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The MD’s guide to document management solutions

Ken Wessels, Operations Director at Meniko Records Management Services.

Johannesburg, 10 Mar 2021
Read time 3min 20sec

Document management is the way in which companies handle and process important pieces of information and involves the process capturing, securing and management of that information. Document management handles more than the traditional documents that you are used to; other examples of documents include letters, forms, contracts, HR documentation, e-mails and web pages. Document management does not involve the securing of accounting systems or other databases, these are classed as documents. A good document management system (DMS) is an asset to any business because it will ensure company-wide integration and improve organisational processes. 

How to stay on top of your document management

Documents are constantly evolving. New types of information are leaving many scrambling to find ways to ensure it’s saved forever – but who has time for that? Since employees may already be overloaded with their current amount of paperwork, this ad hoc document capturing could be a pipe dream. We are talking about storing information on corporate blogs or other communities, for instance, that can be invaluable pieces of information given our current tech landscape. Document management allows this type of unstructured form of information to be used more effectively and not be a burden to your employees’ already daunting workload.

For a small to large company that generates large amounts of paperwork on any given day, using a document management system to take care of the mundane and help your employees out seems like the logical choice. With the benefits of DMS centred on softer issues of change management, it is the job of senior executives and not IT to take the leap towards a better organised office.

How document management works

Firstly, templates are created in order to give descriptions of any given document such as the author and subject matter that surround a particular piece of information. For instance, a firm that represents a real estate developer will draft a document as follows:

Identify the client (developer), property and tenants.

The profile and text of the document will be indexed to ensure rapid retrieval.

A file name will then be assigned by the document management system based off of the information initially given by the firm (the author and subject matter). This will dictate where the document will be stored.

The entire process is transparent to the end-user, therefore they do not need to be distracted by the underlying structure.

What a reliable document management system is supposed to do

Now that the document is saved in your system, anyone should be able to do a simple search and a list of hits will pop up. They should be able to find the document quickly, with minimal effort, unless of course they don’t have permission to view the document (this will be your advanced security options specifically for confidential information). If the end-user does have access, when they open the document, they should be able to view the document’s version control, in other words, see older versions of the document and what changes were made. The end-user should also be able to analyse the audit trail, explicitly showing them who has accessed the document previously. According to Worldox: “The DMS acts as the traffic cop at the crossroads of the information highway: controlling, organising and directing the flow of information.”

The bottom line is you need a trustworthy document management system to take care of your valuable information so you don’t have to sweat the small stuff. Download our comprehensive document management guide to fully immerse yourself in the DMS world.