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Document Management Workflow Management

Document Management Workflow Management

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Published by mesi_10
In the context of documents, workflow means moving the documents. Goods Delivery Notes accompany merchandise and come back to the seller duly acknowledged by the buyer; Invoices have to be sent to the buyers; Checks have to be sent to suppliers; Letters have to be sent to many persons and organizations; and so on.
In the context of documents, workflow means moving the documents. Goods Delivery Notes accompany merchandise and come back to the seller duly acknowledged by the buyer; Invoices have to be sent to the buyers; Checks have to be sent to suppliers; Letters have to be sent to many persons and organizations; and so on.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: mesi_10 on Jun 15, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/24/2012

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Workflow
 
Management 
 
What Is Workflow?
In the context of documents, workflow means moving the documents. Goods Delivery Notesaccompany merchandise and come back to the seller duly acknowledged by the buyer; Invoiceshave to be sent to the buyers; Checks have to be sent to suppliers; Letters have to be sent to manypersons and organizations; and so on.In addition to the external communications illustrated above, there are internal movements of documents. Time cards have to be sent to the payroll clerk; Pay sheets have to move toaccounting and treasury departments; Memos have to move from person to person.
Need for Workflow Control
Unless the flow of documents is controlled through carefully developed policies and procedures,results are chaotic. Goods Received Notes acknowledged by customers can be misplaced leadingto disputes about invoices. Intended recipients of official memos might dispute ever havingreceived the document. Employees might not get paid correctly or on time.The issues of confidentiality and business interests might also be compromised unless the flow of documents is controlled properly. Legal regulations require you to keep several kinds of dataconfidential. Business interests might require that you keep certain sensitive data accessible onlyto a restricted few. If you have inadequate control over the document flow, confidential andsensitive data can easily fall into the wrong hands.
Kinds of Documents
Before exploring how document workflow is controlled, take a quick look at the kinds of documents that arise in a business organization.
 
Text Documents: Letters, Reports, Statements, Contracts
 
Drawings: Blueprints, Organization Charts, Workflow Charts
 
Images: Photographs
 
Printed Materials: News articles, Reference materials
 
Forms: Invoices, Orders, Attendance cards, Bin cardsAlmost every one of these documents involves some kind of workflow. Information has to begathered from other documents for preparing a letter or report. Contracts have to be reviewedbefore signing. Information from other documents, collected from other persons or departments,have to be summarized for preparing statements like a sales analysis.
 
Controlling Workflow
Policies and procedures, carefully developed and properly implemented, are the key to documentworkflow management. Implementation also involves adequate training to personnel who handlethe documents.The policies seek to identify opportunities for saving costs while meeting different requirements.In the absence of such policies, it's quite easy to incur unnecessary costs. For example,documents can be kept for unduly long periods, or in perpetuity, because no one knows when adocument can be destroyed, or how to destroy it.Procedures implement the policies on the ground. Documents will be routed efficiently to allconcerned persons. Access to sensitive documents will be controlled through such means aspasswords and permissions. Needed actions will be flagged as they become due.
Workflow Patterns
The basic functions are summarized by three words: Capture, Manage, and Distribute.Data has to be captured at the best point considering convenience and cost. The captured data hasto be managed effectively to serve intended purposes while keeping the data safe. Data anddocuments need to be distributed to concerned persons in a manner that ensures their safety andminimizes the cost involved.And the basic workflow pattern is summarized by: Creation, Updating, Review, and Approval.When data is captured, a record or document is typically created. The creation process must bedesigned for ease and error-free operation.Created records and documents typically need to be updated, changed, worked on further, ordeleted. This must also be an easy and error-minimizing process.A single person rarely has complete control over a document or record. Proper authenticationand prevention of errors and frauds typically requires that one or more persons, not involved inthe creation or updating, review the created/updated documents.Another typical practice is that while the creation or updating is done by operations personnel, ithas to be approved by a supervisor or manager before it's put to intended use. Thus, approval isusually the last process before the workflow moves to the next stage.
 
Processes Involved in Workflow
If you observe the operations in an office, you would typically find the following processestaking place:
 
Writing or typing
 
Making copies
 
Getting written or printed originals or copies
 
Moving these documents to another person, either inside or outside the organization.(This might involve some preparations like putting a document in an envelope or otherprotective packing)
 
Communications
 
Monetary transactions based on documentary authorizations
 
Storing documents away, safely and in an organized mannerDuring earlier times, all documents involved paper (including carbon paper) and paperboards(for folders and tags).
The Modern WorkflowDocument management systems
 have undergone a radical change since the appearance of computers and Internet. So has workflow.In a modern computerized and connected office, workflow typically involves:
 
Creation of digital records on computer disks
 
Sending records to other persons using digital means
 
Getting printouts at the points needed (instead of sending printed documents by hand tovarious places)
 
Scanning to convert printed materials into digital format
 
Using OCR technologies to make the scanned documents editable
 
Making copies as needed instead of preparing the maximum number of copies at thestage of document creation itself 
 
Using fax and e-mail for mailing documents
Modern Workflow Tools
With the change in the practices came new tools.
 
Fax machines
 
Computers
 
Desktop printers
 
Copiers
 
Scanners
 
Internet connectivity

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