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Document Management System

A Document Management System often referred as (DMS) and as the word states it is the method of Managing the documents in the physical file format or the electronic file format stored on various storage devises or servers. It comprises of content management in the form of documents for the organization or the personal use, which are easily accessible through the management technique.

In earlier times the value of a document cannot be ignored as in the Egyptian times and in Mayan time, the single piece of document with the authority seal specify the rules and declarations from the kings or the government. Hence the importance of document is better explained from ancient times till now.

As we live in modern times but the value and use of document is similar in nature, it’s just the growing businesses and increasing population have increased the burden of managing the documents for government and business as well, its happing due to the heavy increase in the quantity of documents.

What is a document?

A document is any content information which is well written down for a certain purpose and should be readable through naked eyes or electronic codes. It needs to communicate something from one end to another which is the receiver, and should able to make sense in some way for the receiver.

Content Management / Record Management

Organizing the random content in the organized way making it understood for the user of that content, who can extract the meaning of that content in the way it is meant to be, creating a such document requires few basic guidelines which includes a self explanatory title which can be understood by the user to make out if that document is for his use or not, secondly explaining subject or small summary about the progressing content and then finally the conclusion of the content which is referred as information.

Various techniques can be used for simplifying the content and making it meaningful information.

  • Bulleting the Points
  • Serial order of Points
  • Sub Points
  • Dividing in paragraphs
  • Highlighting the content
  • Change of Fonts
  • Change of color
  • Style of writing

What is document management software?

Document Management software is an electronic way to store and manage documents with the help of computer programs (Software), which increases the efficiency and ease of managing the documents and reduce paperwork. Although a DMS is never fully paperless and some documents need to be scanned before going into the software, the tracking of documents and retrieval and searching is a must have in a document management software.

Traditional Style of Document Management

In earlier times before the introduction of Document Management software’s, the documents are managed in piles of Hardcopy (Paper Documents) and stored in Racks and shelves with a rack numbers and compartment numbers. The larger organizations manage documents as per entity or nature of the document (Belongingness of the document)

  • Client
  • Company
  • Vendor
  • Project
  • Employee
  • Random

Complexity in Document Management

a. Understand the document type can be sometimes very difficult and the person managing the documents needs to understand the primary location where document needs to be stored and it belongs to which Entity.

b. The duplicity is a primary concern which leads to unnecessary consumption of resources.

c. The retrieval becomes very tedious for larger organization.

Modern Approach of Document Management

Types of Document

1. External Documents These are which are of the company but still not directly related to the company at a given time, such as government permissions which are applied but still pending with the government.

2. Internal Documents these are which are of company directly and in possession of the company, such as the registration document, Articles of association, Memorandum of association of the company.

3. Reference Documents These are which is not of company or just for one company, such as the norms for the university or traffic regulations and such documents which are required to perform duties and take actions.

4. External Converted to Internal These are documents pending with some agency or government as external and once approved it will become internal.

Modern Techniques of Managing Documents Electronically

1. Folder Styles (Tree Structure) This is very common and largely used approach as its style comes from the ancient period and now we perform the same at the local desktop, laptop machines. Typically and Windows folder menu which gives the ability to create a folder inside a folder and allow us to store files in those folders.


  • Anybody can manage the documents like this no training is required.
  • No electricity, computers or any electronic device are required.
  • No chance of Hacking or steeling of documents from a distance, as in the electronic document management scenario.
  • Easily accessible incase of less number of documents.
  • No breach of authority in accessing the documents as it will require the physical presence to the document vault.


  • Creation of Redundant information multiple times.
  • Dependency on single employee who is managing the folders as he only knows the correct folders.
  • Naming conventions and styles are different for each Individual.
  • Folders inside folders make the task difficult and confusing.

2. Emailing of Documents This method is not exactly document management, instead it can be better said document saving, using this method helps user to retrieve document easily and always available at cloud server which makes it a first choice of people to saving the documents. You also don’t need to do any extra work because most of them come in the form of emails and attachments which are stored automatically with search titles.


  • It is very easy to use and comes in the natural workflow behavior.
  • Does not require extra time for Data Entry or Management.
  • Does not have any extra cost.
  • No extra time is needed to manage it as a separate software
  • No special training is required to perform this operations.


  • It is not well organized.
  • It keeps multiple copies which makes it difficult to find.
  • Versioning of documents is not possible.
  • Notifications for alerts are not possible.
  • Sharing of documents and limited rights is not possible.

Types of Software’s and Applications

a. Installed: (On Premises Servers or Stand Alone Machines)These are installed at your machine or server for accessing the database and running of application.

b. Cloud: (SAAS Model) These are deployed at the company (Service provider) and you are provided with the application on the internet with the login credentials, through this you can access the application and the database is managed by the company itself.

c. Web Applications: These are similar to cloud in nature but application is installed on the local machine and the database is managed at the central server of the company or the client, this also works on Internet.

c. Mobile: Applications made especially for mobiles and can be installed for running it through mobile only; there are various platforms on which mobile applications can be built upon like Android, Kitkat, Apple and many others.


  • Saves time
  • Saves paper and ink which is an additional cost to company
  • Increase flexibility and remove employee dependence
  • Ease of access (In case of Cloud, Web Application and Mobile)
  • Reduce redundancy and duplication
  • Permissions and access rights to employee can easily be managed
  • Flow of documents can be managed
  • Digital signature can be done on documents from far locations


  • It requires little bit extra effort to manage the documents initially.
  • On Cloud or Web Platform internet connectivity is must.
  • Certainly it incurs some cost, it’s not free.
  • Small training is required sometime to operate. Usually 2 or 3 Hours training is enough, if at all required.

Storage of Documents

The storage is done in two different ways Physical Storage and Electronic Storage

1. Physical Storage

a. Random Filing: This is kind of storage where you don’t manage documents in categories or as per their use, they all are kept in random physical file folders and whenever a single document is needed all files are been looked and the required document is pulled out. It is very tedious and time confusing; this approach is mostly used by people with very less number of documents so that it’s difficult to make a separate file folder for single document. Real Ex: If in business you only one telephone connection, 1 electricity connection and 1 water connection it is not likely you will make 3 separate files for it, you will manage all these in 1 file.

This random filling approach is also practiced sometime because of the laziness and lack of knowledge of documents management in organized way.

b. Organized Filling: In this kind of storage proper file Indexing is being performed, when we manage documents through file indexing we keep track of Rack No, Room No, Stacking Order and File Tagging. In this we make the Calendar Dates a first level of stacking filter, to easily locate documents in future.

Index Creation in a file: This is the important part in the file to locate a single document and in Index creation we give Title and Page Numbers to each document and stick it in front page of the file and in accordance to that we chose stick ribbons and give them same page numbers as of the title and each of the ribbon is pasted on the page, displaying the page number outside of the file.

Indexing With Ribbon

Example Of File Indexing With Ribbon

This will help the reader to directly jump to correct page numbers as mentioned in the Index of the file.

2. Electronic Storage

In this all the documents are stored in the form of electronic information which is saved on your computer, laptop, desktop or any other storage devices. In technical term all the information is stored in the form of [0 and 1] ie High electrical signal and low electrical signal in the memory of the computer which forms a cluster of binary bytes to store the information, here the information is stored and indexed in 2 different methods which are Sequential (LIFO and FIFO) and another in Random Access and storage.

a. Storage Media : Magnetic Tapes, Floppy Drives, Hard Drives (Hard Disc and Pen Drives) Shared Server or cloud space, Virtual Server or Dedicated Server

Movement of Document (Workflow of Documents)

1. Vertical Movement: In an organization when the document is are moved from lower hierarchy to higher hierarch or from higher hierarchy to lower hierarch for approvals, modifications or amendments. Ex. From Clerk to Accountant then to Chartered Accountant and then To CEO

2. Horizontal Movement:In this when a document is moved in similar hierarchy in a straight line. Ex: From Marketing Executive to Accounts Executive then to Operations Executive

3. Discrete Movement: In this movement when no straight line or horizontal movement of documents is done and its flowing in the discrete pattern with no hierarchical structure. Ex. From Clerk to CEO then to Accounts officer then to Operations Executive.


Most of the industries have their different standards for documentation as the nature of documents are different from industry to industry, although ISO (Indian Standard Organization manages certain standards for documents)

There are certain industries which need to follow certain standard from government mainly for the security of the people. It focuses on Chemical, Fertilizers, Pharmaceuticals, Food, and Agriculture industry as their primary concern.

Agency like OSHA for Chemical Health and Safety, FDA for Food and Drugs Manufacturer, HGMP for manufacturers, maintains very strict documentation across the industries.

Ex. SDS (Safety Data Sheet) It is a kind of document which all the companies needs to create while using the product or shipping the product, which are hazardous in nature. This document is prepared by the regulatory information provided by the OSHA on the basis of chemical composition present in a particular product. Examples of such products are Shoe Polish, Toilet Cleaner, Soaps, Paints and many more.