Why should you use a document management system?
What is a document management system?
A document management system (DMS), is the use of a computer system and software to store, manage and track electronic document and electronic images of paper based information captured through the use of a document scanner. It is how your organisation stores, manages and tracks its electronic documents. Document management is the software that controls and organises documents throughout an organisation. It incorporates document and content capture, workflow, document repositories, COLD/ERM, and output systems, and information retrieval systems. Also the processes used to track, store and control documents.
Document management is one of the precursor technologies to content management. It provides some of the most basic functionality to content management, imposing controls and management capabilities. Some features in document management:
- Check-in/Check-out and locking – to coordinate the simultaneous editing of a document so one person’s changes don’t overwrite another’s
- Version control – so tabs can be kept on how the current document came to be, and how it differs from the versions that came before
- Roll-back – to ‘activate’ a prior version in case of an error or premature release
- Audit trail – to permit the reconstruction of who did what to a document during the course of its life in the system
- Annotation and stamps
Document management systems today range in size and scope from small, standalone system to large scale enterprise-wide configurations serving a global audience. Many document management systems provide a means to incorporate standard physical document filing practices electronically. These include:
- Storage location
- Security and access control
- Version control
- Audit trails
- Check-in/Check-out and document lockdown
Issues with paper filing:
Space – one of the biggest downfalls of using a paper based filing system is the amount of space it can take up. Whilst at first your business will be small enough that it is not a huge deal, but eventually you might find yourself taking up rooms just to fit the files in. This also can mean you will have to go out of your way to hunt down files. This can interrupt you and your employee’s productivity levels, as rather than focusing on your work, your time gets taken up by looking for paper documents. Whereas if you had a DMS all documents are readily available after quick index search.
Damages and Misplacement – paper document filing means you are placing faith in those handling the files. There are many ways they can be damaged, lost or misplaced. A fire or natural disaster could mean the loss of all your clients’ important information. You will have to start over trying to get the information back. It can lead to you losing clients who don’t appreciate mishandling of their information.
Difficult to make changes – when working with paper documents it is much harder to make changes. Every time you want to make a change you will have to make a copy, so you don’t destroy the original with any edits or comments you might add. This means the editing process is more time consuming than if you were working with digital copies.
Time consuming – paper document filing is very time consuming. Not only do you have to organise and store the files, hunting down the information when it’s needed can take time. It can take anywhere from minutes to hours to hunt down a file, depending on how well your organisation is. This can cause annoyance for clients as well as for employees. Their productivity is lowered by having to spend excessive time dealing with a paper filing system.
Lack of security – Paper documents can be less secure than electronic filing systems. Misplaced documents can easily be placed in the wrong hands. Clients expect their information to be secure in your hands. If you can’t keep this safe, you are at risk of losing them. A cabinet filed with files is far easier to access than a computer which requires a password and credentials to get into.
High cost – when you use paper documents your costs are going to be higher because you are paying for ink and paper. Your office supply bill will be higher if you are using a paper document system. Whilst you might think this is insignificant, overtime it’s a lot of money that can be used in better way.
Reduced physical storage – with office space getting more expensive as time goes on, paying for space to store paper document can be out of the question. Switching to a document management system means you can scan and upload the paper that’s taking office space, allowing you to shred these documents and reclaim your space.
Lower costs – paper can cost a fortune over a year’s time, especially when used as a vehicle for dispensing information to employees. A document management system is not only more capable of handling this and other tasks, but the amount of money that can be saved by making the switch is impressive.
Save time – when documents are piled into filing cabinets, finding something quickly can be exceptionally difficult, one of the major features and benefits of a document management system is that you and your staff can instantly access whatever documents you may need, regardless of where you are. Employee efficiency is a time-saver. Business-wise or otherwise, time saved is money saved.
Indexing – regardless of how well-organised a filing system you may have, there’s simply too much potential for error with physical documents. A document management system will provide you and your staff with robust indexing capabilities, allowing you to know exactly where everything is at all times. With tags, categories, subcategories, and metadata to mark your files and documents, they become easier to organize, locate, and retrieve for future use. A search using the appropriate keywords can yield results in a matter of seconds.
Going green – going green is increasing in importance. People and companies everywhere are taking steps to lower their impact on the environment. Running a green business isn’t always easy, but one of the best ways to make lasting changes is to move towards utilizing a document management system. Thousands of sheets of paper per month can be saved by taking this step, which translates not only to a more environmentally-friendly business model, but reduced costs as well
Security – when documents are not managed, the possibility of important information being exposed to the wrong people in considerable. Vital, sensitive information falling into the wrong hands can bring irreversible damage to a business. Document management software solutions will let you safeguard confidential business information through rigorous security policies and role-based access control where authorised users alone were allowed to view certain files or documents.
GDPR is the General Data Protection Regulation, a regulation that requires businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of EU citizens for transactions that occur within EU member states. And non-compliance could cost companies dearly. It standardises data protection laws across all 28 EU countries and imposes strict new rules on controlling and processing personally identifiable information (PII), it also extends the protection of personal data and data protection rights by giving control back to EU residents. These new rights allow people to access the information companies’ hold about them, obligations for better data management for businesses, and a new regime of fines. The GDPR sets high standards in terms of privacy, security and compliance.
Under GDPR, the data protection principles set out the main responsibilities for organisations. Below are 7 privacy principles from Article 5 of the GDPR requires that personal data shall be:
- Lawfulness, fairness and transparency – “a) processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals;” – personal information collected to deliver a good or service must be done so lawfully and fairly, and individuals must be told what their personal information will be used for. Personal information can only be collected with the individual’s consent, and a record of this consent must be kept
- Purpose limitations – “b) collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes; further processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes shall not be considered to be incompatible with the initial purposes;” – personal information may only be collected for a specific and legitimate purpose and not for a new, incompatible purpose (unless consent for this new purpose is gained)
- Data minimisation – “c) adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed;” – the processing of personal information needs to be limited to what is necessary in order to achieve the processing purpose
- Accuracy – “d) accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay;” – personal information must be collected accurately and kept up to date in order to avoid risk to the individual. Inaccurate information must be erased or corrected without delay
- Storage limitations – “e) kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed; personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes subject to implementation of the appropriate technical and organisational measures required by the GDPR in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals; and” – personal information may be stored only for as long as necessary in relation to the processing purpose, with the expectation that it will be kept longer for scientific purposes and/or archiving purposes in the public interest
- Integrity and confidentiality – “f) processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures.” – holders of personal information are responsible for keeping it secure from internal threats such as unauthorised use, accidental loss and damage, as well as external threats such as cybercrime
- Accountability – Article 5(1) requires that: “the controller shall be responsible for, and be able to demonstrate, compliance with the principles.” – holders of personal information need to implement technical and organisational measures to ensure that processing activities are carried out according to the data protection regulation
Using a document management system (DMS) can help with GDPR compliance. A Document management system stores, manages and tracks electronic documents and electronic images of paper-based information captured through the use of a document scanner (our sister company Scanner Superstore sells scanners such as Canon and Brother, click here to view the range of scanners we offer). DMS ultimately controls and organises documents throughout an organisation. One of our most popular DMS is FileDirector. Using a document management system can help comply with the 7 principles, to ensure your company are following the GDPR fundamental conditions you must follow when collecting, processing and managing the personal information data for all European citizens.
Click here to find out more about GDPR and how using a document management system can help!
What is FileDirector?
- A virtual filing system for all of your documents – departmental or company wide
- A workflow and approval solution that is easy and fast to set up
- A paper-less office enabler – scan, classify, index and share
- A document management system with compliance and security built-in
- An intelligent scanning system – OCR and Barcode can speed up capture
- Network software for documents for a department or whole company
- Easy to use, fast to deploy, robust and reliable
- Infinitely customisable and easy to integrate
FileDirector is a system that can be deployed in a micro-business, a department or company-wide to centralise the access and control of all documents. Tagging documents on the way in to the system means they can be retrieved in seconds when you need them.
FileDirector is easy to use. It makes it easy to add and index a document with integration of Microsoft Office applications, the Windows desktop and built-in scanning. You can have unlimited hot folders receiving files from your MFP or advanced data capture solutions like ABBYY FlexiCapture. Documents can be viewed in a sophisticated windows program or any web browser on any platform.
FileDirector has an optional Process Management module that opens up unlimited possibilities for creating customised document related work-flows; invoice approvals, customer complains, new recruits, etc. if there is a paper-trail and your current systems is costing time and creating problems, the process management module is affordable and quick to deploy.
- Built-in control of ISIS and TWAIN scanners
- Windows client or web browser access
- Integration with the windows desktop and MS office apps
- Audit trains, version control, and document control and document history
- ‘Print’ documents in from any application like Sage
- Create custom document exception reports
- Centralise important business information
- Secure your documents and share only with approved users
- Capture information from scanned documents
- Create custom approval workflows
- Make documents accessible to customers
Please contact us or call us on 01785 785 650 to chat to one of our experts