Document Management Systems are vital for modern businesses. A cloud-based DMS can help streamline this storing and processing of documents and makes effective collaboration possible amongst employees.
While there are plenty of integrated document solutions out there, SharePoint can also be useful when it comes to Document Management. As most businesses already use SharePoint, this can allow you to expand the functionality of your existing business systems.
In this blog, we’ll explore some of the most desirable aspects of a DMS, while also outlining a few key benefits of using SharePoint for Document Management.
Key Functionality of a DMS
Firstly, what should a functional DMS provide? Over the years, we’ve discovered that there are a few key points which most businesses desire from their DMS:
- It needs to provide a satisfactory ROI, without excessive and inflated license costs.
- Compatibility with other business systems and the ability to route documents through automated workflows (for approval, review, publication, etc).
- Meet corporate compliance and legal requirements.
- Different locations to store documents depending on their lifecycle or purpose.
- Version control & live editing capabilities.
- Customising access based on job roles and departments.
- Mobile access and multi-device compatibility.
- Security is key, especially when it comes to role-based access and audits.
- Metadata should be included for each document so that users can quickly search for files and its content.
Now that we’ve assessed the key requirements of a DMS, we’ll outline five of the most important benefits of using SharePoint as a DMS.
The most obvious benefit of using SharePoint for Document Management is its integration with Microsoft Office. It works with Office 365 applications, which nearly all businesses already have some form of experience with. It can feel a lot more comfortable bolting on additional functionality, rather than having to shell out a few thousand pounds on a yearly license fee for something you may not necessarily need.
Furthermore, it has a traditional interface that you are probably already familiar with, which makes the workflow easier than many custom-made applications.
Initially, it may not be as comprehensive as you need it to be, but because it is so widely used, it can accommodate new functionality whenever required. Plus, Betasoft offers training that ensures that your staff knows how to get the most out of your SharePoint systems.
- OCR & Capture Capabilities
Optical character recognition (OCR) has the potential to radically alter the way documents are processed, stored, and routed throughout your organisation. It allows you to capture information and data from physical documents, removing the need for excessive filing cabinets or manual data entry. As a SharePoint DMS can accommodate a variety of different file formats, this can also allow you to filter information and data, without being restricted by the format of these documents.
Better yet, this data and information can be routed through your business using customisable workflows, which can also be created in SharePoint. Approval workflows, for example, can allow you to process and approve certain documents before they are published.
- SharePoint Workflows
This brings us to our next point: the importance of SharePoint workflows. A DMS should never just be a virtual warehouse for storing business information. It needs to do something. It shouldn’t be an end in itself, but rather, a vehicle for improving efficiency and productivity. No other feature helps more with this than workflows.
Whether it is signatures for final policies or feedback for collaborative projects, a workflow allows you to route information and data throughout your organisation. SharePoint workflows can be customised based on your business needs and can be as complicated or singular as you need them to be. Workflows are therefore also scalable, as you can edit and insert new stages or phases or add new users if required, which introduces an element of futureproofing to your DMS.
SharePoint offers five pre-programmed workflow templates, so this removes the need for excessive development work.
- Version Control
Modern businesses need to be able to store and access older versions of documents, especially when it comes to potential audits or future legal disputes. This means you can always review and compare previous iterations of your document, policy, or contract. As a result, this desirable feature has therefore also become a key element of our regulatory compliance systems, all of which have been fully developed in Office 365.
- Customisation & Personalisation
A custom-made system may seem like it offers you all the customisation your organisation needs, but it is a phrase often used to describe a fixed system. While the word custom often implies that customisation is inherent to the system, it is usually not a defining feature. As a result, businesses often complain that these fixed systems inhibit future personalisation efforts. While this is sometimes considered an afterthought, it is becoming increasingly relevant in a world of strong corporate identities.
SharePoint, however, is highly customisable, and even allows you to create unique appearances through the branding functionality. This allows you to replace SharePoint’s main design features, which helps you create a uniform and recognizable experience for your users, ranging from customisable logos, colours, page layouts, and styles.