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10 Essentials of Document Management

10 Essentials of Document Management

Most systems are designed to store and deliver information that goes far beyond traditional scanned paperwork. They can handle any file created or viewed on a user’s workstation, such as Microsoft Office documents and spreadsheets, emails, faxes, web content, digital photographs, voice recordings or electronic reports.

If your company is already using software systems, integration is vital. Integrating or “image enabling” your existing systems will dramatically enhance productivity and user acceptance while minimizing training. With the right document management system, document retrieval can be a keystroke away for your current applications.

Once a digital information system is in place, you can begin to take advantage of the benefits. You now have complete visibility of every piece of information including the virtual location and its stage of processing. Electronically routing documents through your business process can streamline your workflow procedures. Electronic workflow can deliver dramatic efficiency gains by allowing multiple departments to process electronic documents at the same time.

Digital information lends itself to comprehensive security control. Documents and features can be protected by finely tuned security rules that provide dramatic improvements over traditional file cabinets. Digital information can be readily produced for audits, easily backed up for disaster recovery or automatically purged at the end of document life.

When searching for the document management system that works best for your company, there are ten essentials you must consider.


A document management system should allow users to rapidly send all types of information to the database along with necessary cataloging or index information. Look for the systems that can easily commit any type of file or information source to the system. The more flexible and varied the options, the more likely the system will meet all of your current and future needs.


It is vital to find a document management system equipped with integration capabilities to exchange information with your existing systems. It should allow users to capture information entered during the task process, not just upon task completion, and automatically assign it to the associated documents in the document management system. Advanced systems provide extensive options, not only allowing you to accomplish today’s needs, but provide a platform that can grow and evolve with your company.

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One of the most important benefits of capturing paper documents to electronic files is the ability to monitor, route, locate and control documents as they progress through your business. Workflows with the power of document management provide audit trails as documents progress through your business, mandate corporate policies and process steps and allow for simultaneous activity that is not possible with paper files. When selecting a document management system, find a flexible one that can make your current processes more efficient.

Related: 4 Signs You Need Workflow Automation


Many systems can accommodate a business of any size. By providing tailored storage options and modular construction, the document management system can optimize business processes for companies with a few hundred documents to enterprises with millions of documents. These systems are designed to grow as your business grows, so make sure the system you choose can handle that expansion with ease.

Remote Access

A document management system should provide remote users with all of the same tools and features as local users and the same level of security. While off-site or traveling, users should be able to continue normal activities over any Internet connection without the need for dedicated connections or VPNs. Before choosing a system, thoroughly investigate compatibility with your environment and verify that the security meets your requirements.


A document management system is inherently the most secure way to store documents. A comprehensive system provides options that enable corporations to tailor security to their needs. When choosing your document management system, make sure that database information can be secured from outside influences, and also controlled internally with access limitations that prevent employees from accessing information they shouldn’t have.


A well-designed document management system allows users to complete all previous paper-based tasks with improved efficiency, accuracy and visibility at every step. A document management system that will make your business more efficient will provide instant accessibility to documents, a method of creating new documents by collecting information from multiple sources, forms and character recognition software, annotation and redaction capabilities and streamlined output tools.


A comprehensive document management system can automatically provide full visibility and audit tracking functions for every action performed across the enterprise. Managers should not only be able to see what actions have already taken place, but also monitor the status of work in progress.


Document management systems allow you to create and maintain duplicates of all the paper documents in your company at a secondary location. This redundancy permits efficient backups with conventional methods like tape, data replication or online backup services.


Document management systems need to provide strong encryption to ensure data integrity. Look for methods like 128-bit AES encryption, the standard for the Department of Defense, to protect your documents. The system you choose should be configurable to automatically perform scheduled archive or purge activities, and allow you to configure and enforce complex strategies, all while making it easy to accommodate changing regulations.

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