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What You Should Expect from Your Document Management System – Part One

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A Document Management System (DMS) is a combination of people, processes, and technology which helps organizations manage a document across its entire lifecycle. It offers a central repository that organizations can use to store, retrieve, and organize their documents. With more and more organizations deploying a DMS for their workplace, there has been a mushrooming of service providers in the market who offer their own versions of the product with varying number of features. With so much choice on offer, how can one pick the best DMS for their business? What features should they look for? What should they expect from their DMS?

Before we go any further, let’s get one thing straight. There really is no one best DMS. Each vendor offers a DMS with a particular set of features. It is really up to you to choose the one that best suits your needs.

That said, there are some features and benefits that you should expect from your DMS. Here are some of them:

Workflow management: If all you wanted was a place to store your documents, then you can simply create a folder in your central server and give access to whoever needs it, right? Why use a document management system? Because, with a DMS, you can define and implement a workflow.

Take a publishing company for example. Any document has to go through several steps from the time a first draft is prepared to the time it goes to print. Editors, copyeditors, proofreaders, and illustrators work on the document at varying stages to get it ready for printing. If the workflow is not defined, then who decides who gets to work on it and in what order? Should the proofreader proof the entire document only for it to go to the editor who then adds or removes some content? Should the editor ask the illustrator to prepare illustrations without completing the manuscript? Is that not a waste of time and effort?

This is where a DMS saves the day. With a DMS, you can clearly define the route the document has to take, list down the tasks that have to be performed, and assign tasks and permissions only to those who need them. You can design any number of workflows and iterate till you find the optimal workflow. Ensure that your service provider offers you this feature.

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