Using a Document Management System (DMS) To Manage Project Documentation

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It isn’t surprising that with the continuous improvement and development of technology, businesses are also transitioning from traditional, paper-based documentation and manual management to electronic systems. This shift is not just about doing what’s currently in and new. Electronic document management systems or DMS can do so much to improve the efficiency of projects where documents are concerned.

Uses of DMS

DMS encompasses all procedures related to these four primary activities:

  1. Capturing data
  2. Storing data
  3. Securing data
  4. Retrieving data

Before computers became standard in the workplace, project managers performed these procedures manually. They painstakingly penciled information in paper but efficiency rates increased significantly when computers finally entered the picture. Now that computers are getting better upgrades year after year, projects that use the latest software systems can be sure that their documentation processes will be as efficient as possible.

However, having the latest computer equipment is not enough. What businesses need, possibly even more than the most expensive desktops, is an efficient document archiving and management system. Without it, a computer is just a machine. Entering, storing, securing, and retrieving data will mostly have to be done manually.

Here are some of the more specific functions of DMS, its limitations, and how it can be of help to project managers:

–          Files are saved independently. The software will not group them into categories.

–          Organization of files will be the responsibility of the users.

–          Users are granted the freedom to organize and alter the information stored in the DMS. Exceptions appear when documents are classified, and only people granted authorization can access them.

–          Storage of files is made easy because of one-click commands that will transfer documents from one folder to another, from one cache to another.

–          Searching for files is also equally easy. No more hefting heavy boxes of folders and binders to find a single-page contract or a bunch of invoices. Entering keywords and titles on the search tool is all that needs to be done to retrieve files.

–          Security levels may be implemented. As stated earlier, certain documents may be secured by passwords and may only be viewed by authorized users. Authorization may be granted to individual users, or automatically given to users with administrator status.

–          Various Microsoft Office applications, Adobe programs, and other platforms are integrated into the majority of DMS software.

–          That same integration allows users to create different types of documents and preserve them in their raw formats.

–          Aside from documents, users can also store images, videos and audio files in the DMS.

–          Users can access documents through LAN or remote servers.

–          Some DMS software allows users to create web page previews of a stored document.

–          Access to documents may be granted via single-document links.

–          The same links will be automatically updated if the documents are moved around the DMS.

DMS in Sync with Other Project Tools

DMS software will improve the four primary activities of capturing, storing, securing and retrieving data. It will integrate all of these seamlessly, allowing users to move from one process to the next without any difficulty. It can also improve the current documentation and record management procedures. With the right DMS software and a scanner that they can automatically interpret printed characters and store them as digital data, even typing can be reduced to data checking and confirmation.

Benefits of DMS

By shifting from paper-based documentation to electronic data storage, and by using computers and other devices to input data and organize files, there are two obvious benefits that projects can gain from DMS (aside from the ones enumerated above):

DMS saves time.

Even if a large portion of project documentation requires typing, a DMS still promotes time efficiency because the created files can be quickly saved, printed, and stored in the proper folder.  Time spent searching for the latest version of documents can be reduced. In just a few seconds, the software can retrieve multiple files. That’s certainly not something you can do if the document you need is in a massive records room.

DMS saves space.

Seeing that every document will now be digitally preserved and stored, there is no need for massive filing cabinets or indeed, a records room. Even a tiny office will be able to house years’ worth of project documentation—if they have a DMS with a big enough memory capacity.

Quite simply, DMS promotes project efficiency especially if recording, sorting, and reviewing documents are part of the daily operations. This is what businesses and corporate offices need to improve overall project productivity.

About the author: Nicole Williams is a professional blogger for Micro Com Systems.Her topics of interest include content management, document archiving and using technology to improve workplace productivity.

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