7 min.

Document Management

In modern organizations, capturing, distributing, filing, editing and archiving documents are indispensable process steps in daily business life. However, the time-consuming search for documents that have already been archived often leads to unnecessary delays and frustration. One solution that can help here is digital document management, for example in the form of a document management system (DMS). This not only optimizes processes and workflows, but also leads to a much more efficient working day.
Dokumentenmanagement wird veranschaulicht, indem Person auf Laptoptastatur tippt und Symbole schwebend in 3D über der Tastatur angezeigt werden.
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What is document management (DM)?

  • Document management (DM) refers to the systematic management of information in the form of documents within an organization. This encompasses the entire lifecycle of a document, from its creation and processing through to storage, distribution and archiving.

  • Digital document management extends this approach by focusing on the electronic processing of documents. Analogue documents are digitized and the entire document management process is carried out electronically. This enables more efficient processing, faster searches for information and improved collaboration between team members.

  • Document management systems (DMS) are special software solutions that support the implementation of document management, especially in a digital context. A DMS offers functions such as electronic archiving, version control, access control and workflow automation. It serves as a central platform for organizing, managing and securing documents in order to increase efficiency and productivity in companies.

In the context of the modern business environment, the importance of efficient information management is more crucial than ever. The following section takes a closer look at contemporary digital, software-supported document management in order to shed light on the advantages and innovations of this approach.

Definition: Documents in the context of document management

In the context of document management, a document is an electronic file that contains information. These can be text documents, tables, images or other digital formats. However, a document stored in a document management system, or DMS for short, contains not only the pure content, but also additional information known as metadata. Metadata is additional information that accompanies a document in the DMS. This information is assigned to the document and facilitates targeted searching, organization and management. Examples of metadata are project number, creation date, version, status, cost center, reviewer, etc. The use of metadata significantly increases efficiency in document management.

Document management and its difference to document management:

Document management typically refers to the organized filing of previously received or created documents so that they can be easily retrieved later. Although this forms the basis of structured document management, it only covers a limited area.

In contrast, comprehensive document management differs considerably from simple document management and filing. It is characterized above all by the fact that it actively uses information in documents to actively monitor and influence business processes. Effective document management offers comprehensive support in various business areas.

In companies without a system-supported document management system, updating and providing information to all relevant employees is often a challenge. Data is scattered in various media (e-mails, letters, notes, etc.) and does not always reach all relevant employees promptly and completely. This highlights the need for advanced document management that not only enables information to be stored but also actively used for business processes. Such document management automates document management, optimizes archiving and promotes the smooth integration of metadata, which ultimately leads to an efficient workflow solution.

One platform,
endless possibilities.

ExB is an Intelligent Document Processing platform that transforms unstructured data from any type of document into structured results. Our AI-based software can not only extract all relevant information from your documents, but also understand them. This allows you to automate your processes and save both time & money, while improving your customer experience and employee satisfaction. Win-win. 

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Requirements for effective document management:

In order to manage documents optimally, comprehensive functions are required that go beyond mere filing. An effective, system-supported document management system should ideally fulfill the following requirements:

  • Capture: The seamless capture of documents and information from different sources is crucial. Efficient document management enables fast and accurate capture of digital documents, forms, certificates and much more.
 
  • Management: Systematic organization and management of documents throughout their lifecycle is essential. This includes the assignment of metadata to enable targeted searches and clear structuring.
 
  • Storage and preservation: A secure and accessible storage system is essential for the long-term preservation of documents. A document management system should offer the option of storing documents in an audit-proof manner and protecting them from unauthorized access.
 
  • Output: The targeted retrieval and secure provision of documents are key elements. Effective document management enables the rapid output of relevant information and thus helps to increase efficiency.
 

Integrated digital document management thus creates the appropriate basis for the realization of a paperless office, as it covers the requirements mentioned throughout the entire document life cycle.

Types of system-supported document management

Depending on the application and type of use, there are several types of document management systems available on the market. These include

Content management systems (CMS)

  • A content management system is a software or platform that allows a user to create, update, publish, sort and store their digital content in a single place. These systems can be used for various use cases such as public websites, mobile applications, intranets, microsites, HR portals, etc. An example of a CMS is WordPress.
 

Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

  • Enterprise content management (ECM) is a type of content management system that incorporates time as a parameter and focuses on various aspects such as workflow, business rules, etc. Use cases for which ECMs are used are digitization, process management, workflow centralization, big data, etc
 

Records Management System (RMS)

  • Record management systems are often used to regularly maintain, update and destroy records when necessary. It is a tool used by organizations throughout the record maintenance lifecycle. Use cases for a record management system include email archiving, social records management, legal retention requirements, etc.
 

Workflow Management System (WMS)

  • Workflow management systems are types of software or platforms that standardize the workflow in an organization to achieve optimal efficiency. They provide an infrastructure that allows the organization to set up tasks and measure their performance. Use cases for workflow management systems include managing payables, creating purchase orders, generating invoices, etc. An example of a WMS is Asana.
 

Document Imaging System

  • In the post-Covid era, many organizations have gone digital, but paper-based tasks remain. Document imaging systems that work with IDP (Intelligent Document Processing), for example, play a crucial role here. These systems scan, collect, organize and manage data from paper documents in order to efficiently convert them into digital formats. An advanced system enables not only simple conversion, but also simultaneous access for multiple users and improved data aggregation and management from different sources.

Advantages of digital document management:

Document management:

  • Information from various sources (paper, verbal, electronic) is stored centrally and in a structured manner in the document management system.
 

Archiving of documents:

  • Documents are securely stored in an electronic archive (e.g., IBM, OpenText, SAP) in an audit-proof manner until they are destroyed after the minimum retention period has expired.
  • Changes to documents are reliably documented throughout their entire life cycle.
 

Electronic file:

  • The heart of document management contains all documents, contracts, information and records for each process in a clearly structured manner.
  • The file structure can be defined for each process type, and authorizations are checked down to field level.
 

Efficient search:

  • Efficient document management enables quick retrieval thanks to indexed documents and a wide range of search functions.
 

Tasks, deadlines and filing periods:

  • Automatic deadline and deadline monitoring through integrated workflows takes the strain out of process flows and ad hoc coordination.
  • Tasks and deadlines are managed automatically and users are notified.
 

Compliance and data protection (GDPR):

  • Tasks and deadlines are managed automatically and users are notified.
  • System-supported document management secures internal company requirements, takes external compliance requirements into account and meets data protection standards.
  • Audit-proof archiving and compliance with retention periods play a central role.
  • Efficient document management supports the implementation of the GDPR by optimizing processes, making data processing transparent and meeting data protection requirements.

What should be considered before procuring a digital document management system?

Here are some aspects to consider with a digital document management system before purchasing one for your organization. These include:

Use case: the digital document management system should be able to add value to the use case for which it is being purchased in the organization.

Flexibility: The system should be flexible enough to be customized according to requirements.

Scalability: The system provided should be scalable enough to meet demand during peak periods.

Functions: The features of the digital document management system should increase the productivity and efficiency of the organization.

SaaS-based: It should be accessible from a remote location via the internet. This allows users to access the system and aggregate data from anywhere.

Price: The price should be reasonable and in line with the features that the solution brings to the table. It should be able to provide the necessary return on investment and certainly should not exceed the previous budget limit for previous document management practices.

Industries that use digital document management:

In the modern world, almost every industry benefits from digital document management. Whether it’s workflows in “Manufacturing & Production“, the management of personnel files in Human Resources or processes in “Logistics & Transportation“, the rule of thumb is that digital document management provides enormous support wherever many people work with numerous documents at different locations.

Case study: Efficient document management

A good example to illustrate the efficiency and functionality of digital document management is provided by companies that had already successfully implemented document management systems before the outbreak of the pandemic in 2019.

Depending on the industry, this decision proved to be particularly timely when the challenges of the global pandemic began in early March 2020 and the first lockdown followed. Advanced digital document management enabled employees to access documents seamlessly, not only via internal systems but also via a user-friendly customer portal.

The implementation of improved document management proved to be extremely useful as customers and employees increasingly had to work from home due to restrictions. Not only have companies been able to meet the challenges of the current situation, but they have also been able to increase efficiency and improve customer satisfaction.

How does digital document management work?

Within a company, information exists in various forms: either already available electronically or still in paper form. In order to integrate this information into a document management system (DMS) and optimize the associated business processes, certain steps are required.

The first step is to record the information in the DMS. Depending on the type of media, this is done in different ways. Modern document management software can automatically transfer electronic information into the system. For paper-based documents, a scanner with optical character recognition (OCR) is usually used to enable digital capture.

The capture depends on the type of document or type of information. Examples include information transferred via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), such as sales invoices, bills of lading, purchase orders, shipping notices, bank statements, design specifications, insurance claims, etc. Two further examples are the XRechnung and ZUGFeRD 2.0 formats, which represent structured data in the area of digital invoice formats, similar to the EDI formats.

And this is where we come in:

With our solution, we are able to process any type of document to provide you with the relevant information. Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) is a technological capability based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyze and process complex and unstructured documents. Our IDP solution relies on a combination of different technologies:

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR): This technology enables the scanning and conversion of text from images as well as scanned documents into machine-readable formats.
 
 
  • Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI): Through the use of ML and AI, patterns are recognized and learned from previous interactions to better process future requests.
 
  • Computer vision: This technology makes it possible to understand and interpret visual information in the form of scanned images or photos.

Why document management with IDP from ExB?

Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) is the clever combination of modern software applications from document management systems (DMS), robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI). We support you with our expertise during implementation, because: ExB is the flexible Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) platform that enables your company to process documents in seconds instead of days and automate your workflows. Please contact us for further information. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Written by:

Simon Rauch

Content Creator bei ExB

Simon is responsible for creating marketing content at ExB. With his expertise in the areas of AI trends and editing, he enriches ExB’s information offering – on our blog, on LinkedIn and YouTube.
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