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Using Document Management Software to Improve Data Management and Reduce Paper

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In the knowledge economy, data and information are extremely valuable. Having robust data management systems, such as document management software (DMS), can help companies use that information and knowledge to its fullest potential. Leading productivity specialist K.J. McCorry, author of Organize Your Work Day in No Time, shows how companies can improve data management, increase data efficiencies, and decrease paper consumption as well.
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Document Management Software (DMS) systems are not only for large companies. Even with smaller offices, DMS systems can effectively help companies collaborate on documents that need modification and/or tracking. Although organizing the shared drive with an electronic file hierarchy structure and establishing guidelines on document naming conventions can be effective, it does require more work to manage and maintain.

Understanding key benefits of a DMS system, along with choosing a product carefully, will begin the process of implementing a DMS system. Next, it will be important to develop a strong plan that engages employees to use the system effectively.

The Benefits of Document Management Software

DMS systems have more robust functions of input, storage, search and access of data than the mere file management tools that come on computers such as Windows Explorer. DMS systems allow users to find data not only through a file hierarchy structure. These systems have additional information related to a document such as keywords, categorization, and indexing which makes searching and finding data much easier. It also compresses data so that it has the ability to store significant amounts of documents in a smaller amount of space, increasing server efficiency. DMS systems also have autoarchive and autodelete functionalities that make adhering to record retention and compliance guidelines instantaneous.

DMS systems also increase document sharing functionality within in an organization. These systems can be located on a server or through the intranet or Internet. This is particularly useful as organizations have multiple locations and increase remote workers in the U.S. and internationally. No longer do employees have to rely on their server or hard drive to access data but can have it centrally located. It can essentially be accessed quickly anywhere, on any computer system, within that moment the information is needed. According to the Communication Industry Trends Survey of 2007, many firms are increasing their accessibility of electronic documents with more than 50 percent making more than half of their documents available over the Internet through DMS systems.

Although the cost of DMSes can be pricy, paper management costs money, too. Paper management not only includes the price of paper but all the activities that go along with paper management including printing, filing, organizing, purging, and disposal. A study done by Coopers & Lybrand estimated the cost of paper management to be about $50 per document. Another study by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that more than $120 in labor is spent just to search for misfiled documents. All of that adds up when you have millions of records and documents to manage. It’s estimated that by installing DMS software, an organization can save an average of 500,000 pages of paper. Using a DMS system usually can prove to be a significantly better return on investment in data and knowledge management along with reducing paper and printing costs.

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