Document Management Guide—Keys to More Efficient Workflows

Print Services

Document Management Guide—Keys to More Efficient Workflows

Learn everything you need to know about document management and see how to leverage it to build better, more efficient workflows in your business.


17 minutes

Aug 18, 2020

In the constantly changing landscape of economic and market shifts, successful businesses are looking inward for ways to reduce costs and increase the efficiency of their business processes.  

Document management systems optimize business processes to streamline how your company handles day-to-day tasks. When done professionally, it can also make a long-term impact on your business’ success and ability to maintain a competitive edge in any market.

This is important because teams that must switch focus from mission-critical work to handle tasks that could be automated or spend time correcting errors are less likely to be able to achieve the productivity levels that drive revenue and success for organizations.

The goals of document management and process optimization are:

  • Identify and eliminate inefficient labor
  • Streamline procedures for reduced process completion times
  • Provide technological integration for everyday workflows
  • Reduce redundancies and staff frustration
  • Improve data accessibility
  • Improve data security and compliance
  • Increase productivity and profitability 

What is Document Management?

Document management is the process of capturing, storing, organizing, and managing digital documents within an organization. Using innovative technology and software systems, businesses can capture, save, index, retrieve, and share documents using the cloud, enabling businesses to efficiently utilize their documents anytime, anywhere.

Having a centralized and structured approach to document storage and use replaces (or complements) traditional paper-based filing systems that tend to be more expensive and take more time.  

Modern document management systems allow businesses to digitize and electronically manage various types of documents, including contracts, invoices, reports, memos, and other important records.

The purpose of a document management system in a business is to help businesses become more efficient in how they manage their documents. A digital document management system saves time by making it easier for everyone in an organization to centrally manage documents, saves money by moving storage to the cloud, and increases productivity by simplifying how people save, find, and access important documents and information.

How Does a Document Management System Work?

Document management provides business’ with a centralized platform for storing, organizing, and managing digital documents within an organization. To accomplish this feat, a modern system offers many features that each play a part in building a high-impact document management tool.  

Here's a general overview of the features, tools, and processes that makes up how a document management system works:

  • Document Capture: The first step toward stronger document management is digitizing your physical documents which can now be captured and digitized in various ways. They can be scanned in or imported from existing digital files. Optical character recognition (OCR) technology can also be used to convert scanned images into digital documents with searchable text.
  • Storage and Organization: Next, the documents are stored in a secure digital repository, often in a centralized, cloud-based data storage facility. The documents are then organized using folders or categories to facilitate easy retrieval and management. Metadata, such as titles, tags, keywords, or custom attributes, can also be assigned to each document.
  • Search and Retrieval: The metadata collected during the organization phase helps make it easier for people to find specific documents when searching, something that is critical in improving efficiency and productivity. A document management system provides robust search capabilities, allowing users to search for documents based on keywords, metadata, or even the content within the documents.
  • Collaboration and Workflow: After digitizing and organizing your documents they become available for multiple users to access, share, and work on simultaneously, making real-time changes and providing comments or annotations. The system also supports digital document workflow management, enabling organizations to define and automate document-related processes, such as review and approval workflows.
  • Integration: A modern document management system can also integrate with other business systems and applications. For example, it may integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) systems, email clients, or enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Integration streamlines document-related processes, such as automatically storing documents related to specific customers or projects.

Overall, the objective of a document management system is to simplify and streamline document handling processes within businesses. In turn, this enhances collaboration, improves search and retrieval efficiency, and provides a secure and organized approach to any tasks that involve documents. 

Why a Document Management System is Important

The importance of a document management system is best identified by looking at businesses that don’t have one. They’re typically plagued by unorganized storage systems, lost data and documents, lots of physical storage, and slow processes when people need to locate specific documents quickly. Instead of having everything centrally stored on a cloud-based system, people must physically find documents that could be anywhere and you risk losing or damaging documents along the way.

A modernized system removes all these headaches by streamlining the entirety of the process from document capture to access later down the line.

Cybersecurity in Document Management

Additionally, a document management system to digitally store documents adds new layers of security for businesses and helps organizations become compliant with necessary regulatory requirements. A modern document management system has tools like:

  • Access ControlsManage who has access to certain documents so that only authorized users have the ability to obtain sensitive information or confidential documents.
  • Disaster Recovery and Backup—Remove the risk of losing critical documents with frequent backups and disaster recovery plans that restore access to documents quickly after an outage or disaster.
  • Version Control—Track changes to documents to ensure nothing is lost in the editing or revision process and that older information is always available to be reviewed and that the most up-to-date versions are being shared and used.
  • Activity Monitoring—See who is accessing documents, the devices they’re using, and what they’re accessing using activity monitoring tools. 

The Keys to Efficient Workflows Using Document Management’s Capabilities

Building efficient workflows allows your company to work smarter, not harder, freeing up time to work on more high-impact projects and limiting downtime. To achieve better workflows, you need to follow these three keys:

  • Key #1—Print Management: Optimizing your print processes, moving to a managed service model, gaining transparency in print costs, and going fully digital with documents
  • Key #2—Document Management: Capturing data and documents more quickly and easily, opening up access to those datasets and documents, maintaining compliance with security regulations, improve team collaboration, and reduce the need for physical storage
  • Key #3—Print & Data Security: Access control, remote monitoring, and backup and disaster recovery plans 

Key #2: Document Management  

Data, whether digital or paper-based, is the lifeblood of nearly every enterprise. Compiling and disseminating business information, sometimes from various sources, can be a challenging and error-prone task without the right technology in place.

Depending on the nature of your industry, document management solutions can deliver a host of benefits that assist with streamlining business processes, reducing error, and giving your company the agility that drives progress. Here are some ways in which document management solutions help businesses build more streamlined workflows:

1. Provide Smarter, More Proficient Data Capture

Simple data capture processes reduce the need for extensive training, as well as providing staff with the ability to process data much more quickly or even automatically. Incoming data can be automatically collected from existing infrastructure—desktop computers, MFPs, scanners, and fax servers—and associated with a specific profile in a database for archival.

Most document management systems are outfitted with self-learning capabilities to streamline capture and storage more intelligently as more documents are collected and identified.  

Like print management, document management helps companies step forward into a digitally focused environment, driving transformation and delivering the kind of innovation that supports core business functions more effectively.

2. Streamline Data Access

For many businesses, manual document search and retrieval takes up a huge chunk of employee time, reducing productivity and increasing labor costs.

According to the International Data Corporation, a business with 1,000 employees can waste $2.5-3.5 million every year chasing paper documents.

With one of every 20 documents lost, employees are spending nearly 25 work hours recreating lost documents. With 90% of every business’ information in document form, you can understand the impact that a streamlined data retrieval process can have on workflows.

Document management implements targeted solutions for easy access to necessary information. Employees can find documents through keyword or key phrase searches, full text searches, or searches by categories or folders.

These solutions are designed to integrate with commonly used business applications for ease of use, and information can be accessed at any time from any device or location using an internet connection. This ability is particularly useful for promoting collaboration when some or all your staff are working remotely.

3. Achieve and Maintain Security Compliance

As privacy and data regulations grow more complex, businesses struggle to stay compliant across all business systems. Non-compliance can bring enormous liability to your business, including license revocation, fines, and in some cases even criminal liability.

For example, federal and state regulations such as Sarbanes Oxley, FERPA, HIPAA, CMMC, and others mandate a number of strict privacy and data security guidelines such as records retention, secure storage, access control, and more. 

Document management systems can automate these processes, provide continuous monitoring for suspicious activity, and increase access control to achieve complete compliance.

4. Improve Collaboration Organization-Wide

Projects are collaborative, which is why having a central location for document sharing, editing, and storage is so important. Document management gives businesses the ability to maintain a record of project communication and activity throughout project history for accountability and easy version control.

Employees will have access to a document repository for a complete knowledge base of project activities, providing exceptional project management and project control. This ease of access encourages input and action from employees regardless of location, allowing work-at-home or travelling staff members to remain fully productive.

5. Reduce or Eliminate Physical Storage Space

As the cost of commercial property rises, so does the expense of storing paper documents. A document management system reduces the need for storage bins, boxes, or filing cabinets and frees up valuable office space for mission critical functions.  

For remote-based companies, having to pay for physical space solely to keep records and documents is an avoidable expense and a pain. Additionally, storing hard-copy documents presents the risk of physical theft and adds another layer of cost to companies who must install physical security measures to monitor sensitive data on site.

Document management using cloud storage can severely reduce or entirely eliminate the need for this physical storage. 

Three Document Management Solutions—One Efficient, Productive, Collaborative, and Sustainable Outcome

Print and document management solutions—and the strong security measures inherent in them both — are essential tools for any business that is serious about taking a competitive lead in today’s volatile markets.

Businesses are processing greater volumes of data than ever and new technologies are cropping up on a continuous basis, making it hard for in-house teams to properly plan and manage expansion.  

With print and document management, your business can leverage the combined IT expertise of a team of industry experts to help you plan, execute, and maintain systems that will improve your workflows, automate more processes, and let you make better, more informed decisions in less time.

Innovations across print and data management are constantly evolving that support business leaders to manage their digital transformations and give their employees the best tools available to help them succeed.

These internal improvements generate gains in the areas of time and resources, contribute to better customer satisfaction, and help businesses stay ahead of the curve, able to pivot easily as markets fluctuate.

Get in touch with one of Impact’s document management specialists today to see how we can implement all the solutions above and build more efficient print and document workflows for your business. 


Digital TransformationPrint ServicesBusiness GrowthEmployee ExperienceStreamline ProcessesDocument Management


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