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5 Ways a Document Management System Can Benefit Your Organization

Rick Smith

July 4, 2019 · 4 min read
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In the on-demand world, people expect instant access to information. Nobody wants to sift through massive paper files or multiple document repositories at work.

Organizations risk alienating employees and stifling productivity when the lack of an organized documents system leads to these negative outcomes:

Wasted time and money

Knowledge workers spend about 20 percent of the average week searching for and gathering information, according to McKinsey.

Information siloes and poor collaboration

A recent survey found 43 percent of employees have avoided sharing a document with a colleague because they couldn’t locate it or believed that finding it would take too long.

Data loss

Paper documents can be permanently lost through disasters like fire or water damage, while uncoordinated, unprotected electronic files can be leaked or lost through human error.


Complying with industry regulations such as HIPAA, ISO, and GDPR is nearly impossible without proper document organization software.

What is a document management system?

Think of it like a sophisticated electronic filing cabinet with a built-in assistant. A documents system or document management system is software that captures, tracks, manages, stores, and delivers all your organization’s documents and information assets and often have built in features to properly manage and retain records as well.

Over 90 percent of enterprise records and documentation are now in electronic form, according to PwC. But there’s still valuable data that exists only in hard copy. This is why many of today’s solutions also include document control systems which provide essential management tools for handling both electronic documents and electronic images of paper documents.

Document management systems are a sub-category of enterprise content management (ECM) suites, providing the core functionality of document control. Enterprise content management suites go further, delivering tools and processes that manage large volumes of structured and unstructured data, and often deliver the following functionality including:

  • Records management
  • Web content management
  • Digital asset management (rich media like video, images, etc.)
  • Collaboration and knowledge management
  • Email Management
  • Business Process Management
  • Image capture
  • Archiving

Benefits of using a document management system

Finding, sharing, and storing documents shouldn’t absorb a chunk of every workday. A document management system automates and simplifies the process so that it’s a minor step in workflows. While there are many features across all platforms, here are five key features that optimize document handling:

Document management requires version control

1. Version control

A critical part of document control, this feature supports efficient collaboration by allowing simultaneous document editing. It keeps track of all edits and preserves a copy of each version.

Document management systems should have audit trails

2. Audit trails & archives

An audit trail logs the complete history of all activities performed on a document (creation, editing, copying, deleting, and more). Archiving – the crucial final step in the lifecycle of a document– is the process of moving inactive files to separate storage. Both features eliminate time-consuming manual tasks.

document management requires superior data security

3. Privacy & data security

The average total cost of a data breach is $3.86 million, according to the Ponemon Institute. Documents systems safeguard your data with access controls that lock outside users out of enterprise documents and enable fine-grained permission settings.

4. True collaboration

A culture of collaboration and teamwork is vital, yet building it can be challenging when nearly 70 percent of remote workers report encountering challenges they wouldn’t find in the office, according to a recent survey. Document organization software empowers remote and mobile collaboration in real time.

5. Paper or digital

Most document control systems allow you to scan your paper files and upload the digital documents into cloud storage. You can capture, organize, and store different document types and file formats and empty your filing cabinets.

Use cases for a document management system

Now that we know what a document management system is and understand its benefits, let’s consider 5 ways you can put it to work at your organization.

  1. Scale up content management
    Whether you’re a small business looking for simple document control or a large organization that needs enterprise content management to handle all types of data throughout your business processes, there are tools to meet your needs.
  2. Electronically manage important documents
    A document control system can accelerate onboarding and support remote workers by making business documents easily accessible. It’s an essential solution for information and records management.
  3. Organize your assets
    Today’s companies collect vast amounts of data and client/customer information. Document organization software adds order to the incredible volumes of unstructured content across your organization.
  4. Store different file types
    Beyond standard word processing documents, many documents systems manage virtually any type of document or file type such as PDFs, emails, images, spreadsheets, and more.
  5. Share files with remote teams
    As the remote workforce grows, a document control system can also serve as a fundamental collaboration tool for easy, secure file-sharing.

How to choose a document management system

If you’re looking for basic cloud storage for file-sharing, popular offerings such as Dropbox or Google Drive will do. But for enterprise customers, especially in regulated industries, these tools have serious drawbacks, such as:

  • Lower security
  • Limited or no version control
  • No audit trails
  • Lack of support for multiple file types

If you need enterprise-level content management, use this checklist to evaluate documents systems. Do they offer:

  • Permissions/Security
  • Versioning
  • Search capability
  • Mobile access
  • Scanning
  • Ease of use
  • Integration with existing systems
  • Compliance support

Bring document management into your intranet

The problem of document management is complicated enough. The software solution should be intuitive, scalable, mobile, and centralized in a digital destination.

Have a document management challenge? Check out Igloo’s digital workplace solutions that address the most common document management challenges and more!