Document management, often referred to as Document Management Systems (DMS), is the use of a computer system and software to store, manage and track electronic documents and electronic images of paper based information captured through the use of a document scanner. Document management is how your organization stores, manages and tracks its electronic documents.
In order for paper documents to be useable by the document management system, they must be scanned in. For companies that need to carry out this process and who have numerous paper documents this may be time consuming and expensive
Metadata (data about data) is used to identify the document so that it can be retrieved later. It can include keywords, date, author, etc. The user is often asked to input this metadata or the system may extract it from the document. Optical character recognition may be used to identify text on scanned images
There are many different forms, and a good indexing system is crucial. The index function will use metadata.
The document management system's search function is one of its most important elements. Search functions can be more or less sophisticated, allowing for searches by elements of the document's metadata, or by searching the actual document for key words/phrases and using semantic analysis to determine relevance.
Storage and management of different versions of documents - useful for documents that require frequent updating. Allows authorized users to return to earlier versions.
Any IT system needs to be regulated and policed. Users require different levels of authorization, with certain more sensitive functions/documents being available only to selected users/administrators. Document management systems will also have backup systems in place in case of mishaps.