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What is a Document Management System (DMS)?

What is a Document Management System

A Document Management System is essentially a specialised software platform used to store and manage digital documents.

Typical features of a DMS include :

  1. Storing digital documents: PDF, images, MS Office, videos , sounds and other media.

  2. Version control: A key functionality is to retain the version history of documents. Each time a document is edited, a new version is stored. The older versions are available for viewing. It is possible to revert to an older version.

  3. Meta-data: Metadata is typically stored for each document e.g. Date a document was stored, Author and Employee ID for an employee document. The DMS may automatically extract metadata from the document, or prompt the user to enter metadata when storing the document.

  4. Integration: DMSs often integrate with multiple business applications.

  5. Workflows: Processes can be defined for certain documents e.g. Authorisation workflows, Destruction workflows, Workflows for customer service.

  6. Indexing and search: Indexes are formed with information from meta-data and document content. This aids to quickly retrieve documents in searches. Searches can be based on meta-data or full-text of documents.

  7. Collaboration: Documents can be worked upon by multiple users. It is also possible for users to check-out documents (i.e. lock it for exclusive use). When it is checked back in, the version number is incremented, and the document is once again available for multiple authorised users.

  8. Publishing and Distribution: Many DMSs have integrated web content management systems that allow creating HTML version of documents, and making them available publicly on websites.

  9. Social: Modern DMSs have social media features such as activity feeds of team mates, likes, bookmarking and social comments on documents.

Industry Leading DMS Systems

The following are the top systems based on the Gartner ECM Magic Quadrant for 2013 (in alphabetical order):

  1. Alfresco

  2. EMC Documentum

  3. Hyland Software- OnBase

  4. IBM FileNet

  5. Microsoft Sharepoint

  6. OpenText (formerly Vignette)

  7. Oracle WebCenter

  8. Xerox DocuShare

EisenVault Records Management specialises in implementing Document Management Systems for Small and Medium Enterprises. We have in-house expertise in Alfresco, EMC Documentum and IBM FileNet. We can consult with you to understand your requirements and budget, and implement the right DMS for your business.


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