Step-By-Step Guide To Improving Your Document Management System

guide to improve your document management system

The world is undergoing significant technological advancement in this age, and ground-breaking inventions and systems are being discovered daily. Companies that previously resisted such advancements have begun to embrace and make use of them. But many companies are still oblivious to what a document management system is and how it can be used to solve problems in an organization. Those who are aware of the tools for managing documents also do not have a solid grasp of how it can be improved.

What’s Document Management System & Document Management Software?

Have you ever imagined an office that minimally uses paper for storing, tracking and managing documents? A document management system seeks to achieve this reality.

A document management system is an organization system that makes tracking, storing and managing documents easier by reducing the use of paper. There are two types of document management systems:

  • Paper document management systems, which manage and store hard-copy records; and
  • Electronic document management systems, which record physical files in an electronic medium and manage and track the records from there.

The document management practice in any organization is set up to classify, organize and manage a company’s records from the moment those files are created to when they are discarded. While this practice may appear to be a difficult task for a company employee to carry out, various DMS has been created to automate and manage the records of an organization.

A DMS is a computer program that enables quick access, management, editing and tracking of information by creating an electronic cabinet for the files. Such software makes it easier to convert paper files into a digital format and to store the files in a hub. With excellent DMS, companies can significantly reduce their use of paper.

It is essential to use an effective management system so as to avoid violating several laws and incurring stiff penalties. One such law is the HIPAA Omnibus Rule, which carries a penalty of about $1.5 million, an exorbitant fine to pay for an otherwise avoidable problem.

Benefits Of Using An Electronic Document Management System In An Organization

Many people find it difficult to identify the benefits that a document management system can bring to the table. However, the benefits are evident. The use of document management systems and software improve the productivity of every organization that employs them. Additional benefits of using a document management system include:

  • Reduction in misplaced documents: In an organization that manages large volumes of paperwork, it is highly likely that a number of documents will be misplaced in the process. With electronic DMS like M-files and Noodle Intranet, the number of lost files is significantly reduced.
  • Forgoing of file cabinets: Storing physical records can also be a problem to an organization due to the need for large cabinets to house all of the documents that the organization maintains. With electronic documents, all records and data are stored in a single electronic cabinet.
  • Fewer repetitive tasks: The transfer, sorting, and management of such documents is a monotonous job for employees who handle the paperwork. With document management systems and software, these repetitive tasks can be reduced.
  • Document security: No matter how protected a physical cabinet may appear, it cannot be as secure as an electronic cabinet. An electronic cabinet also enables the company to store duplicates of the documents in different drives. Electronic document management systems reinforce the security of digital documents. In 2016, a $3.9 million fine was issued to the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research for a data breach. The Institute could have avoided such a fine had they employed a reliable document management system.
  • Automation of invoice approval: Organizations that frequently generate invoices can automate the approval process with document management systems and software like BizPortals 365. This software simplifies the invoice approval process with its built-in workflow automation and project and document management.

How To Improve Your Document Management System

1- Decide on the most suitable management software for your organization: DMS facilitates and expedites the tracking, storing, accessing and managing of organizational records. Nonetheless, you must decide which software best suits your organization’s needs, as DMS is embedded with many general features. Various software, such as PandaDoc, Samepage, and Zimbra, can streamline your document management practice.

2- Appoint an administrator: It may be difficult to keep tabs on the documents in your management system due to the workload that each employee already manages. Moreover, many people may struggle to keep track of and maintain online document management systems. To help improve your document management system, consider hiring an expert to operate and manage the system. You can also appoint an internal administrator to assist the primary administrator.

3- Establish a standard system for naming and filing documents: When converting physical files to an electronic format, establishing a standardized system makes it easy for any employee to retrieve the file. You should ensure that your employees know where all the documents should be stored and that those documents are accessible to others. For internal files, it is essential that you organize leads, invoices and other documents by type and place them into separate folders. Make sure that the file-naming structure adequately describes and details the document. However, make sure said file-naming structure is easy to replicate. Using a standard filing system can save time and improve the efficiency of your document management system.

4- Make use of a batch conversion system: The switch from physical to digital files can be a tedious, repetitive process that can waste considerable time and resources. Hence, when converting large volumes of files, always consider a batch conversion system. Peernet offers several batch conversion products that you can use to improve your document management system.

5- Back up all of your documents: Backing up your files and documents cannot be overemphasized. These documents are vital to your business, and you should ensure that they do not get lost or stolen. DMS comes in handy in such scenarios. Alfresco and Greenbox are two types of software that periodically request that you back up your documents. It is advisable to store document backups in a different drive so that any one of them can be retrieved easily. Centene Corporation, an insurance company, lost six of their 26,000 hard drives. This relatively small number of lost records resulted in many lawsuits filed against the company. The use of backup drives can prevent the loss of records contained in a lost or stolen hard drive. Many companies make use of databases management systems by backing up their files.

6- Avoid using website-based converters in your organization: Despite the overabundance of web-based document converters on the internet, none are suitable for an organization. These web converters are problematic and unreliable for the following reasons:

  • Security problems: You can never be assured of the security of your files when using a web-based converter. Many of these converters contain viruses and bugs that can damage or extract valuable information. You do not want your organization’s private information leaked to the public, so avoid web-based converters.
  • Incorrect settings: Another concern with web-based converters is the limited functions that they can perform. Most of the settings will not suit your needs, and you may not be able to determine which document output format you should utilize.
  • No batch conversion option: With web-based converters, you cannot carry out a batch conversion of files or documents. For an organization trying to handle numerous paperwork conversions, this is a significant problem. Converting files one at a time will waste valuable time and resources.

7- Enforce an auditing program: Designing and implementing an excellent document management system are only the first steps in the process. To ensure that your system is working as expected, you should perform frequent accountability tests. These tests will help to not only track the policies and strategies that you have implemented in the system, but also determine if the DMS you have acquired works properly. For an unbiased opinion of the system, consider contracting an external auditor to run background checks on the functionality of the system. Also consider assigning an internal administrator to work hand-in-hand with the external administrator.

About David: Techthusiast & Avid Traveler.