Transforming Document Management: Past, Present and Future

March 12, 2014 Greg Burlin

Document management doesn’t mean what it used to – and that’s a good thing.

Starting more than a decade ago, many government agencies went through the first cycle of improving document management. While the old way of doing business consisted of paper, paper, and more paper, that first wave of document management involved the concept of an “electronic filing cabinet.” Simple data capture processes, and storage methods that replicated the idea of a “case file” made of digitized records instead of paper, were the order of the day.

While the “electronic filing cabinet” improved accessibility to electronic records and freed up floor space in the office, it also had its drawbacks. The technology was rigid and hard to modify without significant expense and business disruption. Unfortunately, many agencies have not moved forward in document management since then. Agencies that are still using outdated technology have been left behind – newer systems are more flexible, less expensive, and more capable.

The next cycle of document management is content management, focused less on just digital documents and more on the flow of information. It isn’t about taking what you do on paper and replicating that in an electronic format. New content management is about aligning technology to an optimized business process.

Using technology to replicate a non-optimized process just accentuates the inefficiencies of that process. Think of these examples:

  • Inefficient processes require workers to touch a document several times instead of just once
  • Inefficient technology serves only one department or function instead of the entire enterprise
  • Inefficient systems store documents in one hierarchy and can only be accessed in one way

But technology has evolved to move past these limitations. The new content management technology – when matched with the right processes – can deliver benefits that once seemed out of reach:

  • What if your technology could prioritize tasks so your workers don’t have to?
  • What if your solution were web-based and flexible?
  • What if information drove your process instead of hindering it?

The best of current content management offers options that quickly and accurately capture data, index it properly, and integrate it immediately into your business. That’s what’s already available – but where is the market headed?

Transformation is the name of the game. An enterprise looking to transform its content management will be moving toward an enterprise content management solution that:

  • Embraces and integrates mobile technology and social media as government users do
  • Allows constituents to securely upload information directly into your system instead of requiring input from your workers
  • Delivers content to your workers in a highly personalized manner through alerts, prioritized routing, and other means of proactive workflow management
  • Personalizes outbound messaging that targets specific constituencies and enhances the customer experience
  • Can be used across your enterprise or even your entire state to exchange information as appropriate between agencies quickly and securely

So where is your agency in the document management evolution cycle? Are you still struggling with the efficiency of your business processes? What would you differently if you could? And what comes next for you?

About the Author

Director, State Business Process Solutions

More Content by Greg Burlin
Previous Article
Let’s Get Digital: A Preview of the 2014 Digital Government Survey
Let’s Get Digital: A Preview of the 2014 Digital Government Survey

The Obama administration in 2012 made its mark in the United States federal government history by taking...

Next Article
Insights for Government Agencies – A New Xerox Blog
Insights for Government Agencies – A New Xerox Blog

Our new Blog, “Insights for Government Agencies,” is a place for industry and government decision...