Document Management explained

document management - Toolshero

Document management: this article explains the theory of document management in a practical way. In addition to explaining what it is, this article also highlights who it is intended for, rounded off with a brief summary. After reading you will understand the basics of this information technology tool. Enjoy reading!

What is Document Management?

Document Management (DM) is the process of saving, localizing, editing, and sharing different types of electronic documents in a way that is most effective and efficient for organizations.

A vital element of document management is that documents are stored at a centralized location so that every stakeholder with the right to access these files can quickly locate them. In document management, computer programs are used to store but also to secure protected data.

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An organization without an effective document management system must store every daily created files manually in the right folder and on the correct disk. The process of manually storing data is a time-consuming process that can preferably be avoided with a document management system.

Businesses receive documents nowadays mostly digital, but some documents are also collected in paper form. Consider the following example: company A place on order digitally and expect the goods to be delivered ASAP. After the order has been confirmed, the seller sends a paper invoice to the company.

The invoice state that it is requested to pay the invoice within four weeks. The paying process might not be a problem, but the invoice has to be scanned, send to the right drive on the computer, and it has to be attached to the digital order that was placed previously.

This is a simple example of how time-consuming this process is because, if many orders are placed daily, hours would be spent on editing and sorting documents.

A DM system can eliminate this problem. This type of system can automate the process of organizing, digitalizing, editing, approving, and securing documents. Documents are stored in a secured cloud, and only authorized members have access to these files. The type of documents can include but are not limited to PDFs, images, and paper-based messages.

For this reason, implementing a DM system saves time, and thus, money that can be invested elsewhere.

In general, it can be concluded that the fundamental processes of document management can be classified into the following three tasks: scan, save, and retrieve.

  • Scan is concerned with automating the process of converting documents into PDF’s
  • Save is regarded as the process of classifying and securing the documents
  • Retrieve is concerned with making the files easily accessible for authorized individuals

The three tasks are the basic tasks, but document management is not limited to those. It is additionally concerned with features such as viewing, sharing, version control, and document workflows.

For whom is document management intended?

Regardless of the size of organizations, many companies have a set of separate documents. These documents can be both digitally and paper-based, but all need to be stacked and stored together.

The documents could include electronic files, but also spreadsheets, images, scanned paper documents. These documents are next stored on a publicly- or privately-owned network in shared drives or archives.

It occasionally still occurs that businesses store essential files on their e-mail address. This way of working increases the risk of losing files, and it even increases the risk of being attacked by a cyberattack.

In comparison, paper-based documents require a lot of space, space that can be used for other purposes. Altogether, it can be concluded that DM without a proper document management system can be a mess if it is not organized correctly.

In today’s society, it is becoming an obligation for private companies to store classified information properly with the highest level of security. Regardless of the size of the organization, the duty applies to all businesses that work with data that should be protected. For this reason, it is almost a must for all companies to invest in a document management system.

By integrating a document management system, it saves costs, but more importantly, every file that is stored at a centralized and protected location can easily be retrieved. The barriers of searching through old files when these must be acquired in the future would be eliminated immediately.

Document management is not new, but with the rise of new technologies, document management has offered new possibilities for any organization. When a document management system is integrated into a company, the employees or the entrepreneur can work from any location and at any time. Most importantly, the time that usually is invested in editing and storing files can now be invested in the most essential activities.

In fact, if a company is used to managing document management in the traditional way, the change that would occur with a digitalized document management system will be significant. Stress would drastically diminish, and business would potentially grow due to additional time that can be used to innovative and creative ideas that enhance the company.

Document management conclusions

Utilizing a document management system is becoming more popular. But integrating a document management system without the help of an expert is going to be difficult. Fortunately, today, there exist various providers who can help create software that best suit your business. Sometimes, efficient cloud software already exists that is designed for small and medium enterprises.

Once a business effectively makes use of a document management system, the company has a centralized storage from which documents can be retrieved at any time and any place. Next to this, documents are correctly secured for later usage and against unwilling intruders.

In addition, it is going to help the business to share files quickly with any person or organization, and it eliminates the physical process of scanning, editing, and saving. One thing is for sure, processing files will be automated, and time will be saved on the work floor.

As a result, DM eliminates unnecessary stress, and it gives an extra opportunity to develop the business.

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Now it’s your turn

What do you think? Do you recognize the explanation of document management? Do you already work with a document management system? Are you still working with the traditional approach of document management? What are the challenges that you face with document management? Do you have any tips or additions?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

More information

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  4. Hajmiragha, M. (2001). U.S. Patent No. 6,289,460. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  5. Jeffery, S. R., O’gwen, G. L., Hornsby, B. A., McBryde, K. E., Powell, W. C., & Rizk, T. A. (2005). U.S. Patent No. 6,957,384. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
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  8. Robertson, G., Czerwinski, M., Larson, K., Robbins, D. C., Thiel, D., & Van Dantzich, M. (1998, November). Data mountain: using spatial memory for document management. In Proceedings of the 11th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology (pp. 153-162). ACM.
  9. Serbinis, M. M., Leibu, D., Chrapko, E. V., & Pappes, V. (2003). U.S. Patent No. 6,584,466. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  10. Smith, R. M., Ting, D. M., Boer, J. H., & Mendelssohn, M. (1993). U.S. Patent No. 5,181,162. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
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How to cite this article:
Zeeman, A. (2019). Document Management. Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero:

Original publication date: 11/27/2019 | Last update: 11/01/2023

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Alexander Zeeman
Article by:

Alexander Zeeman

Alexander Zeeman is Content Manager at ToolsHero where he focuses on Content production, Content management and marketing. He is also an International Business student at Rotterdam Business school. Currently, in his study, working on the development of various management competencies and improving operational business processes.


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