What are we doing with your documents?
Todays work load includes more data than ever before and more governance. It was not that long ago that everything arrived on our desks as a piece of paper, often hand delivered by a colleague. Now data comes from all sources, it may still be a piece of paper or it may be a facsimile or a pdf or an e-mail or a spreadsheet or, well the list goes on.
So what does a document Management System do? It keeps track of all of that data for a number of different reasons.
The cost of commercial property and the need to store documentation for e.g. retrieval, regulatory compliance means that paper based document storage competes with people for space within an organisation. Scanning documents and integrating them into a document management system can greatly reduce the amount of prime storage space required by paper. It also allows any documents that still have to be stored as paper to be stored in less expensive locations.
Retrieving documents stored as hard copies, or on microfilm absorbs time. A DMS increases creates electronic images of documents and stores them centrally. Less time is spent locating the documents as they can be retrieved without leaving a desk. DMS users can also access other systems available from the desktop at the same time as retrieving documents. With paper-based solutions documents are often removed from storage and taken back to the desk to access other systems (which can lead to loss, prevents others finding the same file, can be viewed by others).
Indexing paper and microfilm in more than one way can be done, but it is awkward, costly and time-consuming. Images of documents stored within a DMS can be indexed in several different ways simultaneously
Improved, faster and more flexible search
Document Management Systems can retrieve files by any word or phrase in the document – known as full text search – a capability that is impossible with paper or microfilm. A DMS can also apply single or multiple taxonomies or categorisations to a document of folder that allow documents to be classified and stored in more than one way from a single instance to something which is not possible with paper or microfilm.
Controlled and Improved Document distribution
Imaging makes it easy to share documents electronically with colleagues and clients over a network, by email or via the Web in a controlled manner. Paper documents usually require photocopying to be shared, and microfilm requires conversion to paper. This provides a cost saving by reducing the overheads associated with paper based document distribution, such as printing and postage and removes the typical delay associated with providing hard copy information.
A DMS can provide better, more flexible control over sensitive documents. Many DMS solutions allow access to documents to be controlled at the folder and/or document level for different groups and individuals. Paper documents stored in a traditional filing cabinet or filing room have the same level of security i.e. if you have access to the cabinet you have access to all items in it. A DMS also provides an audit trail of who viewed an item, when, where or who modified an item and when, which is difficult to maintain with paper or microfilm based systems. A DMS also removes the possibility of having confidential material or trade secrets lying around unattended in an office.
A DMS provides an easy way to back-up documents for offsite storage and disaster recovery providing failsafe archives and an effective disaster recovery strategy. Paper is a bulky and expensive way to back-up records and is vulnerable to fire, flood, vandalism, theft and other ‘Acts of God’
No Lost Files
Lost documents can be expensive and time-consuming to replace. Within a DMS, imaged documents remain centrally stored when being viewed, so none are lost or misplaced. New documents are less likely to be incorrectly filed and even if incorrectly stored can be quickly and easily found and moved via the full-text searching mechanisms
Keeping archival versions of documents in a document management system helps protect paper documents, that still have to be retained, from over-handling and keeps electronic documents in a non-proprietary and native format, such as Microsoft Word or Excel
Improved Regulatory Compliance
The risk of non conformance leading to fines, a withdrawn licence to operate, or in certain circumstances custodial sentences when an audit takes place is reduced and in most cases removed. A combination of security control, audit trails, archiving and disaster recover ensure that an organisation is able to authenticate the validity of information stored and demonstrate compliance with regulations and requirements.
Improved Cash Flow
The increased productivity of processing document-based processes such as invoices, debt collection and other “cash critical” business documents, ensures that the flow of cash can be controlled centrally and all documentation required to make cash flow decisions can be accessed immediately.
So what do we recommend
Once again as you will see from other sections of our site we do not recommend an ‘off the shelf’ package but nor do we think that you should develop your own system from scratch. Putting the cost aside for one moment the time that would take is prohibitive, We would recommend the installation of a product that started its life as a true Open Source Community project but has subsequently become a true enterprise solution deployed by many household names called Alfresco. The benefit of this system is that it allows us, and you with some training, to adapt its many features to suit your needs and work in your environment.
Its features include:
Take Control of Critical Content
At the core of Alfresco One is an open source content platform that scales to meet your business needs. Unrivalled support for open standards allows users to choose how to access their content — via the web, desktop, or email — while the server enforces access controls and security.
- Full access control to ensure the security and integrity of important business content
- Powerful search to easily locate the right content
- Timely access to the correct version of business content anytime, from anywhere
Collaboration for the Extended Enterprise
Alfresco One gives users the tools they need to collaborate internally and externally with colleagues, business partners, prospects, customers, consultants and external agencies — with complete control and security.
- Dedicated project areas to allow teams to share and collaborate efficiently
- Powerful collaboration tools include project wiki’s, forums, links, blogs and lists
- Synchronization to the cloud to support collaboration with the extended enterprise
Rich Media Support
Move beyond Simple Document Management
Users need to manage any corporate information regardless of format or application. Alfresco One allows them to store and manage any multimedia file (photograph, video, audio file) in one common content database.
- Dedicated views to handle a range of rich media file formats
- Automatic extraction and indexing of key metadata to enable easy search
- Ability to view and comment online regardless of the file format
Business Process Management
Drive Business Efficiency
Key business processes, such as handling an insurance claim, approving a contract or processing invoices for payment, require that documents be moved through the organization as efficiently as possible. Alfresco One uses Activiti, a highly configurable Java-based BPM engine, allowing companies to implement important business processes.
- Integrated workflow/business process engine drives key business processes
- Easy-to-configure rules automatically initiate and control business processes
- Hybrid workflow allows process synchronization out to business partners in the cloud
Single Copy, Always in Sync
Content needs to be created, updated and shared inside and outside the organization. Alfresco One keeps content always in sync. Users update once and changes are replicated to multiple locations.
- Synchronize to a secure network in the cloud to share and collaborate with people outside the organization
- Mobile synchronization allows users to keep content up to date on tablets and smartphones while away from the office
- Social publishing enables content to be posted to social media sites (e.g. Twitter, Facebook or Youtube) for external sharing
Control and Compliance
Legislation, industry regulations and compliance requirements mean organizations need securely managed content throughout a document’s lifecycle. But traditional RM solutions have focused on features and not on end user adoption. The Alfresco Records Management solution is simple to use, helping drive adoption and compliance.
- In-place records allow users to declare records from anywhere in Alfresco
- Automation allows content to be declared and filed based on corporate business rules
- Dynamic file plans remove the burden of managing how and where records are filed
Bring Documents and Processes Together
Organizations with high-volume, content-centric business processes, such as claims processing, contract negotiation, invoice management and HR processing, require a tailored work environment that allows people to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Alfresco One’s Workdesk provides a focused user experience for processing documents and cases quickly and efficiently.
- Business role-based approach allows users to focus on exactly what they need to accomplish
- Configuration-driven for a shorter time to deployment
- Tight integration with MS Office allows people to get content into Alfresco easily
- Available solution templates, such as Contract Management, provide a quick start
Access Alfresco from Email Clients
Organizations use Microsoft Outlook as a productivity tool, and users spend much of their working days sending and responding to emails. Alfresco Outlook Integration provides a seamless connection between Microsoft Outlook and the Alfresco document library.
- Easily upload emails and attachments to the Alfresco document library
- Search for files managed by Alfresco from within Microsoft Outlook
- Quickly send documents as attachments or links to other users
Please request further details by clicking here. Clients wishing to have data transferred from different applications should ask for a quote.