A Document Management System is software that lets you store & track your documents in an organised manner. Read more about features of typical DMS systems here.
Organisations of all sizes usually involve some type of document management system. The most rudimentary and chaotic approach involves sharing documents via email and storing on individual user hard drives. There are 3 major problems with this approach:
Documents tend to get lost: users don’t remember where they saved an attachment 6 months ago.
Documents tend to get leaked: there are no controls over who has access which document. It is very easy to inadvertently do a reply-all to an email and send a document to people who shouldn’t receive it.
There is no backup: if there is a hard disk failure or a laptop is lost, the documents are gone.
The next best commonly seen approach is a network share drive. The IT team sets up share drives which are mounted on employee PCs. Employees now have a common location to store and share documents, with some level of access control enforced by the IT administrators. These share drives are periodically backed up as well. But some of the pitfalls remain the same:
Documents still shared over email: It is difficult for end users to securely share documents and add/remove people from access lists in share drives. As a result, email still remains the main medium for sharing documents – and this is insecure.
Documents still tend to get leaked: There are better access controls, but still rarely are there access logs showing who accessed a document and when. If a document is stored on a share drive that 100 people have access to, it is hard to pin-point who accessed the document around the time it was leaked.
Hard to access from devices or from home: The only way to access share drives from home is from a company laptop connected to the company network via VPN – this is often slow and clunky. Also share drives are usually not available on Smart Phones and Tablets.
The ease of access problem is solved by modern file-sync tools such as Dropbox, Box, Google Drive etc. These tools tend to provide very good encryption for protection against hackers, which makes them a good alternative to VPN based access. They also have excellent sharing and tracking mechanisms built in – the corporate administrator can retain control over who has access to what. And they have excellent support for all kinds of smart devices. But there is still a trade-off between ease of use and enterprise functionality.
Enterprise Content Management and Document Management Systems are made for the enterprise. They provide all the security and scalability an enterprise needs, together with increasingly easy-to-use user interfaces. Some key benefits include:
Security: These systems can be deployed at customer premises behind corporate firewalls to provide maximum security and control. They can also be deployed in highly secure cloud environments to provide security that is as good as on-premises security, and the system can be accessed from anywhere via a browser or mobile app.
Scalability: Corporates typically can control how large their repository is and server specifications can be increased to match increasing system load. These systems are fully scalable to support thousands of users.
Access Control: Access control lies in the hands of department heads, and not just IT administrators. Department heads can control who has what level of access to their repositories. Full audit logs are maintained, and it is possible to see who accessed a document when, for compliance purposes.
Workflows: Custom workflows and notifications can be defined. No need to share important documents over email. E.g. a simple expense reimbursement workflow might follow these steps:
o Employee places expense report in a designated folder
o System automatically recognises the approving manager based on intelligent rules
o Workflow sends the expense report to the manager for approval
Document Discovery: Documents can be intelligently tagged with metadata to enable easier search and retrieval. Also Optical Character Recognition in multiple languages allows for easy keyword search. Typically the faceted search and filtering mechanisms in Document Management Systems are very robust and powerful. You will never lose a document again.
EisenVault’s cloud based document management system (DMS) gives your business all the above benefits without the cost of a lengthy on-premises custom implementation.