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Understanding Document Management Software

Understanding Document Management Software

Understanding Document Management Software

Posted: 12/01/2023

Fully understanding document management software can be a big job because of how much the software offers.  At its core, it digitally stores business documents, providing one central location to access emails, contracts, invoices, delivery notes etc.

At the other end of the scale it can be built with complex workflows that automate a whole manner of business processes including invoice processingemployee onboarding and expense management

While we know from talking with prospects there is a greater understanding of what document management software does, we also know there are businesses that have a problem, realise there must be a solution to fix it but are unsure what it is. 

We also get asked 'how is it different to SharePoint', or told 'we use our network folders'.  In this article we aim to explain document management software in full, the benefits it will bring and the end to end process a document goes through when using a dedicated solution.

Documents Arrive

Businesses handle thousands of documents every month: employee contracts, holiday requests, invoices, purchase orders, NDAs, drawings, staff handbooks, company polices, tenders...the list is endless.

They can arrive in a variety of different formats including paper, electronically and even fax!  All this inbound data, not just sent to one person but potentially everyone across the organisation.  

If there is no uniform way to process these documents, how easy is it to find them when needed?  What time is being wasted on searches?  How much paper is being used and money spent printing emailed information?

Document management software removes all these questions and problems.  Emailed documents are stored directly into the software and paper documents are scanned in, securing everything in one centralised platform.  The software can be used to create and manage a digital mailroom to efficiently manage all incoming post.

Information cannot be duplicated or lost once in the system and ensures all employees follow the same process when storing important business documents.

Capture Data

Accurate data sits at the heart of all business processes.  Inaccurate data causes problems with financial forecasting, company reports, employee payroll and the general efficiency of a business.

Many problems unintentionally originate from human error, caused by manual data entry from paper documents into key business systems.  

Our document management software accurately captures data from incoming documents.  This data; a clients name, date, document type, document subject etc. become the search criteria employees use to search for documents when required. 

The information can also be pushed into any integrated third party software such as finance packages or ERPs.

Track, Edit and Manage Documents

With documents saved in network folders or in tools such as Google Drive, managing version control can be difficult.  With multiple people working on one document there's likely to be a variety versions making it hard to know which is the latest one.  If you're lucky they may have been saved with V1, V2, V3 somewhere in the title making it a little easier.

What happens if an employee downloads a document to work on at home, while someone someone in the office works from the version in Google Drive? Wasted time and potentially costly mistakes.

Once documents are securely stored into document management software they can only be accessed by authorised users from anywhere with an internet connection. 

Document edits and versions are recorded every step of the way so it's clear to see which document is the latest.  It means information is easy to track from start to finish and ensures audits are a breeze.

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Software Integration

Having separate systems for business data creates information silos.  Employees adding data across different applications that have no integration with one another can cause problems.  Whether it's the time spent cross referencing documents, reports that are littered with errors or that there's difficulty making data based decisions.  

As departments focus on their own work, housed in their own systems, they can lose sight of the bigger picture. Employees across the business could be processing data differently instead of working in the same way.

Document management software integrates with a wide variety of third party applications including finance systems, ERPs, housing management systems, employee management systems, Office 365 and more.

An integrated solution means separate systems can share data enabling access to real time information.  Where document management software is integrated with Sage for example, a number of things are possible.  

The data captured by document management software can be pushed into Sage, eliminating manual data entry. Additionally, when an employee working in Sage needs to review a document related to the task they're performing, they do not have to leave Sage and open another application. Nor do they need to leave their desks to find that document stored in a paper filing cabinet.  

An integration button between the document management software and Sage means with a click of a mouse, the document opens saving a huge amount of time and effort.

Store Documents

Document management software stores all business documents digitally and centrally.  Just like a physical filing cabinet for HR and a separate one for finance, the software is just the same but with digital filing cabinets.

All documents are secure once in the system and cannot be lost or duplicated.  Information is only accessed by authorised users and even document types can be restricted on an employee basis.  For example employees cannot see others employment contracts in a HR cabinet, but they can see their own.

Easily Find Documents

Is finding documents in your organisation sometimes like trying to find a needle in a haystack? Are they stored in a variety of places - email folders, on a desktop, in a filing cabinet, created as a Google document, on the network?

If you are able find all the above information in one place (nice work!), how long does it take you to find it? Are employees clicking through numerous sub folders to get to the document they need?  Worse still, are they navigating all the way there to find the document isn't where it should be?

If documents are printed, how do you ensure they're not printed and processed twice or lost altogether?

Documents are easily added into document management software via a scan, stored directly from an email or dragged and dropped from a network folder.  Once documents are stored, searching for them is simple.  Drop down fields narrow the search by date, document type and client etc.  Free text search means users can search for any word known to be contained within a document and a list appears of everything containing that word.

Archive Documents

The final stage of the process is to archive documents.  When all tasks are complete, such as goods recorded as received, invoices paid or a signature added to a contract, the documents can be securely stored.

There is no risk of loss, theft or damage like there would be with paper documents and all information is backed up.

Rules can be applied to the document to ensure information is only kept for as long as it is legally required.  Likewise should you ever need to recall a stored document or provide personal data you have on file, you can have the results back in seconds.  There's no need to search through a variety of folders or paper files.

Document management software will save your organisation and its employees, time, money, effort and stress.  It streamlines processes and improves efficiency. 

A client recently described our software as 'a one stop shop' and we couldn't have put it better ourselves!  

Our solutions can help in every area of the business, so why put off what you can change today. Start making improvements and get in touch to understand how DocTech will help.

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