Key Features of Document Management System

December 21, 2020 by Srikanth PV

Document Management

Let us face it.

Documents are here to stay. Either in paper or digital form.

Organizations deal with a diversity of documentation – on paper, paper converted to digital, and pure digital. As the global economy undergoes radical shifts in nature, scale, complexity, compliance, regulations grow, the need for documentation grows manifold. The need for a document management system was never more urgent.

Why should you worry about a documentation management system?

Research by McKinsey highlighted that a large financial company could end up spending up to 0.5% of its revenue – big money indeed!

While most organizations think of documentation as overhead and try to find ways to reduce it for purely a financial benefit, the smart ones consider a document management system as the source to unlock business value!

Should documentation management be part of an organization’s strategy?

Let us look at it the other way round. What are the implications of not considering documentation as part of your strategy?

  • Data would reside in multiple formats.
  • Data revisions would become complicated and time-consuming.
  • Data integrity could become a victim.
  • Avoidable management conflicts – professionals operate from their ‘data maps.’
  • Questionable decisions lead to business risk!

Is going completely digital the solution?

Although fully automated processes may be possible in the future, the paper is likely to remain a reality for some more time, as illustrated below.

                                                    source: www.mckinsey.com

How should business leaders address document management?

Until organizations move to a completely digital model, leaders must ensure they invest in an ‘integrated document management system’!

Most organizations view a document management system as a place where documents are stored and retrieved – and within time, it becomes a junkyard of documents when not managed and controlled. Such a situation creates wreaks havoc that is worse than manual documentation!

The next logical question is: what should be the capabilities of an integrated document management system?

As companies grow over time, business leaders have invariably invested in different technology applications to improve efficiency, effectiveness and productivity – these have led to ERPs, CRMs, HRMS, Accounting, and other applications. The biggest challenge is – islands of applications. If the organization is serious about documentation, the first step would be to ensure that the chosen integrated document management system becomes ‘the only place’ for all documentation. Business functions must push and pull documents from this central repository.

The problem does not end here! Business leaders must ensure the robustness of the integrated document management system.

The question is – what should one look for in a best-in-class document management system?

Characteristics of a document management system

  • A solid foundation of an integrated design

The integrated document management system must be the ‘go-to place’ for storing, modifying, retrieving, and collaborating across business functions such as pre-sales & proposals, project management, financials, resources, procurement & inventory, engineering & manufacturing, regulatory & compliance, and others.

Additionally, the chosen document management system must integrate with applications such as ERPs, CRMs, HRMS, Accounting, and others.

  • A configurable process flow for document handling

The chosen DM system must be capable of being designed/configured in line with the diverse needs of business functions, organizational standards, governance-driven compliance & controls, and industry practices. Configurability should address workflows, views, fields, search, etc.

A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is the first step to disaster!

  • Facilitate process automation

While the immediate objective may be to create a centralized documentation repository, the chosen document management system must facilitate process automation through workflows, decision points, date & time-stamped approvals, etc.

  • Ease of information access

Today, technology must be available ‘on the go’ – on desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. For this to happen, the document management system must be available ‘on-premises’ and ‘on-cloud.’

Additionally, living in an age of mobile apps, the ‘general expectation’ is that anything to do with technology must be user-friendly. This implies that a document management system must have a best-in-class user interface and user experience.

  • Quickly scalable

The growth of organizations cannot be predicted. Business leaders expect that a document management solution should be easily scalable in terms of users, the number of documents, and the volume of the documentation.

  • Seamless business continuity via swift archival and smooth retrieval

Organizations go bust overnight due to various market factors. Business continuity involves different dimensions.

  • The need for ‘confidentiality’ is paramount in a world of patents, copyrights, and intellectual property.
  • The documentation needs of organizations are driven by business functions (finance, legal, etc.) as well as their industries (highly regulated, compliance-driven, etc.).
  • Analytics, Dashboards, and Reports

Today’s professionals are racing with time with little breathing space. Predictive or time-based alerts and notifications should be ‘automatically pushed’ to those who need it rather than ‘pulling’ them to information.

An integrated DM system is the first building block of ‘data integrity.’ Then, managers can feel confident about their ‘decisions’. When this happens, business leaders may breathe a sigh of relief that the organization is in safe hands that are ably supported by robust systems.

TouchBase Document Management System from ProductDossier is designed and developed with the above objectives in mind. TouchBase is designed to enhance business outcome predictability and thereby its growth and profitability.

Srikanth PV comes with two decades of global corporate and consulting background across industries with diverse roles including Strategy, Leadership, and Management. Currently, Srikanth is Head, PPM Content Management at ProductDossier focused on content management strategy aimed to empower customers create and enhance value through its flagship digital solution - TouchBase. Srikanth is also a former member of the Board of Directors of PMI Bangalore Chapter.