The Benefits of Document Management Systems

Document or content management systems (DMS) are separate cloud-based systems that specifically manage electronic data and records. DMS systems are not only for large companies. Even in smaller offices, DMS systems can effectively help organizations file, store, search and collaborate on documents that need modification and/ or tracking. Although organizing the shared drive with an electronic file hierarchy structure and establishing clear guidelines is valuable, it does require more work to manage and maintain versus having data stored in a document/ content management system.

DMS systems have more robust functions of input, storage, search, and access of data than the mere file management tools that come on computers such as Windows Explorer. DMS systems allow users to find data not only through a file hierarchy structure. These systems have additional information related to a document such as keywords, categorization, and indexing, all of which make searching and finding data much easier. It also compresses data so that it has the ability to store significant numbers of documents in a smaller amount of space, increasing server efficiency. DMS systems also have auto-archive and auto-delete functions that make adhering to record retention and compliance guidelines instantaneous.

A common file repository in a document/content management system is an opportunity to create a consistent records management system that will provide the following benefits;

  • Create ease and simplicity for users to have one centralized system to manage official records and documents.
  • Improve accessibility permissions and ease of filing electronic documents and records through one centralized system that is cloud-based and accessible via mobile devices.
  • Documents and records are automatically indexed and increased searching functionality will be available.
  • Easier access to shared information and documents within the entire organization.
  • Easier management of records retention through increased system functionality and centralized data location to manage data.
  • Easier access to collaborate on documents, manage version control and access important information quickly through one centralized access point.
  • Lays the foundation for a paperless office by reducing official paper files and increase reliance and trust on one centralized electronic system.

It is important to organize documents on the Shared Drive before being uploaded to a document management system. To learn how to organize electronic files on the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.

The Benefits of Organizing the Shared Drive

For most organizations, shared network drives on computer servers are used to store and share business documents. Every day, employees create and manage electronic information to support their work. In fact, it is estimated that 95% of all new information is still stored on network servers. In addition, most organizations permit their employees to store electronic information on a “personal” or “individual” drive that is accessible only to the individual. In addition, there are now project collaboration systems such as SharePoint and Google Sites, which also contain organization data. Managing all of this data and information efficiently and effectively can greatly improve business performance, knowledge management, and productivity.

Employees usually have been given very little guidance and information on saving, filing, deleting, and naming documents onto the shared network drives. As a result, server systems can and have reached capacity limit quickly. It is important to provide staff clear direction on file structure and where electronic records should be saved.

Having an organized shared drive will provide the following benefits for businesses and organizations:

  • Improve accessibility of data among employees and staff.
  • Provide a clear understanding of how and where to save files on the shared drive network.
  • Improve worker efficiency and productivity with quick access of current and historical files and documents.
  • Reduce duplication of files and provide clear guidelines of version control.
  • Provide easier access to collaboration with shared files and documents within the organization.
  • Improve clarity and ease for new employees to access important information quickly.
  • Lay the foundation for a paperless office by reducing official paper files and increase reliance on electronic file system.
  • Improve the corporate memory and maintain important history when employees leave the organization.
  • Become prepared for a transfer to a document or content management system such as Microsoft SharePoint or Documentum.

To learn how to organize electronic files and the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.

Choosing a Storage Location for Electronic Documents

There are multiple locations in which to save, file, store and organize electronic data. It is best to have one system that is considered the ‘master’ repository of data as well as clarity on each system and how it will be utilized. When there are too many systems and locations for data it can be difficult to manage and keep organized.  The following are various storage locations for electronic documents and ways to use each;

Shared Drive (common shared folders): The Shared Drive is the common document location for all files relating to an organization unless the organization has a designated document management system. These documents usually contain key information that should be available throughout the organization. The common Shared Drive, along with IT Systems, are considered an ‘official’ record keeping location. Ideally, all documents that are pertinent and key to the organization should be available in the common Shared Drive.

Shared Drive (Personal folders/ H Drive): In most organizations, staff usually has a personal location on the shared drive that is often mapped to the letter H. Usually no other associates has access unless permission is given. Working and personal documents could be kept on the H drive. The H drive is also an appropriate location for all personnel or confidential files for a manager or supervisor. Ideally it is best to have ‘official’ records of an organization in a common repository and not located under someone’s own personal filing system. To learn more how to create an electronic file structure, see the article How to Organize Your Computer Documents.

 Local Drive (or C drive): Some individuals prefer to keep their documents on their local hard drive, or C drive, and not on the network server because they find it is easier to access via home or other remote locations. The C or local drive is usually not backed up by IT departments therefore this data is at risk if the hard drive fails.  This best location to store personal electronic data that is either on the personal shared drive (H drive) or an online cloud based system, such as Google Docs because either location is backed up and only accessible to the user.

Online Cloud Storage:  Google Drive, DropBox and MS Skydrive are all examples of document online storage systems that have become popular with today’s workforce.  Working, reference and personal documents could be kept in online cloud storage system. These systems do give users that ability to share data and collaborate on documents with users who do not have access to an organizations shared drive or network. it is recommended that pertinent, important and ‘official’ data to an organization also be saved on the common Shared Drive. See this blog entry, Organizing Documents in the Cloud for Mobile Devises, for more information on system options to organize electronic documents.

Contact us if you would like assistance in organizing your computer or shared drive.