What if you could could access all your corporate documents from your phone or tablet? What if your documents were automatically secured based on what they are (ex: accounting, HR) not what random folder you store them in? What if your systems could handle compliance for you instead of adding more work?
Document management systems (DMS) and their advanced counterparts Enterprise Information Managment (EIM) systems are a sorely underutilized product in small and medium businesses. There are plenty of reasons why, some real, some that are misconceptions. Then there are all the benefits your business can gain from a DMS.
Disclaimer: Technology Pointe is an M-Files partner. While all of my points below relate to MFiles, many apply to other doucment management systems as well.
A quick introduction to metadata
Metadata is one of the key parts of a powerful DMS. This is the keystone of the "what not where" system of organization. Each document that is added to the DMS has multiple pieces of metadata associated: filename, type of document ("class" in M-Files), client, etc. Some metadata can be required, the rest is optional (required is denoted by the asterisk next to the property name below). Here is an example document from the Technology Pointe M-Files vault:
With a properly designed metadata system, it is easy to find what you what you want - invoice from Microsoft
Benefits of a Document Management System
Compliance: HIPAA, ISO, SOX, SSAE16, FDA Part 11. If any of those acronyms keep you up at night, a DMS can help. A good DMS can implement the required levels of auditing to track all user activity, as well as managing training and tracking accountability via eSignitures.
Organization: how many times have you racked your brain trying to remember what folder you saved a file in? With the metadata system in a DMS, you can save and find things by what they are, not where. For example, looking for last year's budget? Just navigate to the finance documents, then budgets, then sort by year. Or better yet, use the search functionality. "Google for documents" is what several clients have told me. Search not only the file names, but also the metadata and even the content inside the documents in many cases.
Security: network drive permission can be a stressful concern for executives. Is this folder locked down properly? Is this file stored in the right place to make sure it is secure? With a DMS, files are secured based off what they are. Is something tagged as an HR document? Only the HR department and executives can access it. Tagged for a specific client? Only that client's team can view it. Viewing permissions is just a click away as well, so users can easily confirm that the document is secure.
Mobile access: All sorts of solutions for accessing network drives from your phone and tablet exist, some which work better than others. A good DMS system includes native apps for viewing on your iPhone/iPad or Android device. Search and view just like you would on your computer.