Document Management Software With Versioning

Steve Breault

Version control forms an important part of document management. Though extensively used by software developers, many organizations are now using versioning to manage duplicate content and track document changes. Documents such as monthly reports, presentations and new policies undergo several changes before being finalized, creating several versions of a document, each of which may be required at some point. For instance, a monthly report would change every month, however, the reports created in previous months may be required during yearly appraisal of work done.

Document management software provides the version control feature in order to manage, track, store and retrieve different versions of a document. Such a system is usually required when several team members are working on a project, with many making changes to the same document. For instance, a presentation on project development and progress may require inputs from all the team members working on the project. Thus, changes will be made to the same presentation, saved as a different version by each member, and later integrated to make the final presentation by the team leader.

A version control system in digital document management works through the check-in and check-out system. The check-in allows you to save the current version of a document in the central repository and check-out allows you to retrieve current or previous versions of a document. Versioning often involves several steps such as reviewing, editing and modifying before finally being approved. When several people work on the same document, it may result in confusion over the latest version of a document, who made the changes and why, current working version and final approved version. Document management software can be of great help in sorting out such problems. Some benefits of a version control system are:

Ability to return to a previous working version: In case of an error or accidental deletion of a working version of a document, you can return to a previous working version. Many version control systems work by taking a snapshot of changes being made. This way you can check the order in which the changes were made and recreate the current working version.

Track who made the changes: When you know who made the changes, you can seek clarification and approve the document accordingly. This also avoids duplication of content as you know which version was created and updated by whom.

Maintain previous versions: Document management software allows versioning by enabling you to maintain previous versions and create their replacements at the same time. For instance, a mapping company may require older versions of a map before the new version is created and approved.

Maintain record of development process: Progress reports may be required from time to time to apprise the higher management or simply to check it against the designated completion time. Version control in digital document management helps you keep track of progress of a project and how it is being developed.

The version control system in digital document management works by assigning version numbers to the documents, making it easier for the users to keep track. Apart from this, you can also add comments and descriptions so different team members can check the content of a document before retrieving and using them. Version control may be required at some point in document life cycle. Document management system offers a comprehensive solution to managing different versions of a file.

Steve Breault “DocMeister”

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