The electronic document management process is a system where information is created, organized, and stored for future use. At the fundamental level, all document management systems have the same basic steps.
All electronic document management processes start with information. Recorded information typically exists in two forms: physical and digital. Humans or digital applications generate information in a vast array of formats, including: paper documents, e-forms, rich media, and microfilm, and other electronic files.
Information residing on physical media, such as paper or micro film, must be converted into an electronic file. Document capture converts a physical document into a digital representation.
At its simplest, document capture involves scanning a physical document and saving it as a digital image. However, creating a digital image file is often not adequate for business purposes. For images containing text, capture usually includes optical character recognition (OCR), to convert text images into searchable text. During capture, bar codes and QR codes are also read so their data can be used in the document management process.
Once captured, it is time for the information to be managed. A document management system is the use of a computer system and software to organize, store, manage and track electronic documents and electronic images of paper-based information captured through the use of a document scanner.
Document management systems today range in size and scope from small, standalone systems to large scale enterprise-wide configurations serving a global audience. Many document management systems provide a means to incorporate standard physical document filing practices electronically. Including: Workflow, Security/access, and version controls. User and system audits,
Having a clearly defined document retention policy yields three primary benefits: efficiency, safety, and peace of mind.
There are numerous laws and regulations regarding document retention, including tax audit procedures by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), employment laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (ERISA), and mandates by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In addition to these federal laws, there may be numerous state and local document retention provisions that apply specifically to your business or organization.
The document management system enforces retention policies by preventing documents from being edited or deleted.
The final step in the electronic document management process is destruction. When it comes to document management, storage and retrieval are often top-of-mind, however, disposition is a critical step. When a record has reached the end of its use for both purpose and regulation, it should be destroyed/deleted.
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