Document management goes far beyond mere document processing. It encompasses the creation, reception, organization, storage, preservation, access and deletion of documentation throughout an organization.
When designing and implementing a document management system, it must be based on the premise that no two entities are the same. Therefore, there is no generic application model, but rather an organization will be provided with one type of document management system or another, depending on its characteristics, procedures, available technology and the budget approved for that purpose.
Furthermore, the process of digitization and digital transformation, to which organizations must adapt to have a chance at survival in today’s market, has resulted in document management advancing in leaps and bounds, to such an extent that an ever-increasing number of entities are implementing intelligent document management.
The excessive use of paper, work duplication and wasting a lot of time locating documents are some of the symptoms that highlight the need for an entity to implement a document management system . If your company is in this situation, you needn’t worry. Here’s everything you need to know about document management, its benefits, and how it can help you increase efficiency and effectiveness in your organization.
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DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT: AN APPROACH TO THE ISO 15489 STANDARD
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standardization bodies, whose main mission is to design standards of international scope.
In 2001, this entity published the ISO 15489 standard, entitled Information and documentation – Records management, divided into 2 parts:
- ISO 15489-1: General
- ISO 15489-2: Guidelines (Technical Report)
The purpose of this standard is to establish a basis on how entities should carry out their document management processes, taking into account the different types of existing formats and support.
Knowledge and application of this ISO standard is essential for all institutions, since it guarantees appropriate document management, protection and recovery.
DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT IMPLEMENTATION PHASES
The design and implementation of a document management system successfully requires the application of a methodology that is divided into the following phases:
Phase 1: Analysis
This section is divided into several subphases, which are:
- Preliminary investigation: Collection of information to identify and document the organization’s mission and vision, its internal structure, legal, economic and political environment. The deficiencies related to document managementwill also be analyzed.
- Analysis of corporate activities: Identify, classify, rank and document the flow of processes, operations and activities that occur within the organization.
- Identification of requirements: Identify the needs or requirements that may arise, when developing an activity within the organization that entails documentation.
- Evaluation of existing systems: If the organization has document management systems, they will be identified and analyzed to subsequently measure the degree of compliance with the requirements.
- Identification of strategies: The adoption of policies, regulations, procedures and good practices are some of the strategies that need to be identified to achieve adequate compliance with the requirements identified above.
Phase 2: Design
Designing a document management system must be aimed at facilitating business processes within the organization. To do this, all the aspects analyzed in the previous phase will be taken into account, as well as the types of storage and protection, together with the appropriate handling procedures and storage systems.
In the event of detecting an anomaly during the execution of this phase, the process will be redesigned to incorporate it back into the system.
Phase 3: Implementation and review
Implementation of the document management system is carried out systematically, always with prior planning and applying an appropriate methodology. The main objective is to integrate an effective and efficient document managementsystem into the organization’s work procedures.
Once it has been implemented, its operation will be reviewed and evaluated. For this, information about the level of performance will be collected from multiple channels: interviews with managers and employees, random quality checks, etc.
In addition, and as a complementary part to this procedure, the corrective measures implemented will be supervised and a continuous supervision regime will be established, accompanied by periodic evaluations.
TYPES OF DOCUMENTATION
The management of company data and documentation must always be aimed at satisfying the needs of the people who are going to use it, be it a worker, a customer or a supplier.
Taking into account its origin, company data can be classified as three different types:
- Environmental: Refers to the sources of information used by the organization to gather external information. Aporta información externa. Example: Documentation Center.
- Internal: It is the operational documentation using internal information. Aporta información interna. Examples: invoices, contracts, etc.
- Corporate: It is the information that the entity communicates outside the company. Example: website, press releases, success stories, etc.
In addition, any type of document that is generated within an organization and that is capable of being archived, must meet a series of characteristics such as:
- Authenticity: The document must prove that it is what it claims to be, that it has been created or sent at the time indicated and by the person who claims to have created or sent it.
- Reliability: A document is reliable when its content can be valued as a complete and accurate representation of the activities, operations and / or events of which it testifies and, also, which can be used on subsequent occasions.
- Integrity: The document must be complete and unalterable.
- Availability: This concept refers to the fact that any document that has been subjected to a document management process is one that can be located, recovered, presented and interpreted.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Document management systems must serve as support for all documents that can be archived within an organization and, in addition, meet a series of requirements:
- Reliability: Any document management system must function in a continuous and regular way, based on previously established and reliable procedures.
- Integrity: Measures must be implemented to guarantee accessibility control, user identification, authorized destruction and security.
- Compliance: Must comply with all requirements derived from the activities intrinsic to the organization, its regulatory environment and the expectations of society. La conformidad del sistema de gestión documental con todos estos requisitos deberá analizarse de forma periódica.
- Completeness: Must carefully administer the documents from the different corporate activities.
- Systematic nature: Must be based on documented policies for assigning responsibilities and formalized methodologies for its effective and efficient management.
ADVANTAGES OF IMPLEMENTING A DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Documents contain information that is an important asset for organizations. For this reason, the adoption of a document management system is essential when it comes to guaranteeing the protection and preservation of documents, as a verification of the actions carried out by the different entities.
The benefits include:
- Reduces operating and maintenance costs.
- Improves document access and retrieval.
- Streamlines internal processes, resulting in improved productivity.
- Guarantees the preservation of documents over time.
- Minimizes actions related to the handling, storage and retrieval of paper documentation.
- Allows optimal use of resources and physical space.
- Improves customer satisfaction, as it streamlines information flows.
- Contributes to the establishment of internal policies and standards.
- Supports strategic decision making.
- Supports the reuse and sharing of the information obtained.
- Reduces the costs associated with the process of creating, storing and preserving documents.
- Supports sustainable development policies including the reduction of paper consumption.
- Empowers transparency, which is especially important for Public Administration, since it guarantees the incorporation of transparency obligations foreseen by the current legislation regarding document life cycles, allowing the effective access to information by the public.
- Guarantees the continuity of the entity, in case of disaster.
- Ensures compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements.
- Provides protection and support against litigation, including risk management
- Contributes to the maintenance of a corporate memory.
- It supports current and future research and development activities.
However, all these advantages are just a small sample of the potential that a document managementsystem has to offer. The possibility of combiningdocument managementwith new technological trends, and a process engine that supports it, empowers the provision of documents with extra capabilities and unprecedented dynamism . A phenomenon known as intelligent document managementthat we will explore in the next section.
INTELLIGENT DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT
The document management Intelligent or electronic document management consists of the application of new technologies in this field, i.e., it empowers a more dynamic and comprehensive system with which to solve all the needs that may arise, throughout the document life cycle. Thus, it is possible to improve knowledge share and accessibility for all individuals that are part of an organization and to minimize the time spent searching for documents. All this, compared to the traditional model that reduces document management to mere physical-static storage.
Therefore, the application of new technologies with document management,such as a process flow engine, enables not only the basic functions of search, query, ordering and grouping, but also provides additional capabilities to documents , such as the execution of automatic actions, such as: monitoring who reviews the files, how they are approved (sequentially or in parallel), how they are stored, when they are modified and by whom, what are the access roles of the users, automatic creation of backup copies, among many others.
In short, intelligent document management uses the combination of certain technologies and procedures to enrich traditional document management systems with additional intelligence.
Thus, intelligent document management stands as a new instrument that empowers organizations, not only by managing valuable information, but also by its countless applications in decision-making processes and by guaranteeing compliance with the regulations on security and Data Protection (in the case of the EU, we refer to the General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR]). [RGPD]).