The paperless office is a dream of business but not a reality. The resources section of this web site is rich with information that supports the journey to the paperless office.
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General Concepts of Document Management Software
Electronic Document Capture
There are two ways in which documents are added to the system. Typically paper based documents can be quickly scanned and imported into the system in an inexpensive and easy manner. Users working with files that are already in electronic format will also add documents directly. The volume of documents captured depends on the working environment and can range from a handful of documents to thousands per day in high capture environments.
The software provides long-term, secure and reliable storage for documents. The software must accommodate changes to: documents as they proceed through their lifecycle; growing volumes of documents; and the ability to carefully limit access of documents to specific users or groups.
Document Workflow and Lifecycle Management
While stored in the document repository this includes managing the captured files as they go through their lifecycle. This is a particularly key component to any paperless office software system. Multiple revisions of a document must be tracked with users needing the ability to rollback to previous versions as required. Check in and checkout facilities are needed to ensure consistency of documents and prevent overwrites from occurring.
The document indexing system should create an environment in which a Library Administrator - responsible for organizing documents on behalf of the company - can quickly specify where documents are stored and can control the vocabulary used when categorizing the documents for later retrieval. The use of controlled vocabularies and managed thesauri - which are typically specific to the company that is using them - are essential for ensuring that files can be efficiently retrieved in the future.
The document search system should allow users to easily find the right documents by searching using indexing values based on a centrally controlled vocabulary of terms or free text searching against an index that has been created based on the text contained within the document. Searching via either means should make finding documents very easy and accurate with a limited number of zero or too many returns.
Document Access Control
A good document management system will allow for the tight access control for different types of documents stored, and the locations in the document repository in which users and groups can access. To prevent documents from being accessed by outsiders they should be encrypted to ensure all access occurs via the paperless office software interface.
Electronic Document Workflow
Electronic document management software typically includes a workflow model for certifying and electronically signing documents. Document workflows are usually created on an ad-hoc or with a template driven process. Workflow solutions can be implemented with autonomous clients which users mostly work with or as a background service that controls the information and document flow, without requiring a front end client.