6 Ways To Improve Your Document Control System
Keeping records and maintaining documentation are practices as old as trade and commerce. However, technology revolutionised the format and process of record keeping and document management.
The document management system helps you receive, store, track, and manage documents. Efficient management of the document control system enables you to save operational costs. Adherence to established best practices will help you improve your document control system and derive the benefits of running a sound document management system.
Table Of Contents
- Why is a document management system required?
- How to keep track of your documents?
- What should your document control system include?
- Implementing a document management system
- Six ways to improve your document management system
Why Is A Document Management System Required?
For the smooth and efficient running of any organisation, it needs to have a Document Control System, also known as the Document Management System (DMS). The DMS is the system of classifying, organising, and managing the documents of a firm from the instant of their creation to the time they are disposed/deleted. The document management system is integral to a firm’s larger information governance, risk management, and regulatory compliance aims.
How To Keep Track Of Your Documents?
Documents can be tracked with a document tracking system that helps access, search, and edit documents. It is an integral part of the document management system. It enables access and edit control over the documents. The tracking service also provides document security, integration with third-party systems, and storage.
Although a document tracking system shares many similarities with a DMS and is often included as a feature of the DMS, they are separate systems. The difference is that, as the name suggests, the tracking system is a specialised system designed to track. On the other hand, the DMS provides a broader set of features - such as collaboration and the sharing and transfer of documents.
What Should Your Document Control System Include?
The essential features that every document management system should possess are:
Document Input: The DMS should enable the inputting of files using multiple means such as a scanner, e-mail, manual upload and bulk uploadwith an automated mass uploading process through mobile applications and web services. These become essential when transitioning from a conventional documentation system to an electronic document control system.
Document Indexing: Indexing requires associating or tagging documents with various ‘search’ terms. Indexing defines the path to the documents. Depending on your process automation preferences and business processes, the path can be customised.
Document Search: The document search engine facilitates secure search, document content and metadata search, and advanced search on multiple document attributes.
Document Processing: This enables the conversion of paper-based & electronic documents into electronic information using either Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR), Optical Character Recognition (OCR), or staff for data entry.
Workflow Automation: The document management system should have integral enterprise business process management and workflow automation to automatically and seamlessly route documents to their destinations.
Security: Security in the DMS enables robust document encryption and role-based access. In addition, the security feature allows audit trail, fixing access rights, encryption, indexing of revisions, SSL support, and ownership modification.
User Dashboard: The DMS should have a simple dashboard with workflow and document inboxes, alerts, notifications, chat, calendar, e-mail, etc.
Customisation: Depending on the business, the DMS should allow customisation. Users should be able to design their workflows and create their dashboard reports.
Implementing a Document Management System
Implementation of an efficient document control system establishes file naming norms, guidelines for review and update, storage, procedures for document sharing, collaboration, etc. Successful implementation is key to the efficient functioning of the organisation and is an important enabler for the scaling up of the business.
The steps involved in the implementation of the DMS include:
Identify Business Needs: Identify the business processes, the workflow, and how the files/documents will pass through these processes. Also, define how you intend to track the documents.
Specify User Types: In the document control procedure, it is essential to specify the types of users and their authority strictly on a need basis. The system should provide a secure environment for the employees to access and view the required documents.
Select Features. The DMS comes equipped with multiple features. Choose features that are relevant and required for your needs. Redundant features slow down work and reduce productivity.
Process Automation. Automate repetitive processes, and wherever feasible, also simplify the processes. Configure the system to provide the flexibility to edit existing workflows and create new ones.
Systems Integration. The DMS should be integrated with other existing software applications, hardware systems, and existing software. The integration should enable seamless operations, increase productivity and lower costs.
Six Ways to Improve your Document Management System
Effective document control/management system is key to efficient operations. Leveraging the power of a DMS enables streamlined processes. The six ways to improve your document management system include:
1. Establish Access Levels: Establish graded access for different groups of users. Having graded access defines accountability and improves the usage of the system. Having graded access levels also helps produce an audit record trail.
2. Train the Team: Train the team on the DMS functionalities so that they can use to the full potential of the platform. Together with training, enforce an audit & accountability program. This will help you track your adherence to laid down policies.
3. Designate a System Admin: Designate a system admin to streamline the use of the system and avoid duplication and erroneous entries. The system admin will create folders and document groups suited to your needs. The admin will also deermine access, define authority levels, undertake system maintenance, and periodically update the software.
4. Keep DMS Software Updated: Keep the system updated such that you derive the benefit of the latest features and functions. With every update, the security features are also enhanced, and you benefit from the protection against cyber threats.
5. Promulgate a Clear Tagging System: To make the system efficient, create a tagging system and communicate it to the team members. The tagging system helps provide easy access to documents. It eases the use of the system and enhances the user experience.
6. Create Document Versioning: The DMS should enable the storage of different versions of the document with document versioning. This facilitates the access of documents from other devices which contain documents of different versions. Versioning enables editing of existing documents without writing over the original content. This also allows tracking the changes in a document for superior audit trails.
The software for document management system equips the organisation with an efficient and secure documentation system. Effective usage of the system improves productivity and enables information sorting, tracking, and user collaboration.
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