How Can Document Management Software Organize My Paper Files?

Posted by Kevin D'Arcy on Oct 9, 2013 5:37:23 AM

For organizations who are still paper-based or for those using, unstructured, network drives to store digital files this is a very common question.

Most document management systems mimic a traditional file folder structure; this is done specifically to increase operator acceptance by making the environment familiar and logical. For example:

Folder Structure

By now you’re probably thinking to yourself “That’s great, but I can replicate that model using Windows folders so why do I need a fancy piece of software?” You’re right the above structure is easy to replicate but document management software also improves search functionality and document security. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

Different users within your organization will typically have different search requirements. Usually a Windows filing structure was setup with the needs of one person/department in mind. The flow of the folders follows a meaningful path for how they need to find documents but it might not be useful for other areas of the business. For example, if your accounts payable files were sorted by purchase order number it keeps all the paper work (order, invoice, receiving documents, etc.) for a specific order in one spot but it would be difficult to find all orders to a specific vendor. Using document management software, users are able to apply meaningful index fields to all the documents and search on any combination of the fields. The illustration below shows a search that would produce all orders to a specific vendor, over $1,000 which were produced in 2013.


When it comes to document security, Windows security only takes you so far. With a document management system what documents a user can access, what they can do with those documents and how the interact with the files can all be controlled. In the example below, we see the view of the company controller on the left and the shipper on the right. Notice how the shipper is restricted to only seeing the receiving documents; additionally their ability to interact with the files is also limited. Where the controller can add new files, create annotations, run workflows, email, etc. the shipper only has the ability to print the document. All of which is controlled by a central user administration within the document management system.


Document management software helps organize your files in a familiar fashion, improve document look ups and increase security throughout your organization.

Click here for more information on document management software

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