Document management is by all accounts a revolution hitting the modern workplace. Piles of paperwork and thousands of pounds lost from human error could soon become a thing of the past. By way of explanation, a document management system is an IT system or set of computer programs used to track and store electronic documents and/or images of paper documents. This allows accounts departments to get on with document processing and invoice processing in a much more effective way than ever before.
A document management system is often also capable of keeping track of the different versions of documents created by various users, which is termed history tracking. The term has some overlap with the concepts of content management systems. It is often seen as a component of enterprise content management systems, and is related to digital asset management, document imaging, workflow systems and records management systems.
The progression towards this type of system began in the 1980s, when various vendors began working on systems to manage paper-based documents. For many businesses, the sheer number of paper documents that were piling up was becoming something of an issue. The new systems dealt with paper documents, which included not only printed and published documents, but also photographs and prints. Later on, developers began to create another type of system which could manage electronic documents. This meant that all documents or files created on computers and stored on local file systems could be controlled electronically. The older electronic management systems managed either proprietary type files, or a limited number of file formats. Many of these systems became known as document imaging systems, because they were effective at the capture, storage, indexing and retrieval of image file formats. The systems enabled an organization to capture faxes and forms, to save copies of the documents as images, and to store the image files in a repository for security and immediate retrieval.
The creation of complex and effective document management systems has made a significant difference in improving processes in many modern offices. The sheer convenience of automating document processing systems leaves one wondering why it did not become the norm years ago. For anybody whose job involves invoice processing, this certainly seems to be something worth sitting up and taking notice of. The only problem may be for filing cabinet manufacturers, as storing piles of paper documents is becoming increasingly unnecessary. Perhaps they will need to think about diversifying and creating products to support electronic products.
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