Why Document Storage is not the same as Document Management

Paper stuffed into a laptop screen

Apr 6, 2023

Don't let your computer become another messy filing cabinet. Relying solely on the document storage feature in your core software applications can actually do more harm than good. While it may seem like a handy feature to upload and store documents related to individual records, this is not a comprehensive document management solution. In fact, it can create more problems for your organization down the road. Here are three reasons why:

  1. Change is inevitable

    Think about the different software applications your business uses and the changes that have taken place across each department over the last few years. As the needs of your company change, software will inevitably need to change with it. When your documents are stored in the native operating software, you do not have a simple way of extracting them. After a few years of using your CRM, for example, you can accrue tens of thousands of documents. When it is time for a new CRM, there is no easy way to move the documents from one CRM to the next. This can stall software upgrades, even when there is money to be saved, and it can impede the growth of your organization. On the other hand, an electronic document management solution operates independently of the software you’re changing and can usually be integrated with the new software, so that corresponding documents can easily be retrieved with new software.

  2. It’s a static document

    The document you upload into your software is a static image. Without the use of a more structured scanning solution (index fields) and advanced technology like OCR (optical character recognition), your software does not have the ability to extract information from the document. Often, employees have to manually key in the data; a process prone to errors and inconsistencies that make it very difficult to locate documents when they're needed. Further, if they wanted to go back and search the document itself, they’d have to manually scan through it to find what they need. This additional  data can be used to add information into your software, organize and store the document for easy retrieval and provides the ability to full text search within the document itself.

  3. Limited tracking and security features

    Instead of being a feature-rich document management solution, document storage is a feature of the core software application. The feature is typically not designed with the security of your documents in mind, and may also not be able to track access to the document or create audit trails, both of which are vital tools when handling confidential information. Documents are a vital part of your business and protecting them with a system designed to manage and secure the documents is essential. Look for features like encryption, access controls, monitoring capabilities, redaction of confidential information, robust back-up and document-level security. These systems are better designed to handle the rigorous requirements of storing confidential and valuable files.

    The ability to attach documents to individual records is not a document imaging solution. It’s designed as an add-on feature that does very little for you. Does it store the document? Yes. But can you use it? Not very well. A document imaging solution that works with all kinds of applications is a better way to store documents and tie them to your records. That way, the content can be better leveraged and the document can be retrieved when needed, no matter what core software is being used.

Ready to manage your data and not just store your files?

Milner offers document management solutions that can help stem the flow of paper and put your data to work for you. Contact us to schedule a free demo.