Organizations cannot escape from document management, some more so than others. For instance, for organizations that operate in the publishing, media, consulting, or legal space, documents are the raw materials as well as the finished goods for these organizations, and the consistent and accurate management of these documents is central to continued business success. Not only is it convenient but a near imperative for these organizations to have a centralized and integrated document management software (DMS) in place to manage their disparate documents and their creators. The software is not a practice but the entire process itself by helping the firm control the process efficiently.
In a publishing company, there are a number of steps that have to be performed on a manuscript in order for it to go from a bunch of words on paper to a printed book ready for delivery. A number of people, such as illustrators, subject matter experts, editors and proofreaders, printers, and technicians, have to work together to clean the content, create a cover design, and print the final copy. Since these diverse role bearers have to work sometimes serially and sometimes in parallel, it is necessary to figure out the optimal routing of the process so that all of them can work efficiently and productively and the finished good is made available on time.
Instead of assigning a manager or a liaison for the cooperation and communication among these disparate role-holders, it is far better to deploy document management software and allow it to control the process. Once the finished manuscript is entered into the document management software solution, it can be saved for posterity, and a copy of it can then be assigned to different departments for their specific tasks. In the case of a legal publishing firm, for example, the finished manuscript is the latest revision of a certain law or code, and it has to be proofread, edited by competent attorneys, illustrated with the right cover titles and images, the sections checked for authenticity, and then sent over for printing setup before getting printed. In this case, while the designing and editing processes can happen in parallel, the editing processes have to be completed serially.
The centralized DMS is the only thing that organizations need to execute these processes efficiently. Once the manuscript is set up, then all the tasks that have been performed on it can be assigned directly from the DMS. It records the dates when the tasks are assigned and when they are expected back from the concerned department. It also helps ensure that the tasks are completed in time through constant notifications and reminders.
A DMS is much more useful when tasks have to be performed serially. When it comes to editing, the manuscript has to be first edited by the subject matter expert, in this case, an attorney, and then edited by the publishing department for formatting and style before finally going to the proofreaders who apply the final touches and ensure that the manuscript has no errors. In all cases, there is no need for manual intervention if the DMS performs these tasks. The attorneys are intimated regarding their task, and once they complete their editing, the manuscript is made available to the publishing editors before it goes to the proofreaders. There is a clear trail and record of every action being taken on the document, and all the involved parties perform their tasks when it is time for them.
In case the printing team uses a different process management solution or a scheduler, the DMS can be integrated with this software to ensure a clean handover from the publishing team to the printing team. Once the document has been released to the printers, the publishing process comes to an end, and the parties move on to the next manuscript.
All of the above can be controlled centrally when a centralized DMS is used. It also acts as a tool for oversight of the role-holder’s performance. The Document Management System, therefore, is not just about completing the process but also about controlling the publishing process in order for everyone to work together collaboratively to make the process efficient and productive.