For many years, organizations have relied on the use of documents to maintain records of projects and communications.
For much of the 20th century, paper documents were put into filing cabinets for storage so they could be referenced, when needed. But, with advances in digital technology, companies now rely on their computer systems to store and transfer information.

So, you may question, “Great, we have all our files stored on our servers and laptops, why do we need a document management system?”

Great question!

Unlike traditional methods of digital document storage, a document management system (DMS) allows workers to store information in a centralized location and provides users with a multitude of functions including structuring, indexing, versioning, distribution, and synchronization. On top of all this, a DMS creates a layer of needed security between proprietary information and nefarious criminals attempting to gain access to information.

Many DMS solutions also provide document-centric workflow management functionality. This includes the ability to establish a disciplined routing and approval system where employees are given tasks to complete with deadlines, but more importantly are provided the digital files they need to do their job. Project managers and administrators can oversee, manage, and analyze these workflows to improve the speed of completion and reduce errors.

Here are the top 6 reasons you should be using a document management system:

1. Security

First, let’s talk about the basics.

Many people are unaware of the dangers that come with computerized files. Cyber-criminals are working around the clock to find creative ways to get access to your files.

Some of the most common cyber-attacks include:

Malware
Phishing
Man-in-the-middle (MITM)
SQL injection

In addition, non-encrypted files on local computers, in emails, or on tablets and smartphones can easily be copied either while at rest or in transit. Once copied, files can be used for many ugly outcomes, including corporate hostage-taking and competitors getting your product designs.

DMS solutions keep control of files in more secure locations than local computer drives or even network shares. Many allow users to manipulate files without ever downloading the file, such as for viewing, editing, printing, and providing links to files rather than sending the actual files. Keeping tight control of files is the first and most important security control.

This is why security is at the heart of high-quality document management systems.

2. Efficiency

It’s no surprise that document management software is designed with efficiency in mind. Having a quick way for workers to view and transfer their files, not only makes managing workflows easier for employees but also increases the speed in which projects are completed, giving companies a faster path to ROI.

Time to market (TTM) is everything nowadays, so if you can’t complete your projects “lightning fast,” the competition will surely leave you in the dust.

3. Better Backups

We’ve all been there. We’re in the middle of typing that important proposal and suddenly our computer crashes, deleting hours of mentally draining work, leaving us stressed and defeated.

A well-designed document management system offers a place for users to store backups, preventing any unwanted disasters from occurring, archiving files automatically based on time and retention policies.

4. Version Control

In the engineering world, documents undergo revisions and redrafting before they can be finalized. Often, changes to these documents can be subtle and are not immediately apparent.

Version control allows users to distinguish between different versions of a draft, while also giving workers the ability to approve or edit changes.

Advanced version control software gives employees a single source of truth across teams, making it easier for development teams to find the most current files and audit changes.

5. Supporting the Correct File Types

It’s important to note not all document management systems have the same functionality. If your company primarily relies on engineering content, you need to be able to support the correct file types (e.g. many engineering document management systems are designed to support CAD files for major 2D/3D CAD products such as AutoCAD, Inventor, MicroStation and SolidWorks, without the need for any third-party software).

More and more we see the use of video and audio files to help in the workflow completion and being able to attach and then view/hear these files while also viewing the underlying document or drawing makes processing less error-prone and can increase the speed of completion.

6. Access Control and Compliance

Lastly, compliance is certainly something you should think about.

Any organization dealing with the federal government, especially DoD prime contractors, must comply with government standards, particularly NIST SP 800-53.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards are recognized by IT security, compliance, and risk management professionals in varying industries as the standards for best practices.

Access Control is an important feature that any good document management system should have since it uses the core security principals of “least privilege” and “least functionality.”

To put it simply, users should only have access to the documents they need, and should not be able to manipulate information that doesn’t pertain to their work directly.

Conclusion

Document Management Systems are software designed to solve complex workflow and document management problems. DMS solutions can effectively help users improve efficiency, security, control, and file distribution, while also ensuring documents are backed-up and stored in compliance with federal regulations.

We hope this blog was helpful! If you would like to learn more about Cloud document management solutions, please click here.

For a limited time, eQuorum is offering a free 60-day trial of Engine-Box, a Cloud engineering document and workflow management system. Go to www.eQuorum.com\contact-us and fill out the contact form for more information.