One of the most profound
technical developments in recent years has been the advent of
digital document management.
Organizations today can
bring both their
paper and digital documents together in one environment to search,
distribute and archive them with a click of a mouse.
result, organizations in all industries can reduce administration
costs, improve the efficiency of their workers, strengthen customer
service and safeguard important information .
Despite the considerable
of document management are overlooked by most organizations.
Businesses use a wide
variety of documenls
every day. Pick any process and you can
be assured that, whether on paper or online, the job requires at least
one document. Without documents to drive key processes, most businesses
would simply see no business at all.
It makes sense to attend
to the management of
the same importance given
to other key
business components. Digital document management systems can improve
how organizations share, file, retrieve and archive documents.
Paper documents can be
the need for bulky filing cabinets and costly offsite storage.
Once scanned, documents can be indexed by keywords, making
retrieval quick and thorough and safeguarding them from fire, floods or worse.
One important concept to
considering document management is known as "capture." There are two types of
capture and data capture.
When you scan a paper document, you literally
capture an image of that document. Scanning in
lieu of printing or copying is at
core of eliminating filing
cabinets and storage boxes, and is a big improvement over the
paperbound way of managing documents.
Data capture allows
companies to quickly search and easily retrieve documents. Keyword data
about each document - like customer name, account number, date or
amount paid - are automatically gleaned from each document and retained
in index fields.
Captured data, also known
as "metadata: is used to enable a variety of searches, or queries. For
example, a company can find all financial documents by date range,
every invoice for a specific client, or shipping slips for a particular
part in the warehouse.
This query function provides
immediate access to documents electronically and is an improvement
over pawing through forgonen boxes in the basement.
The key is to minimize
the cost of capturing this data and to maximize the access to your
documents. Simply scanning documents to a file folder and then
manually entering the meta data into fields on a PC can actually result
in an increase in labor and expense.
Most document management
systems automate this process by reading pre-set areas on a page (via
optical character recognition) and thereby dramatically reduce the cost
and hassle of data capture.
of a document strategy will cost you
Manual searches that take hours
can be conducted by document management systems in a matter of seconds
- and often more efficiently.
In addition to the
savings and efficiencies that are possible, designing a good document
management strategy can increase the value of your other technology
infrastructure investments as well. Printers, copiers, scanners and
networks take on new vitality and value.
management is a powerful business tool that should not be overlooked.
Whatever products or approach you consider, be sure to include the
valuable benefits of both image and data capture in your evaluation.
- Kevin Craine, author of Designing