Documents, including digital information like images and videos, play a crucial role in the workflow of any business. If you're unable to retrieve or distribute key documents when you need to, it's time to invest in custom document management system development.
What is a Document Management System?
A document management system, or DMS, is a platform that's custom-designed to help you effortlessly manage the storage, creation, retrieval and destruction of documents and other information. It is based around a centralized repository of self-contained documents that are typically classified using metadata, which allows them to be searched for, retrieved, shared and reproduced with ease.
Why would a business pay for custom document management system development? There's a litany of excellent reasons for doing so, including enhanced security; flexible indexing; reduced storage requirements; improved distribution; enhanced regulatory compliance and more. When properly developed and executed, a custom document management system improves a company's competitive edge; enhances its customer service and bolsters its overall productivity.
A well-designed DMS includes a number of components. Metadata, including modification dates and the usernames of those who have modified a document, provide crucial information and enhance the ability to find documents when they are needed. Documents are stored in formats that aren't easily alterable, which makes for superior distribution. Collaboration and versioning enhance productivity and keep everyone on the same page. Capturing, which is typically achieved through a combination of document scanning and optical character recognition, or OCR, software, converts digital images into machine-readable text, which further enhances the system's ability to locate and classify information.
6 Important Features to Consider when Investing in Custom Document Management System Development
Before investing in the development of a custom document management system, it pays to familiarize yourself with the latest and most important features. A quick rundown of must-have features includes:
Grouping and Classification – While documents are generally self-contained, they may be cross-linked according to user-defined classifications. Every company is different, so having the ability to define the criteria by which documents are grouped and classified is extremely valuable. Document Life-Cycle Management – A well-designed DMS revolves around streamlining the document life-cycle, which includes creation, storage, retrieval, archiving and, ultimately, expiry or destruction. Preservation of Native Formats – A DMS should focus on preserving the native format of a given document. Without the right checks and balances in place, it's all too easy for a document to be saved, modified and saved again in a format that's incompatible with a company's other applications. Furthermore, when a document has been saved in a different format, its overall integrity is marred. Security – User permissions provides powerful controls over who can access which documents and what they can do with them. This ability is completely absent with traditional paper filing systems. At the very most, a filing cabinet can be locked. However, anyone who has the key can access every file within. A DMS lets you fine-tune these permissions, which leads to superior security. Cloud-based storage further enhances the security of such systems. Workflow Integration – Modern businesses have streamlined workflow management processes. A custom DMS can be incorporated into such processes to enhance them even more. This includes having the ability to access information within a DMS from an external application. On-Premise, Cloud and Hybrid Options – Traditional document management systems are developed and maintained locally, or on premise. However, businesses are increasingly shifted to cloud-based models, which afford superior flexibility, security and scalability. Hybrid systems are also very popular and offer the best of both worlds.
Immediate Benefits of Custom Document Management System Development
Unlike so many business investments, custom document management system development delivers almost immediate benefits. If you've been dealing mostly with paper documents and hard copies, it's going to be a true revelation. Even if you've sort of cobbled together your own document management system, you'll be blown away by the features you'll enjoy through the professional development of a custom DMS.
Shortly after your custom DMS is up and running, you'll start enjoying these and other benefits:
Superior Indexing – In a filing cabinet, you're severely limited in terms of how you organize files and documents. With a DMS, the possibilities are seemingly endless. Use full text search to pinpoint documents that contain specific words or phrases, which is unheard of with hard copies. Take advantage of user-defined metadata to locate documents based on criteria like last modified dates, who it's been shared with and more. Reduced Need for Storage – If you're drowning in paper, odds are you're paying a small fortune to store it too. Simply keeping up with regulatory requirements may require you to store several years' worth of records. Depending on the situation, a DMS may allow you to convert the majority of those documents to electronic files, which will drastically reduce the amount of storage space you need. Improved Security – A DMS gives you better, more flexible control over your documents. Apply user permissions at the folder or document level, or view audit trails of who's viewed or modified files and when. Most importantly, enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that your documents aren't just sitting there waiting for unauthorized people to access them. No More Lost Files – Human error is practically eliminated with a well-designed DMS. The days of files being improperly replaced will be over. Even when a document is viewed, it remains centrally stored on the custom DMS. In the unlikely event that a file is misplaced, locating it again is a breeze. Enhanced Regulatory Compliance – With a custom DMS, you can stop dreading audits that may result in fines, the loss of crucial licenses and other unpleasant consequences. Improved Document Distribution – With a few clicks of the mouse button, you can find and share documents via email, over a network or over the Internet. You won't have to copy, convert or print them, and you won't have to fork over money for postage, either. This results in fewer delays and reduced overhead, which helps keep your business plugging along profitably. Quicker, Easier Document Retrieval – Simply having the ability to instantly find a document when it's needed is justification enough to invest in custom document management system development. Paper documents are converted into image files that are stored locally and/or in the cloud for fast, simple retrieval. Exceptional Disaster Recovery – With a DMS, the odds of having to recover from a disaster in the first place are drastically reduced. Whether they're in the cloud or stored on a server, they're far less vulnerable to fire, theft, vandalism and other mishaps.
Long-Term Advantages of Custom Document Management System Development
Through the development and implementation of a custom DMS, your organization will enjoy significant long-term, intangible advantages as well:
Enhanced Productivity and Cash Flow – According to International Data Corporation, or IDC, "typical enterprise with 1,000 knowledge workers wastes $2.5 million to $3.5 million per year searching for nonexistent information, failing to find existing information, or recreating information that can't be found." With a custom DMS, Employees will spend less time hunting down the documents and information they need, which will allow them to complete tasks more quickly. Crucial processes like invoicing and debt collection will be significantly streamlined and improved, which will help cash flow in more reliably and consistently. Improved Customer Service – Because employees will be able to locate information in an instant, their ability to provide exceptional customer service will dramatically improve. Response times will shorten, and responses will be far more accurate and professional. This all reflects very well on your organization, and it will help lay the groundwork for future success. Streamlined Internal Operations – According to Edge Systems, LLC, "7.5% of all documents get lost, 3% of the remainder get misfiled." Having quick, reliable, immediate access to documents will bolster the internal operation of your business as well. For instance, when one department needs information from another, they won't have to wait around for it. In many cases, they'll be able to access it themselves. A Significant Competitive Edge – Finally, in addition to accessing and sharing documents internally, a DMS will allow you to effortlessly share electronic documents with customers and others. They'll receive crucial information more quickly and easily, which will give them a more favorable impression of your business.
Custom Document Management System Development: It's About Time
Your company's business processes and overall long-term success hinge on being able to access crucial information when it's needed. With the development of a custom DMS, you'll finally have a reliable way to access documents wherever and whenever they're required. Without a doubt, the return on your investment will be significant, and it will continue to return dividends well into the future. Need more information? Find out how DMS systems look by visiting our website.