Integrate and extend DMS in 3 steps
Digital document management (DMS) saves companies and government agencies a lot of work in processing documents and digitizing workflows. With the basic functions, however, many programs do not yet fulfill all requirements – you should therefore consider the possibilities for expanding the functions when selecting and expanding a DMS. Because with efficient and innovative features and integrations, you not only adapt the software optimally to existing workflows, but also to future Requirements.
Integrate and extend the DMS in 3 steps – Overview:
1. integrate the DMS: The foundation for powerful processes
Before the DMS can be extended and adapted for your purposes, the software should first be well integrated into your IT – the basis for cross-system digital processes. This is accomplished with the following questions:
- Which systems should be able to talk to the DMS?
- To which of these systems are there already interfaces in the DMS?
- How complex is the integration of these systems into workflows?
- Does each interface require its own logic for addressing?
- How does this affect the complexity of the workflows – for example, during changes and updates?
- Are there alternatives to point-to-point integration (individual connection of systems)?
Point-to-point integrations usually make sense when:
- Workflows should primarily run in the DMS
- Workflows remain unchanged in the long term
- Do not change connected systems
In all other cases, the integration of your DMS should be done via a product-independent integration software or integration platform. The important thing here is that they provide a variety of interfaces to other systems and a uniform integration logic (for communication between your DMS and the respective systems). The result is significantly less effort in setting up the DMS and less complexity when changes need to be made to systems and workflows.
2. extend DMS: Map workflows beyond system boundaries
Once your DMS is integrated and connected to the relevant systems in the company, the question arises as to how the digital workflows can be implemented. This is about how documents get into your DMS, how they are organized there, and what should happen to them afterwards. The core competency of most DMSs is primarily document capture, information extraction, storage and organization.
In addition to this competence, many DMS providers have discovered the field of workflows for themselves in recent years and have increasingly incorporated them into their products. In many cases, this can lead to advantages, but also to disadvantages for you as a DMS customer. In which cases the digital business processes (such as invoice verification, budget requests, onboarding processes or requirement requests) should be implemented directly in the DMS and in which cases a neutral system is to be preferred can be assessed on the basis of a few simple criteria.
Criteria for the implementation of workflows within the DMS:
- No further systems are addressed for the processes
- These are primarily storage and search processes for documents
- All employees of the company have access to the DMS
Criteria for implementing workflows outside the DMS:
- Addressing other (local) systems is required
- Secure communication with cloud systems and applications is to be ensured
- The workflows should be flexibly adaptable and expandable in the long term
- Employees are involved in the workflows who do not have a DMS license
- Customers and partners are involved in the workflows
In these cases, a system-neutral workflow solution is preferable for implementing the workflows. These solutions are usually “workflow engines” that are placed centrally in the company. Ideally, such a solution is usable via low-code and is offered in combination with an integration solution as described above. When used, the DMS is connected to the integration platform just like all other systems in the company (regardless of whether they are located locally or in the cloud). The workflows then run system-neutrally and use the information required within the workflows from all systems.
3. optimize DMS: How to perfect the functions
After the first processes have been implemented with the DMS, many companies recognize the great potential and the many optimization possibilities with digital and automated workflows. In this situation, the requirements and desires for the system usually grow as well. This is no longer just about capture and organization, but very quickly also about components for the intelligent evaluation of document content with artificial intelligence, Big Data analysis, robotic process automation (RPA), or even the powerful evaluation and transformation of a very large amount of information.
In this situation, it often becomes apparent that there are specialized solutions on the market for these tasks that are, on the one hand, significantly more innovative and powerful, and on the other hand, significantly less expensive than the standard components offered by a DMS solution. The reasons for this lie primarily in the specialization of the various providers and the speed at which the entire field of document analysis and workflow automation is developing. However, for you as a DMS customer, it can be crucial to always use the most powerful components to gain an advantage over your competitors.
As a DMS customer, you have two options in this situation:
- Leverage existing DMS on-boarding resources, alert vendor to missing components, and wait for implementation
- Use necessary components and functions via specialized providers in the market and integrate them into the workflows
In the second case, it is again a decisive advantage for you as a DMS customer to use a central integration and workflow solution. With this, innovative applications and (cloud) services can be easily integrated and flexibly exchanged. At the same time, the effort for the connection and often also the administrative effort for the booking and use of a service is significantly lower. Depending on the integration and workflow platform used, service packages from the various providers are already made available here centrally, so that you do not have to conclude individual contracts with the various providers – but have just one contractual partner. Examples can be specialized data analysis, document under-standing, OCR scanning services, eSignature and many more, which are charged via the platform e.g. per document or per transaction. This allows you to use exactly the applications and services that meet your requirements and extend the DMS in a meaningful way.
Conclusion: Expanding DMS is a must
Using a DMS is an essential step towards more efficient and cost-effective operations in your business – but only the first. It is just as important to check during or after the initial setup whether the DMS already meets all important requirements “ex works”. As soon as you have identified additional requirements, the consistent and sustainable expansion of the DMS is on the agenda.
The experts at PIPEFORCE support you here with many years of know-how and an open integration and workflow platform that specializes in the expansion of DMS solutions. Feel free to contact us for an initial exchange on this topic and to assess your potential.
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