search, retrieve and share any type of document stored systematically in a digital format. Automatic data capture saves data in two formats, image or PDF which cannot be modified and text format which can be edited. Both formats may be required at some point in time. For example, image format is ideal for invoices coming from outside, as these will not be modified at any stage during processing and archival.

Workflow: Document management software with workflow systems are aimed at automating the business process. Such a system allows a business to define, manage and control the way information moves through various departments or processes. This enables a business to maintain strict quality control, improve customer service and concentrate on business objectives.

Optical storage: Storage in the form of an optical jukebox has become extremely popular in the recent years. It serves as a great option to online storage and enables storage of large volumes of data. So such a system works best for large volumes of video, images or audio files, say in real estate, medical or construction business.

Groupware systems: Groupware systems support more than two users performing the same set of tasks. Such a system provides an interface that can be shared with other users. Some features of groupware systems include bulletin boards, electronic schedulers and discussion databases, all of which can be incorporated into document management software.

Electronic publishing and sharing: Every type of data can be electronically published on a CD or DVD. Apart from this, data can also be shared or distributed via intranet or the World Wide Web through email.

Automatic data capture, storage, automatic indexing, version control, maintenance, security, automatic retention and deletion, are some of the basic features offered by document management software. The type or version of software you choose would depend on the type of business you have. If you have a small business, then document management software with basic functions such as metadata capture, security, version control and storage would suffice. However, for a mid-sized or large business, you may require additional functions such as automatic conversion, free-text search, large storage capacity, networking, and so on.

Apart from being compatible with your existing system of document management, the software you choose must enable you to follow government standards for electronic document management. For instance, public records such as company policy should be easily accessible, whereas confidential documents must have adequate security and access control. With the right type of document management solution you will certainly be able to take care of administrative, technical and legal requirements related to document management.

Steve Breault “DocMeister”

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