3 Ways a Document Management System Can Be More Than an Electronic Filing Cabinet

Document management systems can be an excellent way to support and provide efficient processes. However some early adopters who moved forward with a system without first taking the time to think about an overall records management strategy have ended up with a system that has actually added more workload than helped improve processes.

For these early adopters, staff can spend several hours a week scanning paper documents—a large percentage of which are never viewed again.

Dr. Wendy Kilgore, AACRAO Managing Consultant, has observed that many document management systems serve as little more than electronic filing cabinets—storing duplicate information that already transferred through a routine business transaction into the ERP or SIS. These systems don’t add much in the way of business process improvement.

Implementing Systems

Document management systems have evolved from simple records storage platforms, essentially electronic filing cabinets, to sophisticated systems that support web forms and workflows linked to the ERP. A well-chosen and fully-implemented system will provide many benefits beyond the filing cabinet. Some of the most important include:

  • A platform to support sophisticated web form enabled data collection tied to workflows eliminating the need for paper forms
  • Integration with other applications. Actions undertaken through the document management systems can be tied directly to data changes in the primary database
  • Ease of sharing and collaboration. End users in multiple locations can review, annotate or take action on the same documents.

By creating a document management plan in conjunction with a review and modification of the records retention policy business processes can be improved and redundancy eliminated.

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Consider a review of your records management practices and current or intended use of a document management system.  Whether your institution is an early or recent adopter of a document management system or just now considering a document management solution, Dr. Kilgore can assist your institution.  For more information, contact us at (202) 355-1056.