Organizations deal with huge amounts of information: processes, workflows, policies, contracts, customer data, you name it.

Without a proper system in place, this information can turn your business into chaos.

That’s why organizations must adopt a solid document management platform that helps them not only store their documents but also categorize them in a way that fits their overall strategic objectives.

We’ll cover everything you need to know about selecting and implementing the right system for you, starting with the basics.

What is online document management?

Document management is the strategic process of using software for storing, categorizing, prioritizing, and distributing your internal and external information to achieve a particular objective.

For example:

  • Training your team
  • Helping customers
  • Solving a business problem
  • Making better decisions
  • Increasing your efficiency in business processes

Document management isn’t new, but advanced document platforms and AI have revolutionized the way organizations approach this process.

For instance, let’s say that you’re a SaaS organization with 100,000 customers.

Let’s also imagine that one of those customers asks for a refund. How can you find that specific user profile to issue the refund to the right account?

You could search through 1,000s of documents in filing cabinets manually, but that’d take eons.

A document management platform could help you spot that information in just a couple of clicks, regardless of file types or if your team is searching on their mobile devices.

This is a simple example, of course, but it explains the problem of managing documents the traditional way and shows why adopting a document management system to streamline sharing and collaboration on files is a must for modern organizations.

What is a document management system?

Document Management Systems (DMS) are collaborative tools and systems used to receive, track, manage and store documents and reduce paper.

A DMS helps you store your information in the cloud and provides you with different features to align that information with your business objectives.

Visual representation of the different elements involved in document management

(Image Source)

Some of these features may include:

  • Document storage and retrieval
  • Editing and formatting
  • Data visualization
  • Advanced search
  • Digital file sharing
  • Document tracking
  • File management
  • Automated workflows
  • Mobile apps

We’ll cover some of these elements more deeply a bit later, but first, let’s answer a major question.

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What are the benefits of managing documents online?

From small businesses to large corporations, managing a wide range of documentation can be a costly and inefficient task, especially when it’s done solely on paper.

Most organizations have at least started to digitize their information, but their processes haven’t been adapted to this new way of managing documents.

The average employee spends over 2.5 hours a day searching for information that’s crucial for their jobs. This isn’t only time-consuming but unbelievably frustrating.

By adopting and implementing the right DMS, you’ll be able to solve this type of problem and keep information handy in real-time for everyone in your organization.

Other important benefits of adopting an online document management system include:

  • Greater efficiency: a DMS can help you find important documents faster.
  • Better standardization: if key members can access information when they need it, they’ll be better equipped to implement your processes appropriately.
  • Organization-wide transparency: keeping your organization’s documents handy for everyone can increase transparency.
  • Increased ability to solve problems: sharing your knowledge with employees will help them provide a better service to customers and solve problems more effectively.

5 essential features of online document management software

Now that you understand the basics of document management, the question becomes: how can you choose the right DMS for your business?

If you search for “Document management system” in Capterra, one of the largest software reviewing networks, you’ll find 10,000 results.

Capterra's search results for "Document management system"

So, instead of giving you a huge list of different platforms, let’s cover the essential features any great DMS must offer:

1. Cloud storage

To manage electronic documents, you need a place to store them and organize them digitally — one of the reasons cloud infrastructure services amounted to $130 billion last year.

To effectively move your document management online, it’s important to find a platform that offers powerful cloud storage features.

For example, with monday.com, we provide you with a template to manage your digital assets. You can store up to 1,000 GB, depending on your subscription.

monday.com's digital asset management template screenshot

This template is fully customizable, and you can adapt it to your needs with just a few clicks.

You can also invite all your team members to collaborate and share documents in a single place, which can help you get more digital document control and increase process adoption.

2. Activity logs

To improve your information governance and make sure only the right people can access your data, you need a way to visualize the history of your documents.

With monday.com’s Activity Log, for example, you can explore all the history you’ve had with teammates, clients, and stakeholders, as well as tracking any document changes along the way.

monday.com's Activity Log in action

Plus, you can also set permission levels so that only specific team members can access and edit certain information.

monday.com's permission levels in action

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3. Automations

Managing documents online can be difficult, as it involves several tasks and processes that may be repetitive.

By tapping into AI to streamline repetitive tasks, you’re able to save otherwise wasted time and repurpose it into more productive activities.

In fact, studies reveal that 3 out of 10 activities can be fully automated in 60% of all occupations.

Electronic document management is definitely one of those activities.

For instance, with monday.com, you’re able to automate well over 250,000 human actions, including:

  • Task creation: create new tasks automatically and assign them to the right team member with ease.
  • Repetitive processes: automate repetitive tasks and processes in just a couple of clicks.
  • Notifications: notify team members whenever a specific action is completed.
  • Tagging: tag team members, clients, and stakeholders based on specific trigger actions.
  • Reporting: automate reporting and keep everyone informed.
  • Custom: build custom automation recipes to streamline any type of task.

This gives you enough flexibility and infinite combinations to automate even the most complex of processes.

monday.com's automations center screenshot

For instance, you could build automation so that every time a team member creates a document, you send an email to the team leader.

On top of that, you could set another automation to assign a specific project to a team member every time a new task is created.

You could even automate your approval workflow to speed up your work and make sure every document meets your quality standards.

And these are just some of the things you can do with monday.com’s automation features.

To get a more complete picture of monday.com’s automation center, check out this quick video overview:

4. A centralized workspace

Document management is a collaborative practice.

Since the whole organization needs to be involved in the process, you need a platform that centralizes all your communication into a single place.

This way, any relevant stakeholder can be aware of crucial information and solve problems more efficiently.

This is one of the main reasons nearly 72% of business professionals plan to invest more into virtual document collaboration software.

With monday.com, you can bring your entire organization together and improve the way you collaborate.

monday.com's visual interface in action

You can also integrate over 40 of your favorite tools and apps and build a single source of truth for your team.

Besides, our platform is fully customizable and simple to use. You can drag and drop elements at will to design a solution that fits your exact needs.

This is especially important for non-developer teams who need a visual interface to complete their tasks.

5. Security

Moving your document management online involves some risks.

Since all your confidential information is stored in the cloud, competitors and hackers can access your documents more easily.

That’s why you need a platform that meets the strictest security standards and provides solid features to protect your information.

For instance, monday.com complies with some of the most rigorous security standards in the industry, including SO/IEC 27001:2013.

Our platform has been used to build airplanes and medical clinics, and over 100,000 organizations trust us to manage their work online.

With monday.com, you can have the peace of mind that all your information is secure and protected at all times.

Time to improve your document management processes

We live in the age of information where your data represents your most valuable asset.

So treat it accordingly and develop a process that helps you manage your documents in a more secure and effective way.

Hopefully, these ideas help you implement the right document management solution and get the most out of your information.

And, if you’re looking for a platform that’s powerful and simple to use at the same time, then monday.com might be a great option.

We suggest you try out our fully customizable digital asset management template. It’ll help you manage your documents quickly and efficiently.

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