What the heck is Document Management?

When people use the term “Document Management”, it tends to take on a lot of different meanings. They bring to the table their own needs, headaches and imagination and look to the magic of “Document Management” to solve them.

Lets break this down a little more…

What is a “Document”? Webster’s Dictionary defines this as “an official paper that gives information about something or that is used as proof of something, or a computer file that contains text that you have written”. That’s fair enough. But lets broaden that a bit by including anything paper; printed; an Email; a Word Document; spreadsheet; report; drawing; a picture, and more.

What is “Management”? In this context, it is the act of controlling and protecting the asset (your documents) in a predicable manner. At the same time, these need to be easily accessible to those that need the document(s), when they need them. In effect, managing your documents means you are designing and implementing a process that both supports the business in some way and eliminates or minimizes the friction on the businesses ability to perform its mission.

I would propose a more succinct definition: Document Management is the means by which people and organizations are able to 1) Share, 2) Search/Find and 3) Protect their information when it comes in the form of a document (or file).

Hidden in that definition is the implication that a good Document Management system should also include delivery of documents. After all, one central purpose of a document is to communicate with others – so you need do more than just store them. You need to share them too. In doing so, you need to get them to an appropriate recipient.

So Document Management software should assist you in 1) Sharing, 2) Searching {and Finding} and 3) Protecting your documents. Just like Dash’s DDX does.

‘nuff said… for now.


You might want to know more… see the next in our series: Document Management Stinks  or the upcoming article: The Cure for Document Chaos.