ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why Smart Businesses Use Document Management Systems

Updated on November 30, 2015

Are you using document management software in your business?

See results

It wasn’t so long ago that IT managers were dreaming of a paperless office, while the rest of us queued at the photocopier machine to make hard copies of the e-mails that we had just printed out. Then along came the first document management systems that promised us that the dream of the paperless office might actually come true, but they were so expensive and unwieldy to use that only the very large corporations could afford to make such an investment. Today, though, document management systems have finally come of age and there are now systems to suit all types of businesses and all sizes of budget.

If you manage a business that hasn’t yet entered the document management system age, you might be wondering what exactly it is that these systems do and what benefits they bring to an organisation. If that sounds like your organisation, read on, because here the reasons that smart businesses are using document management systems.

What exactly is a document management system?

In days gone by, employees would create their own documents and store them on their local PC so, a sales executive who had created the best proposal document the company had ever produced, was the only person who had access to that document. That meant that, should a protective customer telephone with a query about the proposal, and the sales executive was out of the office, no one could deal with that query quickly, without leafing through a hard copy, if they even knew where to find that hard copy. It also meant that none of the other sales executives on the team could use any of the content of that proposal in their own sales proposals. Even when efficient computer networking came along, each employee’s own documents were stored in each employee’s own directory on a file server and those directories were often password protected.

A document management system indexes all the information that an organisation has and, subject to security considerations, allows employees to share that valuable resource and to find it quickly and easily.

You may not be able to get to every employee out of the habit of photocopying and filing hard copies of their emails, and the completely paperless office may be a way off yet, but it’s a lot closer than it used be and there is now a very strong business case for all sized companies to be using document management systems.

What are the benefits of a document management system?

Document management systems come in various types and one of the best, modern types of software are web based, so they don’t even need a lengthy install on every single client PC in the organisation. They allow the effective management, linking indexing and sharing of types of documents through the business. So, in my earlier example of a sales prospect, our sales executive’s manager could easily locate, not only the sales proposal document, but also all letters that had been sent and received, and all emails that had been exchanged too. To illustrate the functionality of a modern document management system, here is an example of a scalable document management system that would suit small, medium and large sized businesses. Some of the main benefits that an organisation will gain from a document management system are as follows:

Employees can share information and collaborate on projects

With all the information situated in a central location and, subject to security settings, available to everyone, documents can easily be shared around the organisation and many employees can work together on a single project. Some document management systems also include a workflow element, which enable documents to be automatically routed to different people for things like approval and authorisation processes.

Forces employees to follow company standards

With a good document management system in place, you can have templates available that all employees must use for things like sales proposals, quotations, letters and any other form of written communication. This avoids the common problem of everyone developing their own personal styles and formats.

Reduces costs

Sharing documents digitally reduces the cost of printing, distribution, and storage of paperwork. Whether or not you can really dispose of all paper from your office will depend on local statutory and tax requirements, but at the least, you will be able to store much of paperwork off-site and so reduce the need for using costly office space as a storage facility.

Ensures proper document version control

Without all the various copies of a document flying around the organisation, there will be no more finding out that you have read the wrong version of a document either. If you install a good document management system, it will include version tracking and control and everyone will be looking at the same set of figures at the next management meeting!

Speeds up the decision making process

The main thing that slows the making of important business decisions is the lack of information. With a document management system in place, managers will have all the available information at their fingertips and they will be able to easily search for any information that they don’t have that they need to make a better informed decision.

Improves productivity

Workplace studies have found that employees can spend anything from 30% to 50% of their time searching for information or lost documents. A good document management system will include indexing and search facilities that make finding and retrieving documents easy and, electronic documents can’t get put back in the wrong drawer!

Improves document security

As any business manager will know, it’s not uncommon to find sensitive company information left on somebody’s desk, or filing cabinets left unlocked at night. With all the information available securely online, a document management system control access to documents and hard copies can be destroyed, or locked securely away.

Reduces the number of emails

Document management can also drastically the number of internal e-mails. Because all documents are stored in one, easily accessible place, there will be no need for all those emails asking for copies of documents.

Improves your green credentials

With the growing awareness of the impact that every business has on the environment, a document management system can help you make your contribution toward reducing waste and pollution. Fewer ink cartridges and the reams of paper that you will save will both cut down your orifice costs and improve your green credentials.

Improves the flow of documentation

If you have a document management system that has a built in workflow element, this will ensure that documents don’t get stuck in bottlenecks. If a document needs approval, for example, before it can move on to the next stage, a workflow based document management system can send alerts, or re-route a document, should it spend too long waiting for that approval

Ensures regulatory compliance

The security features of a good document management system will help to stop an organisation falling foul of data protection regulations and other industry specific compliance rules. It is far easier to implement and enforce internal procedures with a document management system than it is with pieces of paper.

Documents can be accessed remotely

Getting access to information when employees are working from home or on a business trip becomes a lot easier too. Most good document management systems provide a web client or other means of remote access, which enables to employees to securely access documents when they are out of the office.

Document management systems are for all types of organisations

Document management systems are no longer the ‘nice to have’ software and nor are they the sole preserve of large corporations. Scalable document management systems are now available to of types of business and they can bring real, quantifiable benefits to an organisation. Perhaps the paperless office isn’t so far away after all.



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)