A Document Management System (DMS) is a digital document storage. It distinguishes itself from ordinary data storage because metadata can be added to all the documents. This makes them easier to find. Think about adding an author, category, description, data of creation, etc. The documents and the database are usually stored in a secure network location, making it accessible from various locations, with a desktop application or web application (intranet or internet).
The collaboration possibilities are central in a Document Management System. It's possible to collaborate on files and to integrate into existing business processes.
THE 3 MOST IMPORTANT CHARACTERISTICS OF A DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
1. ARCHIVING AND INDEXING DOCUMENTS
To easily find documents, they are assigned extra information: metadata (automatic or manually). The user can use this metadata to filter files or search for a specific file. SharePoint has a powerful search engine which can also read the content of documents. This makes for easier discovery of specific information.
A workflow is the automatic routing of documents between different people. The reader assigns a certain status to a document, so the next receiver knows which steps to take. Commonly used workflows are:
- Permission processes, where a certain document needs to be approved before it can be shown to other people within the organization.
- Feedback collection, when several people work on the same document.
- Leave requests, where a request is automatically forwarded to the right people for approval.
When several people collaborate on a document, it often happens that multiple versions of the document are sent back and forth via email. With a Document Management System, employees can collaborate on the same document without having to create new versions and send them out. This takes away the risk of working with outdated information and increases storage capacity.
Versioning in the Document Management System lets readers know if a document was edited, what exactly was edited and who made the change. Older versions of the file can still be accessed to double check. If needed, the older version can be restored.
SHAREPOINT AS A DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEEM
SharePoint offers all possibilities of a modern DMS. The platform distinguishes itself when it comes to integration with other systems, the powerful search engine, the standard workflows and the user friendliness.