Why companies need a DMS?

It is a common knowledge that managing your documents requires a system. One may think that scanning and digitizing can be a way out, but practice shows that it is not a solution.

Modern state of businesses and organizations proves that electronic documents can be lost and/or destroyed as easily as their paper predecessors. The reason is that today an average organization has to deal with so massive amounts of electronic data that it is difficult for one person to manage it.

So digitizing does not really automate the data management process, being rather just the first step towards automation.


A bit of history

The concept of a Document Management System (DMS) was developed in 1980s. At first DMSs were designed to deal with “traditional” documents, then electronic DMSs appeared when digital data became more widespread. It began with separate vendors developing their own solutions and by the end of 1990s this process came far enough to reach the standardization phase. A number of new ISO standards were created for this particular segment including ISO 15836 and others. DMS systems developed together with the understanding how they should operate.

Modern look

Finally, a modern DMS is supposed to have the following basic features:

  • Archiving: files that are not in use at the moment are stored with reducing the memory usage;
  • Retrieval: files are easy to open, edit and save for all users including remote ones;
  • Indexing: files of different formats are indexed in flexible way in order to help users find them quicker;
  • Security: access to the data is limited to authorized users only with different levels of access created according to users’ administrative rights;
  • Recovery: special tools are present for recovery of data deleted by accident, due to systems failures or hacker attacks;
  • Metadata: additional information is attached to each document including its owner, its history of changes, short description etc.

Which one to choose?

A typical today’s organization uses computer networks for managing its activity and therefore operates lots of electronic data. Adoption of an electronic management system is the only way to handle all that information efficiently.

But the real question is not whether to adopt a DMS or not – it is about choosing a right solution for a certain case. Any changes in organizational process are only justified when making profit – may it be cost saving or time saving. A good DMS must be helpful. Thus, it has to meet the following requirements:

  • Compatibility: a DMS designed for Windows will not be the best choice for a company using Linux software;
  • Flexibility: collaboration with up-to-date informational technologies and new data formats is very important;
  • Speed: typically, modern DMS has to deal with massive data loads which doesn’t mean its users have to wait for too long.

Finding a proper DMS solution for a specific business is the final step after defining the general requirement to it. Today there are many big vendors in this market segment so choosing one of them is typically a task for a CIO. Choose carefully and enjoy the benefits!

In our next article we will tell you how to choose a system, so stay tuned!

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