Storage and document management are two crucial, and closely linked, principles in business. With the amount of information being created, shared, and passed through organisations, one needs an efficient way of managing documents. We spoke to a company that provides IT support services London based companies have been using for 12 years now – they gave us some insights on document management and storage.
According to the IT provider, businesses tend to get confused between Document Management Systems and Cloud Storage. The two are fairly distinct, but also have significant overlaps nowadays.
Cloud Storage is actually not really a specific service, but rather a type of storage that is distinct from on-premise or internal storage. It used to be that you needed a hard drive, or array of disks, to store documents on. However, thanks to cloud computing, disk storage can be virtualised and made accessible over a network. Individuals and businesses can store documents (and basically any type of file) in a cloud storage solution.
Commercial cloud storage usually comes with a user interface to make it easier to operate; but cloud storage also refers to the raw resources that businesses may use when building a cloud-based infrastructure for themselves.
An example of Cloud Storage is would be OneDrive, or Dropbox.
Document Management Systems
DMS refers to any interface used to manage storage – whether it is on a server, a storage array, or in the cloud. Document Management Systems come with a range of capabilities geared towards businesses – for instance, a good DMS will be able to assist in digitizing records; it will be able to index files based on custom criteria set by the business; it can use various criteria to make searching for documents easier (such as keywords, tags, etc.); DMS makes editing and sharing files easy, as well.
Generally speaking, document management systems are on-premise solutions.
What is the Overlap Between the Two?
The overlap between Document Management Systems and Cloud Storage is in how similar their purpose is – but in reality, they are significantly different, and not interchangeable.
It is true that both solutions are designed to centralise your files, make them easier search for, edit, and share, and increase the security of the documents you are storing. But these are very much superficial similarities. The two solutions differ mainly on the context of their use. Things like Dropbox are mainly geared towards commercial usage, whereas Document Management Systems are very much enterprise-grade solutions.
However, there is one more thing to consider, which is this: Over the last 10 years, business has undergone a huge shift towards the digital world, and cloud computing is taking over. This means more and more modern enterprise DMS solutions are based in the cloud now.
Cloud-based Document Management
As mentioned above, more and more businesses are migrating over to the cloud, permanently, and cutting back on their on-premise systems and solutions. Cloud storage has proven to be a much more agile means of simply storing files where they can be easily accessed. It makes sense then that cloud storage and document management should merge to utilize the best of both solutions. When we spoke with the IT support provider London businesses have used for so many years, they stated that there are a number of cloud-based DMS solutions that they would recommend for businesses:
- Microsoft SharePoint – this is especially useful for any businesses that already uses Microsoft products. SharePoint combines workflow automation, team collaboration, and document management into a single platform.
- Bit.ai – this is a new-age document management solution that was built entirely in the cloud. Businesses can create, share, and collaborate on documents within Bit.ai, and the documents in Bit.ai are designed to be highly dynamic. Documents can be sent to external partners, clients, or customers, and tracked in the process.