Document Management deals with the capture and management of documents within
an organization. In other words, it is the online storage, retrieval and
management of electronic images of documents. The term originally implied only
the management of documents after they were scanned into the computer, but has
subsequently become an umbrella term that embraces document imaging, workflow,
text retrieval and handling of multiple different file types.
The main method of capturing images is by scanning paper documents.
Document imaging systems replace large paper-intensive operations. Documents
can be shared by all users on a network and document routing can be controlled
by the computer (workflow). The systems are often simpler to develop and
implement than traditional data processing systems, because users are already
familiar with the paper documents that appear on screen.
The reason that companies move to embrace the value found within Digital
Document Management are multiple:
It improves the handling of documents and drawings from cradle to grave. An
integrated structure and controlled workflow would speed the process from
document creation and validation to delivery, storage and subsequent retrieval.
It provides structured storage. In a corporate environment you want to have a
firm grip upon the assets available. Structured storage of data means central
control and easier access, but also enables QA and auditing to be more
It allows better access and retrieval of information. It was shown that a
worker could spend up to 3 hours searching manual indexes which are often
limited for a specific report and that many workers retain their own form of
library for frequently accessed materials. Faster and more accurate access
would directly reduces costs and also help ensure that relevant information is
not as easily overlooked.
It reduces the dependency on individual knowledge. By providing effective means
by which new or less experienced workers can access the corporate memory
contained in the records base, the organization can reduce its dependency on
specific expert individuals. This enables more of the experts time to be focused
on core tasks.
It reduces duplication of resources. The average report is duplicated several
times for various people and often multiple copies are deposited with the
Library. By using a digital document management solution the number of paper
copies is dramatically reduced.
It reduces rework. It was found that the costs of recreating a completely lost
or irreparably damaged drawing or report could amount to hundreds, even
thousands of dollars. Consider the costs involved in constantly doing small
items of work that have already been done elsewhere - redesigning the wheel
costs money. Even when the work was found to have been previously completed,
one usually needed to retype portions of documents because they were not
It reduces Overhead staffing costs. In any organization that charges by the
hour, any staff not doing work directly chargeable to the client are perceived
as a cost element which has to demonstrate distinct value to be retained. One
of the corporate advantages of integrated digital document management is the
potential reduction in staff by automating a number of processes. In practice
the skilled permanent staff can be transferred to other more valuable roles and
the savings were made at sub-contract clerical levels.