The Complete Guide to Document Control and Management

The Complete Guide to Document Control and Management

Managing documents used to be straightforward: documents were on pieces of paper, and users managed them by keeping them all in order and the correct location. 

While document management was straightforward, it was anything but simple: as businesses grew, their documents became exponentially more time-consuming to manage, mistakes became easier to make, and security became increasingly complex and difficult.

Document Management Software (DMS) solved some of the difficulties of document control and management by converting cabinets full of paper documents into portable, useful digital documents. Today, managing digital documents is a highly optimized process with various digital tools and platforms to make the most of your documentation. This guide covers the basics of document control and management and the features to look for in good document management software.

Key Takeaways:

  • Document control and management give businesses new tools for modifying and accessing documents.
  • Document management software uses OCR to convert physical documents into digital files.
  • FileCenter is a full-featured document management software that offers the best in document control and management.

Defining Document Control and Management

Document management includes both physical and digital documents. In the past, all documents were physical, and document management was centered around organizing paperwork and keeping the wrong hands out of the document room. Today, the business landscape has undergone a radical digital transformation accelerated by Covid-19, and the balance has shifted towards digital documentation.

The ISO 9000 family of certifications is an international quality standard in which businesses can become certified. These standards have become a popular way for organizations to advertise their high quality. The ISO 9001:2015 standards for document control include the following elements:

  • Identification
  • Storage
  • Protection
  • Retrieval
  • Retention
  • Review
  • Approval
  • Disposition
  • Legibility
  • Change Tracking

Thankfully, tools like FileCenter make document control straightforward and accessible for even novice users.

So, what’s the difference between document control and document management? By the book, document management refers to the storage and processing of documents, while document control includes the security and long-term versioning of documents. If that distinction doesn’t seem important to you, don’t worry. It’s not.

Colloquially, “document control” and “document management” are interchangeable, and you can complete your document control within “document management” software. While the distinction between control and management is important for some academic discussions, the substantial overlap between the concepts and the colloquial equivocation of their terms makes the distinction unimportant for the day-to-day functioning of your successful business. For this guide, “document control and management” describes the larger picture of the documentation lifecycle: everything from acquisition to deletion and everything in between.

Document control and management include the entire lifecycle of a document
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Building Blocks of Document Control and Management

While modern workplaces still occasionally use Rolodex and Wite-Out, digital tools have all but replaced analog methods of storing, modifying, and accessing documents.

Document Scanning

Scanning documents is a ubiquitous part of office life. This now-routine technological feat is the foundational technology for digital document management as it allows businesses to digitally store natively digital documents and physical documents that users have digitally scanned.

While scanning documents directly from your mobile device is possible, high-quality scanners are the best way to produce high-quality digital copies of your paper documents.

Optical Character Recognition

Converting paper documents to digital files is only the first step in document processing. To a human reader, there is very little difference between the words on a scanned image or a Word document—the meaning is the same, just presented in a different format. However, the two documents couldn’t be any more different for software.

While computers can “read” the words on a Word document—enabling users to search, edit, and analyze the contents of a Word document—computers cannot read the words of a scanned image. To circumvent this dilemma, OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology analyses the brightness of pixels on a screen to make intelligent predictions about the characters they represent, thereby converting the images into machine-readable text.

OCR is one of the key characteristics of document management software because it enables users to edit PDFs, automate intelligent metadata, automatically route documents, and search for documents based on their contents—something that is impossible to do with an analog system.

Document Modification

In a world of paper documents, you may fill out some pages with pencil and others with pen. With digital documents, the same is true: some documents you may want to lock to prevent unauthorized changes, but others you may want to leave open to future editing. 

OCR is the first step to converting scanned documents into an editable format, but that is just the beginning of the document modification options available in document management software. Software like FileCenter allows users to convert PDFs to other formats like Excel, Word, and PowerPoint documents, add or remove text, annotate PDFs with comments, add e-signatures, and more.

Document Management with FileCenter

Document control and management software unlock a new realm of possibilities when storing your documents, and FileCenter is a full-featured platform for making the most of your resources. 

FileCenter allows you to remotely access your documents, edit and convert PDFs, automatically route documents based on their contents, scan receipts, add and edit metadata, and much more.

If you’re ready to make the most of your documents with top document control and management software, download a free trial or schedule a demo to learn how FileCenter can help.