As today’s businesses generate a collection of documents, content and other paper-based information that needs to be categorized, synthesized, and managed a document management system is an essential program that needs to be considered. Document management systems consist of tools, technologies, and application that makes keeping track of the different versions modified by different office workers easier, and allows faster access of company files across intranets, the Internet, and large area networks.
With a competent document management system there is an improved flow of information across all organization hierarchies and business continuity is guaranteed as documents can be centrally backed up in the event of an untoward incident.
What is ECM?
ECM or enterprise content management is a formalized means of organizing and storing an organization’s documents. It is first and foremost intended at managing the “life-cycle” of information. It starts from the creation of the information, archiving, and finally its disposal.
There are three ways to deliver an ECM application. One is the on-premise software wherein it is installed on the organization’s own network, second is through software as service or Saas where web access to information is stored on the software manufacturer’s system, and lastly, through a hybrid solution that is composed of both on-premise and Saas components.
With an ECM application, ISO 9000 certified-businesses will have an easier management of information by simplifying its storage, security, version control, process routing, and retention. Also, there will be an improved efficiency, better control, and reduced overall cost of information management for the enterprise.
Benefits of ECM to Businesses
There are many benefits of investing in a document management system. This includes:
- The elimination of space-consuming filing problems and non-electronic methods of storing paper and documents.
- It ensures that electronic documents, and files located in folders can be easily retrieved, accessed, and available on demand.
- It allows faster retrieval and search by systematically storing and archiving scanned documents, images, and other files.
- Documents are categorized and classified that enables them to be stored in multiple ways in a DMS. A full text query search can be used lessening the time spent to search for documents, or its current versions.
- Files can be printed from any computer or printer, and workers can collaborate on projects and assignments, and review documents faster making information sharing seamless.
- An integrated document management system reduces storage of paper-based records allowing more office space for employees, staff, and other workers.
- The risk of getting files burned, flooded, stolen, and other dangers associated with natural disasters can be prevented because files can be archived in off-site storage.
What does Enterprise Content Management provide its users?
Collaboration to Manage Documents
Collaboration ensures accomplishing a common goal. Online collaboration makes it possible for international teams to work together in spite of their time zone or schedule. Also, information databases and processing methods designed to be used simultaneously by multiple users are facilitated by a DCM system.
This is quite advantageous to businesses with ISO 9000 as electronic document-control systems permits documents to be electronically sent to the collaborators for review where a final version is compiled and then sent to other approvers.
While everything is on process through the document chain, an automatic email notification is sent to the employees involved including the originator. It is also possible for the management and system users to monitor the status of the documents while on the collaboration and approval process. In addition to this, the participants will receive daily reminders of the pending tasks.
With automatic notification, and tracking visibility the cycle time of collaboration and approval-process can be greatly decreased. Also, because it can integrate information from other applications, joint information processing is possible.
Electronic Approval, Distribution, Revision, and Removal
Document can be electronically approved by using document-control software. Documents for approval are sent in predefined and approved sequences. The approvers will then receive an automatic email notification regarding the documents to be reviewed and approved. The involved employees also receive an email notification regarding the documents. To ensure that the flow of documents is uninterrupted, escalation rules can be established that move the document to another person after a specified time period has expired.
Control of User Rights
To control access and user rights a rights-based electronic system can be utilized. This allows documents to be viewed by basic users that are only related to their area. Advanced users, on the other hand, can be given appropriate rights to generate new documents and make revisions in the drafts area only. After changes are made, the new document is sent for approval. Document-control personnel can be included in the review and release process to make sure that there is process integrity. After approval, the document is then moved to the released environment where basic users can view and update it. The older versions will be automatically archived for historical purposes.
Reviewers and approvers receive an automatic email notification through an electronic system. Before or after the release of a document, those that are affected by the document changes are included in the email notifications. There will also be an electronic record regarding the approval processes which include any additional notification events, user identifications, and date and time.
Secure Storage anCd Controlled Access
Quality manual, procedures, drawings, work instructions, forms, and records can be securely stored in document-control software. A document-control software programs uses an access-controlled database to store data files and viewing options can be selected and controlled by the administrator based on the file format, viewing program availability, licensing, and security needs.
Controlled Web Access
Users are permitted controlled access to the document-control system via the Internet with document searching and viewing capabilities. With the documents-control systems, remote users can also participate in both the collaboration and approval processes which make it possible for off-site employees to stay involved and keep the document-control and change-management process flowing effectively.
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