What is Document Management?

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Document Management goes beyond simple file systems to allow organizations to manage, search, and collaborate on files without the tedious overheads, saving employees valuable time. Once you get a good one, you’ll never be able to imagine your working life without it. Find out why.

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Reasons why teams use document management

For any organization looking for better business processes, there is one particular system that will make work easier as soon as it’s implemented - a Document Management System, or better known as Document Management. While you can write as many style guides and workflow procedures as you like, if you don’t have Document Management in place, documents are going to wind up lost. 

Simple file structures and document naming procedures quickly can become a mess when teams expand to more than a handful of people. 

The difficulties of traditional file systems include:

  • Different team security structures
  • An onsite solution plus multiple cloud accounts across places like DropBox and Google Drive
  • Outsider access requirements
  • Documents that really seem like they should live in more than one folder
  • The rigidity of traditional file systems
  • Limited search functionality
  • Often lack of versioning, comments, document creation, editing, movement, and deletion

By first including document timestamps, we gain some serious advantages already to help validate and verify your documents. The benefits of documentation and records include:

  • Historical status of documents, for full history at any given point from creation until the present moment
  • A complete internal knowledge base of all business documents to ensure no information is lost
  • Time-stamped documents to prove IP
  • Time-stamped documents to ensure workflows have happened when they were supposed to

What is document management?

Let's take a step back. Most businesses know that document management is a crucial part of their business.

But what exactly is document management. And how can you use it to your advantage?

Document management is all the steps to capture and store your organization’s documents digitally. In a well-organized way so that approved users can quickly locate and access them.

Document management software manages business files. It also offers the complete set of tools to store, organize, retrieve, revise and dispose of business files through tagging, indexing, workflows, and search.

These documents range from business forms, HR documents, financial spreadsheets, company reports, business cases, customer correspondence, marketing materials, invoices, PDFs, scanned images, and much more. 

Document management makes it easy for companies to efficiently capture, process, maintain, use, and secure their business files. 

One of the basic principles of document management is that the proper use of technology will free staff from mundane tasks to spend time on more valuable work. 

Document management involves more than just the physical storage of documents. It includes the whole process of managing documents throughout their lifecycle. 

  • Capturing or storing files into a system, 
  • Keeping them in a central, secure place, 
  • Recovering them when needed, 
  • Sharing as required, 
  • and, securely eliminating documents when they’re no longer required.

The Benefits of Document Management – How to Make the most of Your Company Data

Your company’s data is your lifeblood. We are now in an age where business management systems and automations can save minutes and even hours of employees’ time.

We spend considerable time creating and writing documents like reports, proposals, plans, and contracts. Nobody has time to waste looking for or recreating files from scratch that have gone missing. Simply put, if you can't easily find, retrieve, maintain, and share documents, you're wasting both time and money.

The benefits of a Document Management include:

  • A single source of truth for your organization’s documents - everything in the one place
  • A more helpful way to structure and organize your data
  • Easier document retrieval with advanced search (including full text) and sort
  • A better way to share documents externally
  • More secure, with in-built security permissions
  • Better collaboration with comments, assignees, collaborative documents, etc.
  • Version history as standard
  • Fulfil data compliance needs for modern businesses
  • Create backups from just one ecosystem

How do remote and distributed teams benefit from document management and sharing files?

Organizations worldwide have gone remote. With Covid-19 shifting business operations online and into people’s homes, we’ve had to come up with better ways of accessing data and collaborating on work.

This has inevitably caused a more dramatic shift to cloud operations. In fact, in 2020, a Deloitte survey of CIOs indicated that migrating to the public cloud and/or expanding private cloud was their top IT spending priority. By clouding operations, remote and distributed teams can work from anywhere on any device in a native environment.

Modern Document Management Solutions are cloud-native by default. With collaborative features, in-built security and permissions, and mobile applications, they’re made for remote-first work.

What is the difference between consumer cloud storage and document management?

Consumer cloud storage is simply a place where you can store and access digital objects. Consumer-grade cloud storage lacks the structure and organization available in a Document Management System. It gives limited if any metadata options, often does not have versioning, plus it isn’t built for business-grade security and compliance. While it’s possible to use consumer cloud storage in a small business that doesn’t produce much documentation, if the business scales it, quickly outgrows this type of solution.

What industries benefit from document management?

Every type of industry can benefit from a Document Management System, from small businesses and startups to giant enterprise companies. You can find these sorts of systems living in the biggest industries and government bodies across the world including:

  • Food and Beverage Industry
  • Healthcare industry
  • Construction Oil and Gas
  • Biotech - Pharmaceuticals
  • Retail
  • Legal

What to look for in a document management system

A Document Management System is designed to make work easier and more seamless for all employees who work with internal (and external) documents. It should be simple to set up the organisation and structure of your business, the develop intuitive workflows that best represent how your business should work. With the right configuration, it will be as easy to create documents as Google Docs, but as simple to manage them and search them as it is to manage tasks with a simple task list.

Your new Document Management System should include:

Documents available across different platforms

Have Google Drive, SharePoint, and Dropbox files? If you’re not ready to migrate to a singular solution, you don’t have to. With a modern Document Management System, you’re able to view files from these environments without rolling them over.

Complete version history

Files with names like AppraisalVersion2.1 can be done away with when you have complete version history. View the version of a file at any point in time. Add comments to note the changes made for each version. Validation of dates will ensure you’re looking at the historically appropriate version of a document and verification will make your searches quicker and more intuitive.

Search within files

Sometimes the title of a document simply isn’t enough. People’s memories may recall some of the inner text of a file - which is why full-text search needs to be available. Intelligent highlighting of keywords and phrases makes for faster search.

Metadata tagging

With metadata, you can create tags and classify them - such as for a particular topic - so that even if a file might live in the Price Lists section of your documents, if you also tag it as Infrastructure, it’ll show up when searching for documents. Organized and appropriately tagged documents make search extremely easy.

Quick view of documents

Rather than having to open documents with specific software, documents need to be available at a glance within the browser, whether they’re Word format, PDF, or Google Sheets. Save time with a single click.


Every employee has a list of their most-used documents, even if it’s not written down. With individualized favorites, this makes launching familiar docs a breeze.

Mobile management with push-based notifications

For remote-first operations, you need beautiful functionality on mobile. When files are about to expire or need review, push-based notifications can help bring these activities to the forefront for the right employees. Reminders and alerts can be set on any docs.

Granular security 

Your Document Management System should come with built-in security features, and similar access and control permissions to Microsoft’s Active Directory. Advanced security features can include expiry dates on links shared and turning off link forwarding for external document sharing.

Workflow integrations

Have specific document and file workflows you’d like to apply for further management? The system should be adaptable to allow for setting up these automations without changes to the software itself. Automated processes can also capture metadata for enhanced operations.

CentricMinds is document management simplified

We include all these features and more as part of our Document Management System. We’ve created a product we know you’ll love that is configurable for your organization as it would be if we made it just for you.