Document Management System (DMS): Definition, Features, Types of DMS & How it works

Document Management System

In today’s first-paced digital world, many companies are going paperless, and we all know managing vast amounts of documents can be a daunting task. More specifically, with the increasing popularity of digital documents, and managing them efficiently has become a challenge for organizations of all sizes. 

This is where DMS comes in; it helps organizations manage their documents efficiently and securely. This article will discuss Document Management Systems (DMS), their types, benefits, and key features. 

What Is Document Management System (DMS)

Document Management System is a software system that can track, manage, and store images of paper documents as electric documents. It allows the organization to access documents from a centralized depository making it easier for them to store, manage and share digital documents. 

DMS ensures documents are secured and only can be accessed by authorized users. Utilizing DMS effectively, an organization can easily and securely collaborate with other departments across the organization easily and securely. 

Types of Document Management Systems (DMS)

Depending on the needs and requirements, organizations can choose various DMS. Here are the most common DMS:

1. Enterprise Document Management Systems (EDMS)

EDMS is designed for large organizations. EDMS is capable of handling a large number of documents across multiple departments of an organization. On top of that, an EDMS offers sophisticated features such as workflow automation, document capture, indexing, storage, and retrieval of documents. Industries such as finance, government, and healthcare mostly use EDMS. 

2. Web-based Document Management Systems

Web-based Document Management Systems is the most common and convenient system out there. Users can access the system through web browser, and it is accessible from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. The system is best suited for remote organizations that have remote employees. The most significant advantage of using this type of system is that the team can collaborate on projects while they are on the go.

3. Records Management Systems

Records management systems are designed to keep records and backups of data. This type of system makes the retrieval process easier. Government, healthcare, and legal industries are the primary user of this system.

4. Document Imaging Systems

Imaging system is an excellent way to make the organization paperless and truly operate the office environment more efficiently. This system includes scanning devices and supporting drivers and software. Using this system, individuals can scan documents and convert them into text documents, save them as images or pdf. This system is heavily used in the finance and insurance sectors.

5. Document Collaboration Systems

This type of system is designed to make team collaboration easier. Team members can access documents, share, edit, and comment in real time. Users can also see the version history and essential notes. The document collaboration system is best suited for team working project that requires multiple input from various people team members.

Why Do Organizations Need DMS?

Increased efficiency and productivity, improved security, better compliance, cost savings, and streamlined workflows are all advantages of deploying a Document Management System. 

  • A document management system (DMS) assists organizations in reducing the time and effort required to manage documents manually. 
  • It removes paper-based operations and allows for digital transformation, which leads to increased productivity.
  • DMS improves security and compliance by limiting illegal document access and keeping an audit record of document access and activity.
  • It saves money by eliminating the requirement for physical storage and document printing. DMS also helps to streamline workflows by allowing for collaboration and approval processes.

How Does It Work?

Document Management System helps sort and archive the documents in a central depository with authorized security access. After storing the documents, the user can access, edit, and share them with authorization. Here is an overview of the system workflow:

  • In the first step, the user scans the documents to convert them into digital format and then stores them in a central archive
  • In the second step, based on the criteria, users categorize the documents and label them accordingly, such as type, subject, etc.
  • In the third step, system administrators assign access control to various users to ensure authorized access and maintain security safety. Assigning access control includes who can edit, view, share, etc.
  • In the last step, the system is ready to use. Now authorized users can search for documents from the central archive and edit, share, and comment as per requirements. 

Features of Document Management System

Document capture and indexing

It allows the user to import and scan documents, and then the user assigns the metadata to index them in the system.

Document storage, search, and retrieval

Users can securely store the documents in the cloud or server and later can retrieve them with searched keywords with ease.

Document version control

This feature enables the user to manage multiple document versions. The purpose of this feature is to avoid data loss and see who is doing what to maintain transparency.

Access control and security

This feature is sophisticatedly designed to ensure maximum security and accessibility to the authorized user only. 

Audit trail and reporting

This feature enables the administrator to see the audit history of document history, changes, edits, etc. It also generates reports to provide detailed descriptions of usage and activity in the system.

The Benefits of DMS

Some of the significant advantages of adopting a Document Management System are as follows:

Increased efficiency

A Document Management System enables businesses to automate document management operations, saving time and increasing efficiency.

Improved document security

A Document Management System provides a secure and controlled environment for document storage and distribution, lowering the risk of data breaches and illegal access.

Improved collaboration

A Document Management System facilitates team collaboration on documents, increasing productivity and communication.

Savings on paper, printing, and storage

A Document Management System can assist firms in reducing paper usage, printing costs, and storage costs.

How to Select Ideal DMS for Your Business?

Choosing and then implementing a suitable DMS can be a complex task for business owners. The process may seem hectic and challenging, but considering a few factors, you can easily select the ideal Document Management System for your business.

Specify Your Needs:

First thing first. You need to identify your requirements. It is essential to determine the types of documents that your business handles regularly and what features are important for you. 

Examine System Capabilities:

Examine the ability of the applications. How well the software streamlines the workflow and improves productivity is the main thing you should consider.

Consider User Experience:

Another key thing to consider is user-friendliness and the intuitiveness of the system allowing your team members to easily manage, store, edit, and retrieve the documents without training.

Test Security Features:

Checking security features are apparent. It is critical to ensure that the system has robust security features such as secured data storage, role-based access control, audit trials feature to version history, etc.

Assess Scalability:

Take into consideration the scalability of the system. It’d be best if you ensure that the system can handle an increasing number of documents as the organization grows.

Consider Cost:

Calculate the cost. Take into consideration of licensing fees and training costs. Try to find a solution that meets your budget.

Check Compliance:

Compliance with industry-specific regulations is crucial, especially if your organization operates in the healthcare or finance sector. Be 100% sure that your preferred DMS meets all the industry standards. 

DMS is a vital tool for organizations that process large volumes of paper daily. It gives the user access to a centralized database for managing digital documents. It makes the process easier for users to access databases, share, make changes, and collaborate across the organization.  

A Document Management System can assist firms in increasing productivity, improving security and compliance, and lowering expenses. Organizations can improve their document management process by deploying a Document Management System, making it more efficient, safe, and dependable.