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What is Indexing in a DMS and how does it help in better archival & faster retrieval?

What is Indexing in a DMS and how does it help in better archival & faster retrieval?

Stow it right – and make sure you tag it correctly to retrieve it easily when you need it. That, in short, is the essence of document Indexing.

Document (or data) Indexing is a staple feature of any self-respecting Document Management System, or DMS. An ‘intelligent’ DMS leverages ‘meta-data field’ and/or OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology to scan the information contained in a document and capture its essential traits. This ‘trait’ is then mapped to a pre-defined vocabulary-set to sort or archive the document into a suitable category.

 

 

First, Indexing saves time & effort by making document archival convenient and logical.

A smart DMS is Indexed logically. Which means that if you work with ‘text intensive documents’, a feature called Full-Text-Indexing will enable you to locate them conveniently by letting you search for them via textual phrases and portions. Similarly, transactional documents (like cash memos) are easily searchable because figures and number are used as the ‘search parameter’.

 

Then, Indexing aids productivity by making document retrieval easy & fast, too.

In document Indexing, the category against which a document is slotted (or ‘tagged’) depends on (A) the intrinsic nature of the document – i.e., whether it is a contract, an invoice, a purchase order or a technical record, etc), (B) ‘Intrinsic features’ of the document, such as its name, date of creation, name of creator, name of the project or department to which it belongs, etc, (C) special requirements of the organization – whence a contract may be categorized as a ‘technical’ record, for instance, or, indeed, a combination of (A), (B) and (C). So no matter how you are searching for content, a sophisticated Indexing system has all conceivable approaches covered, and you are bound to find your doc in no more than a few clicks.

A great DMS Indexing system lies at the heart of a workplace that’s low (nil, even) on paper, and high on performance. It’s worth the time, effort and cost to get one in place asap.

 

 

DMS Audit Trail and User Rights: The compliance engine for a business

A document halts along several stops before it sees the light of day – and even after it does reach its intended final destination it has a defined life till which time it shall be retained. A document Audit Trail, as the name implies, is a formal, systematic and archived record or validation of the path followed by any document (and the ‘actions’ performed upon it) along its lifecycle journey. And it all begins with the ‘user’.

 

Users – ie, all workers of the organization or members of a particular project – are assigned rights to access and engage with the various documents in it. Depending on the sensitivity or significance of a particular document, different users can be assigned different levels of access rights, or denied the same via selective restrictions. In a large organisation this set-up may get unwieldy, so to better manage it access rights are delegated, with every team assigned a User Administrator to manage the access rights limited to their teams, making things more convenient and fast.

‘User Rights’ and ‘Delegation’ make ‘Audit Trails’ a necessary ‘Fall-back’ recourse to ensure the integrity and security of the organization’s critical documents.

A typical DMS Audit Trail covers the following ‘actions’ that may have been performed upon the company’s documents by one or more ‘user’ – creation (of the document), viewing, modification, copying, deletion, searching, sharing, inviting other users, taking ownership of the content, starting a fresh ancillary theme or a new topic, and so on. A DMS Audit Trail sheds light on the ways in which people (who have shared access to a particular document) have interacted with it – and structurally comprises three elements: Login ID, a synopsis of system actions, and a time stamp.

For organisations that use a DMS fairly regularly (if not on a daily basis) to organise, share and store its files and documents, an Audit Trail becomes indispensable to the integrity of the system and the efficiency of its workflows.

For one thing, it allows you to keep a tab on the identity of team members who have been accessing the files and documents in the system.

Then, it can act as a ‘lifeline’ in cases where a change in the document needs to be un-done. Being a chronological record of document activities, all one has to do then, is refer to the version before the change.

A sophisticated (‘technologically advanced’) DMS usually also sports value-added features like built-in Trail or Audit functionality, notification or update functionality (when an unauthorized person uses or accesses a document), and Trail log protection (this ensures that a Document Audit Trail, once generated, cannot be deleted).

 

Why is document versioning important in a DMS?

Change is the only constant, they say.

Nothing exemplifies this more than the series of drafts and versions (of, say, a document, database, file or record) that is inevitably created at work as a result of continuous feedback, revisions and amendments – especially where several members contribute to a single task. Document versioning refers to the way these different ‘dynamic’ avatars are managed and maintained in the run up towards the final piece that has to be approved by all stakeholders and parties involved.
There are several reasons why Document Versioning is vital to your organization’s DMS (Document Management System).
For one thing, it makes the potentially unwieldly activity of documentation breezy – automating and standardizing the method of recording changes across drafts and sub-drafts, facilitating review of action-history over time, and providing a systematic ‘life-cycle snapshot’ of the collaborative evolution of a document.
Document versioning also saves time, since access, creation, storage and retrieval of the many different versions becomes easy.
Another big upshot of proper document versioning are smoother work processes, as the former simplifies tracing of details and sequence of iterations, eases identification of the author or contributor (by filename, date and time), lends clarity of information and reduces errors.
A robust document versioning approach can significantly optimize cost too – by eliminating duplication, for instance.
Finally, if you are doing document versioning right, you will be taking quicker and more informed decisions, thereby adding a significant competitive edge to your business.

ON-PREMISE OR ON-DEMAND?

Decoding the pros & cons of Cloud DMS vs Onsite Deployment. 

When data went to the cloud, businesses around the world experienced a paradigm shift. Some years down the road, the debate between the relative merits and demerits of Cloud based DMS (Document Management System) and On-line deployment, however continues. It therefore makes sense to sit the two next to each other for a quick and dispassionate comparison.

Let’s go with the Cloud based (SaaS) DMS model first.

First off, by obviating the need for expensive, high-powered servers and complex, onsite IT architectures and regular upgrades & maintenance, the Cloud comes across as a distinctly cost intelligent solution for enterprises of all sizes. Secondly, with its turnkey deployment (no softwares, firewalls or backups to install or configure), the Cloud is as hassle-free as it is hands-free. Additionally, reduced IT dependencies mean you can now ‘redirect’ your valuable staff for other tasks. Thirdly, you never have to worry about going obsolete on Cloud, since a SaaS subscription usually comes with an ‘automatic upgrade’ clause. Not only that, it generally ensures compliance parameters from most angles. Fourthly, instant deploy-ability of the Cloud ensures that you are ‘always on’ – without any gaps or lags. Fifth, the Cloud lets you taste true freedom: After all, all you need to turn your document management ubiquitous, is broadband! Sixthly, with multi-location based security servers, comprehensively virus response and instant ‘intrusion/mal-function’ alerts, Cloud DMS offers commendable safety features these days. Finally, with advanced server, access, storage, sharing (especially for large files, which otherwise tend to guzzle mailbox space), flexibility and user friendly capabilities – Cloud DMS emerges as a smart, scalable and cost-effective option for business across industries.

On the flip side, the Cloud requires uninterrupted internet connectivity and can lead to data latency (especially from remote locations) Evaluating specific offerings to align with Security Policy deployed is a must.

Let’s take a look at On-site DMS now.

Typically, On-premise solutions come with a one-time license fee, and are therefore calculated under Capital Expenditure or CAPEX (The Cloud, with its monthly subscription model, is typically OPEX). This also means that at some point in the future, whether due to obsolescence or other reasons, you will have to replace or upgrade your On-Site DMS. On-Site Deployments, as the term suggests, bring the system within the four walls of your organization, so you can see and touch them. This also means you are directly responsible for their upkeep and maintenance, such as the electricity bills and physical security of the Hosts (assuming you prefer to virtualize the Servers – something easily doable). It’s good to mention at this point that Low Latency Rates are a distinct advantage with On-Site Systems. Being your own ‘property’, you can choose to use the On-site DMS ‘your way’. After all, nobody knows your business better than you – and by extension, your Onsite DMS. This hypothetically makes it 100% customizable and flexible at a cost though, and you can get it to ‘feature every option’ you will need if you choose to go for bespoke development. Onsite Deployment also ensures that upgrades and compliances can be done anytime you want at a cost – as and when necessary. Finally, since an On Premise DMS is within your own network, deploying the security policy becomes a routine task. Indeed, there are organizations and groups that prize the robust Virtual Private Networks and strong remote access (with encrypted channels) of their On-Site so much, they won’t ‘exchange the experience’ for anything else.

The downside? On-site can be expensive, does not have the flexibility to resize as per current needs at any time, will demand greater involvement and a 24X7 trained team.

So which way do you turn? Map the features and pitfalls of each to your own specific situation, and you’ll come up with the right answer.

Paper vs Digital Document : which is more secure?

Paper vs Digital Document : which is more secure? 

Print it, or scan it? Photocopy them or just share the link? If you’ve been toggling between that rock and the hard place lately, you aren’t alone. As the debate between digital and paper hits high C, here’s a hands-on lowdown of which is the safer way to store, access and share information. Especially the kind you don’t want to fall in the wrong hands.

Let’s go with what makes digital safe, first. For one thing, it does away with human intervention (and, by extension, human error), such as forgetting to put the papers in your briefcase, or losing it during commute. Secondly, ‘ability to search & track’ makes it easy to figure out the whereabouts of your digital doc in case it gets ‘lost’ (bonus: The learnings come in handy to strengthen the security protocols). Indeed, digital documents also lend themselves easily to Audit trails. Thirdly, a plethora of storage options means that you can create back-ups for your important digital files easily. Then, digital docs are insulated from natural and man-made hazards like tampering, pilferage, fire, etc.. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, there is more than one way to secure a digital document: Encrypt it, shield it with a password, cocoon it in layers of server protection, handpick people who get access to it or stow it away behind biometric (read retina codes and fingerprints) bars.

How, then, does it all stack up against good old paper? Well, in this overwhelmingly ‘electronic’ day and age, it’s perhaps a source of comfort for some of us that the only device you need to ‘access & retrieve’ information from your paper doc is ‘your eyes’. Paper docs are not compromised by malware and scams, are available in a ‘format’ that will never go obsolete, and cannot be altered without your knowledge by a coding geek sitting miles away.

That said, when juxtaposed against its digital counterpart, paper remains more fragile, ‘tamper-able’ and susceptible to getting lost ‘without a trace’. When you add the breakneck speed of innovation that is fast ironing out the deficiencies digital documents currently carry – be it in areas like disaster recovery, hacker protocols or cloud storage – you realize why the medium is quietly, yet surely, stealing a march over paper. With its fast-evolving security features – coupled with ease of access and flexibility to share – digital seems set to lead the way for a more productive, safe and sustainable tomorrow.

Be it at work or play.

How Adoption of Cloud DMS Reduces Business Cost

Kevin Kruse of “15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management” says that successful people consider time as the most valuable thing in their life. Thus, despite knowing that time indeed is money, businesses today spend it carelessly in managing procedures and processes the conventional way. Moreover, the costs of these procedures and processes are never quantified and are considered necessary, exacerbating the problem further. We are referring to how organizations, even today, use hard copies of documents to manage numerous processes in their organizations.

One cannot argue that the benefits of Document Management System (DMS) or Enterprise Content Management transcend beyond monetary benefits. The biggest benefit, of course, is you save precious working hours within your organization that can be utilized in some other way. We would still like to elaborate how you can derive tangible benefits by adopting DMS in our organization.

 


No More Storage Space Requirements

Papers need to be stored in box files and file cabinets. These things cost. Also, valuable space that can be used for other productive purposes gets blocked. With cloud based DMS, you effectively eliminate costs.

 

 


Printing and Copying

Once you switch to DMS, costs associated with printing come down significantly. Collaborative work can be done in a digital environment, apart from effectively reducing use of electricity, paper, toner/cartridge costs, your organization significantly reduces its carbon footprint. The result, an efficient and profitable organization that is also environmentally friendly.

 

 


Easy Distribution

Inter-office distribution of documents becomes easier with DMS. The original copy is safe within the digital vaults. And if you need to handover receipts to customers and maintain its copy within office, DMS makes the entire process super easy.

 

 


Streamlined Processes

A completely paperless office means all your records are stored digitally in cloud. You can access any document within few clicks. Imagine how faster you can receive payments, clear payrolls, hire people, generate invoices and maintain accounts. Streamlined processes also mean that people handling these processes will be more productive.

 

 


Disaster Proof

You don’t have to worry about papers records getting destroyed or maintaining their security. All the records are maintained at multiple off-shore locations in a secure environment.

 

 


As stated earlier, with DMS, you save time which is limited and irrevocable commodity as compared to money.

 

 

 


Why Is A DMS The Ideal Platform For Seamless Collaboration On Documents Between Geographically Spread Workgroups?

Businesses are increasingly moving towards gig economy wherein the teams usually are geographically spread. In India, many large and small IT organizations allow its employees to work from home for specific number of days in a month. Of course, the benefits of remote or telecommuting employees are plenty, concerns like the security of data, productivity, and employee monitoring are clear and present. Most companies thus allow its employees to work only on company issued laptops with security cards. Document Management System (DMS) can effectively tackle these issues as follows

 


Easy Processes

Getting approvals by physically signing the documents is so passé. A DMS will allow stakeholders to seek/give approvals by signing the documents digitally. The signature is encrypted and offers the same level of security as banks. Moreover, the documents can be stored or retrieved in a seamless manner. This can be particularly helpful for procurement, sales and HR department of an organization.

 


Secure File Sharing

Work between teams that are geographically spread usually is mostly sharing files and communicating. A modern DMS enables both of these functions in a secure environment with 256-bit encryption. Files of any format can be shared with ease.

 

 


Authorizations

Collaborating using email or file sharing services has one serious flaw – you cannot prevent unauthorized access to sensitive documents. Administrator of the team that uses DMS can assign specific roles to each member and set authorization levels for accessing the documents. Thus, even if a set of documents ends up with a non-intended person, unless he is authorized to access them, the safety of information is ensured.

 


Compliance

Regulated industries like BFSI and healthcare have to operate and adhere to rules set forth by the respective ombudsman. Modern DMS ensure that compliance takes place at every level of work performed.

 

 


Auto Backup and Sync

When remote teams collaborate, it is critically important to ensure that automatic backups are frequently done to prevent data loss. A DMS ensure this occurs in the background without affecting the work.

 

 


Implementing cloud-based DMS requires no special equipment nor any infrastructure. Access to the system is browser based or through light-weight apps. Apart from apparent monetary benefits, DMS ensures that your remote teams are productive, compliant and work in a secure environment, a seamless way of working with geographically spread teams.

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