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Document Management, Content Management And A Single Version Of The Truth

By Expert Author: Donald Nason

At the end of last year we were asked to write an article about document management.

As we began we realised that the term ‘document management’ is rather misleading in today’s context, and that ‘content management’ would be a better fit.

The original term has stuck not least because a ‘document’ is at the heart of so many business processes – initiating the process, contributing at stages in ‘support’ of the process, or created as the process’s final output.

Think of an invoice instigating the accounts payable process, a reference received in support of a bid tender, or a tender response issued by the sales department.

Content management and single version of the truth

It is the data within the document – the content – that drives the processing: invoice number, the name of the tendering company, details of the sales order.

For efficient processing all relevant content must be available, accessible and current at every stage of the process – and accurate. This is where maintaining a ‘single version of the truth’ comes in – ensuring that there is only one source for any particular piece of information. Otherwise, chances are content will differ.

With a document management solution there is one and only one document source. Held centrally along with supporting documents, current content is available at every stage of a process and available to all those who need that data 24/7, regardless of location. Workflow automates labour-heavy manual tasks, realising best-practice, fast, efficient, straight through processing.


System interface between departmental solutions (Purchase Orders, Accounts Payable, Customer Services, etc), and with third party systems enables content to be shared and to continue its processing journey without interruption – and without the need for rekeying and associated risk of transposition error.

Taking control of the business

A document – or content – management solution gives an organisation the visibility it needs to make the decisions that drive business. Authorisation levels configured to meet the organisation’s policies and regulations safeguard security, full audit history ensures compliance regulations are met and reporting tools generate powerful business intelligence.

Secure and compliant

Despite recent years having seen a growing move towards the use of electronic forms of communication, 73 percent of an organisation’s incoming correspondence is still paper-based. However, scanning and optical character recognition (OCR) address the immediate problems created by having to deal with paper documents – manual keying requirements and processing costs, associated inefficiency, plus high storage costs.

Documents are stored in a legally compliant format, at a fraction of the cost, and archived remain accessible at the touch of a button until end of life.

The future is digital

A favourite media story from last year is the one about the northern-based retro football magazine which issued an edition half in hard-copy and half online to ‘entice’ readers on to the web.

The reason, as the magazine editor explained, because, ‘The future is digital’.

It’s a favourite because of their novel approach to getting readers online, but also because the editor’s statement is so simple and true. The future is digital. Organisations are having to deal with customers and clients expecting ever higher levels of service and instant response.

The press feature daily some story or other about organisations looking to take advantage of the efficiency and cost benefits of moving to a content management system, in both the public and private sector.

It’s all about creating that single version of the truth, about greater efficiency, reduced costs, a better service, and enhanced visibility across the organisation.

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