What is document management?

What is document management?

Document management is a system or process for managing collections of documents. It is about organising your information needs efficiently and, in modern practice, usually comes down to the automated management of your document flows. The goal of document management? To bring more order and clarity to the management of your files, so that people can find, access and share the right information more quickly and easily. 

And why is it important?

Documents are the backbone of a company. They contain the important information that drives your processes and keeps the organisation running. Thanks to the digital revolution, organisations are managing more documents than ever. Pdfs, Word documents, Google Docs, Excel spreadsheets and – in the case of technical companies – graphic documents such as construction and CAD drawings.

Of course, this impressive collection of documents is a source of valuable data. The problem is that many organisations struggle to get a grip on their document and information flow. For example, did you know that many employees waste an average of 16 hours a year searching for documents? The solution to this problem? Good document management! In this article, we explain what we mean by document management and why it is an absolute must in the year 2022.

Components of document management

Document management consists of a number of components. These are actually the pillars on which a good information overview rests. 

  • The inventory. Map out where employees can find which documents.
  • Determining a structure. This divides documents into fixed categories or document types so that endless searching is a thing of the past.
  • Determine which documents you will keep in your system for the long term and which you can remove after a while.
  • Making a good system of roles and rights that determines who does or does not have access to certain documents.
  • Integrating different systems in which you store documents.

The document management system (DMS)

Document management will only be successful if you have a modern digital system that can act as a central information hub. A document management system (DMS) is therefore the heart and engine room of a modern information environment. It provides the combination of the overview and the tools you need to digitise, structure, manage and share all internal and external documents.

A good DMS provides various functionalities and services that help to create an orderly information landscape.

  • Scanning and identifying a document. Think of defining the document type, but also of adding labels and metadata. All these attributes ensure that documents can be found and scanned quickly.
  • Sharing documents. A good DMS helps employees and external parties with the right rights to share documents without having to send a laundry list of e-mails with attachments back and forth.
  • Collaborating on documents. With a DMS, employees can collaborate on and in the same documents regardless of location. Very important in an era where hybrid working is becoming the new normal.
  • With a DMS, you can set up workflows for the automatic flow of files. Useful for documents that have to pass through many hands or different departments for approval.
  • With a good DMS, documents are stored centrally and securely.

Read the next article: “Why document management?