All About Integrated Document Management | 2018
Perhaps the best way to explain Integrated Document Management or IDM is to review the various features of today’s document management practices. A total picture of a technology empowered modern document management system should then emerge.
Modern Data Capture Methods
When computers came into offices, documents were created through data entry from transaction documents such as paper invoices, through the use of application programs such as word processors for correspondence and reports, spreadsheet programs for computational statements and such. These procedures created digital documents that could be managed more efficiently using the computers.
Scanning and Optical Character Recognition software made it possible to transfer paper documents to the electronic document data base. This meant that users could now access even paper documents (or rather their copies) quickly instead of sending a request to the filing section and waiting for the document to arrive.
Several other options are available to capture data in today’s scenario. These include:
- Programming computer controlled machines to generate data online and transfer it to the DMS
- Entering data from the field using handheld devices or POS terminals and transmitting them to the central system
- Reading barcodes on paper documents, packages and even products to generate different kinds of information and transfer it to the system
- Scanning paper forms and transferring form data direct to concerned database fields
Modern Data Storage Methods
Originally, computer documents were stored on tapes or disks, including floppy disks. Then came disk systems with ever increasing storage capacities, and networks where data were stored in a central server, to be accessed by the workstations attached to the network.
Nowadays, data can be stored on the Web, and accessed from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. Documents generated anywhere can also be transferred quickly to this Web database (or content management system). The result was that global corporations with offices all over the world could now function almost like a local office.
Accommodating Documents of Different Kinds and in Different Formats
In addition to text documents, modern businesses work with documents that contain image, audio and video information. All these kinds of information has become an essential part of business content. It follows that an Integrated Document Management system must be able to work with all these kinds of documents in a seamless manner.
Each kind of document can also come in different formats, open standards or proprietary. IDM systems will have to cope with all the formats and generated an integrated flow of information.
What Do Integrated Document Management Systems Achieve?
Integrated document management systems seek to achieve two major objectives:
- Enhance the speed and quality of business processes through efficient workflows. All kinds of data are captured quickly into the system, and processed to generate meaningful information. Databases might be optimized for speedy transaction processing, or for querying and analysis as in the case of data warehouses
- Make knowledge management a reality. In addition to specific querying of all the data in the data warehouse, and reports generated by transaction processing systems, new techniques like data mining seeks to identify patterns that users might be quite unaware of (and might not be able to formulate relevant queries)