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Understanding Content and Document Management

The information and links provided on these pages are provided for basic research on topics surrounding content and document management. For recent developments please take a look at our New/Blog page.

We are not a legal practice and are not offering any legal advice. Best practices often vary from business to business especially in the areas of regulatory compliance and information retention policy. We always recommend that you discuss questions you uncover here with your consul to determine the proper steps to protect yourself and your business.

Document, Content, Contact Management; It is all Information Management


Classical document management systems provided a way to secure and manage the lifecycle of paper documents in a business. Typewriters to create, copiers to create copies, file cabinets to store and waste paper baskets to get rid of it.

Amazingly in our digital society, many companies are still using these same methods. But with the flood of business communication media, paper, voice mail, email, electronic files, text messaging, and the ease of transferring this information, businesses are finding harder to secure and find vital information.

A common solution is creating separate “information silos” or “storage locations” for different types of information. Folders in My Documents, email folders, portable hard drives, banker boxes, offsite storage facilities, account systems, customer and other databases.

It’s all information we need to drive our business success. Modern ECM (Electronic Content Management) or document/content management systems are designed to capture, digitize, categorize and make all this information available to the intended viewer at the instance it’s needed. At the same time much of this information, usually the written and voice communications, is consolidated in to a single storage location or repository where it can be easily protected for Business Continuation plans and regulatory compliance.

The following provides an overview of common components, terms and considerations when creating a solid foundation for your management system.

Front End Capture Applications
A simple way to capture or import documents and file is to drag them into folders. A quick and easy method, but far from useful for large collections. Indexing these files makes retrieval much more efficient. Depending on the volume of files, and the amount for data needed to properly index them, this can become a labor intensive task.

Front-end capture application integrate with the document management solution to automate the process of categorizing incoming files and capturing the data in them to be applied as indexing information as the file are imported in to the managed repository. Most scanning related capture utilities also provide advanced imaging controls and bates stamping features. The same data captured for indexing purposes may also be pushed out to other databases, such as accounting, to reduce even more manual data entry.

Storage and Retrieval
This can be as simple as naming a file and putting in a folder on a hard drive then remembering the name and folder, or searching the hard drive looking for matches. Document management systems get away from the concept of naming file and creating folders and subfolders. Instead a stored file is “tagged’ with primary pieces of information, called indexes or search terms, to describe the item. For example:

First Name
Last Name
Account Number
Date
ID Number

Indexes can be anything that helps to identify a document. Once the stored document is indexed, any combination of search term entered in to an index will return a list of files matching the criteria entered. The entire content of all the documents can also be indexed, allowing a user to enter examples of text they are looking for.

Now a person does not need to remember what the name of the document is or what folder or computer it might be in.

Collaboration Vs Control
There is a lot of opinions on group collaboration on project and have the abilities to give access to everyone. The Wikipedia website is an excellent example of what a collaborative effort can create. The input from many users has created a wonderful resource for research. .

For a business entity free and easy access to company information may not be the best policy.  A document management system needs to provide adequate controls in place to ensure sensitive information can not be accidently distributed to the wrong audience.

 

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