What Is Online Document Management?
Online document management is a service which allows people to view, share, modify, and control documents online. A number of companies offer online document management services, and some companies create their own systems for internal use. Some services are free, while others charge fees to maintain the service and to provide extra benefits and services. It is not uncommon for companies to offer a suite of office-related services with online document management so that people can access everything they need in one place.
There are a number of reasons why people might want to be able to access documents online. One of the most common reasons is the desire to have a virtual office. With a virtual office, someone is not tied to a specific location or computer; it’s possible to log on anywhere in the world to view documents online. In addition, people can share their virtual office, as for example when an editor works with a client in another country. The client can post documents online for viewing and modification by either party, a much more efficient approach than mailing documents or emailing them.
Online collaboration is also easier with online document management. Some companies have products which have been specifically designed to facilitate collaborative work, allowing multiple people to be logged into a document at once, making changes and adding comments. Electronic document storage can also be useful as a security measure, ensuring that if the document becomes corrupted in other formats and locations, it will still be available online.
It is possible to make online documents public or private. People sometimes provide resumes, clippings, and similar documents in a shared format so that prospective clients and interested members of the media can access them easily. On the other hand, people working on a confidential project might prefer a password-protected area for their documents to ensure that they are not seen by unauthorized personnel. People can usually adjust the privacy settings, including who is allowed to view the document, at any time.
People who are interested in online document management can serve from a number of services. It’s important to think about what kinds of features might be desired before signing up with a service, and it can also be wise to ask other people who will be working on the same document if they have a preference. For example, someone might already have a subscription to a service and prefer to work w ith that one rather than subscribing to another service.
There are several methods for organizing paperwork, depending on the type of information that one is trying to manage. For instance, some people may need help dealing with the mail and miscellaneous papers that find their way into their homes each day. Others have a disorganized home office, with a confusing mix of vital paperwork and unnecessary clutter. Still other individuals might have their papers organized neatly, but simply lack the storage space to keep them out of the way. There are practical solutions for each of these types of problems. Many people find that the best option is some combination of sorting, purging, filing, and storing.
Organizational experts often have certain rules for organizing paperwork. For example, some professionals recommend trying to touch a piece of paper as few times as possible when dealing with it. Many people suggest opening daily mail immediately, and then deciding whether to discard it or file it, rather than putting it into a miscellaneous pile to be dealt with later. Bills to be paid can be organized according to due date, and it might be helpful to utilize a payment calendar or reminder system to help avoid late payments.
Organizing paperwork on a daily basis, with the aid of some tools, can help someone avoid allowing clutter to build up. Items that may be helpful in dealing with papers include baskets or trays for incoming mail, as well as trash and recycling bins for discarding unwanted documents. Small binders or organizers can also come in handy for things that people carry with them regularly. For example, people who use coupons when they shop could benefit from a portable, accordion- type organizer.
When attempting home office organization, many people prefer organizing paperwork by using file folders and cabinets, or boxes with labels. After eliminating unnecessary items, the paperwork that remains in the office can be sorted and filed according to specific categories. Common examples of these include personal information, medical records, and financial information. Sturdy cardboard or plastic containers can be useful for long-term storage of documents that do not need to be looked at regularly.
An additional hint for organizing paperwork is to reduce the actual quantity of paper in the house. Many documents can be scanned and stored on a computer or external hard drive. One can also create computer files for budgets and other household records, thereby eliminating excess paper. If necessary, hard copies of documents can be printed when needed. A personal safe or a safety deposit box is often recommended for storing irreplaceable or official documents.
What Does a Documentation Specialist Do?
A documentation specialist is a professional whose main job is to either create or manage documents, or both. This can include documenting processes, projects and procedures using a number of mediums. It can also include collecting documents from a number of stakeholders and consolidating them into one usable file or document. The purpose of such documentation can range from historical interest to establishment of business practices to governmental requirement.
In many cases, a documentation specialist is the person who actually does the documenting. This might mean writing policy and procedure manuals based on current practices, or it might mean creating a user manual that documents how a product should be used or assembled. It could also mean creating a timeline of actions and communications when a process is dictated by regulatory bodies or if it could potentially involve a dispute or lawsuit. It might also mean documenting events and occurrences for a historical record.
As an example, consider a company that is required to take specific safety steps during a manufacturing process. A documentation specialist could be responsible for watching the process be completed properly and then creating a document that tells workers how to replicate the process step-by-step. This work assists in training and also helps show regulating bodies that the company is attempting to follow correct procedure.
In conjunction with or in place of writing documents, a documentation specialist may be responsible for recording events and processes through still or video photography. This might include taking pictures of a car that has been in an accident for the purpose of documenting the damages for an insurance claim or lawsuit. It might also include filming a special event or procedure so that it can be accurately portrayed without relying on human memory.
Another type of documentation specialist is someone who assembles required documents from others. For example, if a company has been trying to collect money from a client and is considering legal action, a documentation specialist might be asked to assemble the original purchase contract, all applicable invoices and any emails or other communications that have been sent to or exchanged with the client in question. This type of specialist may also create independent documents that provide additional detail or describe how the documents were obtained.
It is important to note that the term should not be confused with the term document specialist. A documentation specialist creates or assembles documents for the specific purpose of tracking information or proving something. A document specialist is someone who works with existing documents and can refer to a large number of jobs ranging from clerks in a copy shop to handwriting experts who authenticate historic documents.
What Does a Document Control Specialist Do?
A document control specialist typically spends much of his or her time fine- tuning the literature, manuals and instruction materials that accompany highly technical products. Most document control specialists work in industries such as engineering or pharmaceutical manufacturing, where the work is complex and simple language is a rarity. Clear instructions and product use information are imperative, however, which is where the document control specialist comes in. This professional essentially acts as quality control for literature and texts that are released to the public. The job entails mostly corroboration, data inputting and consistency checks at a high level.
In most contexts, a document control specialist works as a member of a technical writing team. Technical writing basically seeks to capture the essence of a procedure or product, and then frame it in language that is more readily understood by consumers. This involves more than simply describing and translating, however. A technical document control specialist must be extremely accurate and must ensure that consistent language and coding is being used throughout the materials. Information that is published or distributed that cannot be readily understood can lead to injury or product misuse, both ot which can have negative consequences for the manufacturer.
Most of what document control specialists work on is the instruction manuals and technical documentation that accompany electronic and technological products. When the writing team has finished compiling this information, the document control specialist reviews it, looking for clarity and accuracy. This often involves the use of a special industry-specific lexicon of highly technical terms. Those terms must be defined and used consistently throughout the materials. When specialists find errors or discover places where more clarification is needed, they usually will send the documents in question back to the writing team.
Effectiveness in document control specialist jobs generally requires a keen attention to detail and an aptitude for complex material. Specialists usually do not need to possess a lot of subject matter expertise, however. Most of the time, document specialists are permitted to leam the ins and outs of the industry on the job. Exceptions exist for projects in the military and national defense arena, because these specialists usually must have first-hand knowledge of the parts that are being built and described. In most other contexts, however, a bachelor’s degree, experience writing and editing and strong organizational skills are the only requirements.
Outside of engineering and science, the term “document control specialist”
is sometimes, albeit rarely, applied to entry-level employees who are often little
more than mail clerks. These employees handle the influx of documents, process
memos and sort ingoing and outgoing mail. This sort of professional and those
who work in the top tiers of manufacturing have little in common aside from job title.
Managing the Flow of Documents
A look at the kinds of documents generated in a business would help us understand the context of workflow. A typical business generates:
Day-to-day Communications: Correspondence, Internal Memos, etc.
Management Control: Business Plans, Budgets, Project Reports, etc.
Legal Documents: Contracts, Minutes of Negotiations, Incorporation Certificate, etc.
Specifications & Charts:Blueprints,Organization Charts, Product
Specifications, Process Flow Charts, Reference Materials, etc.
Publicity Materials: Brochures, Photographs, Press Releases, etc.
Transactional Documents: Invoices, Goods Received Notes, Bin Cards, Production Schedules, Attendance Cards, Pay Sheets, etc.
If you examine the above list carefully, you would notice that documents have the characteristic of moving from person to person. For example, a letter might be dictated by a manager, typed by a secretary, signed by the manager, sent to mail section by the secretary, dispatched by the mail clerk and received by the addressee. If these movements are left unplanned, serious business damage could occur.
What Is Involved in Document Flow?
Capture, Manage and Distribute: Data has to be captured at the most convenient point. The captured data have to be processed to yield desired information. The information so produced has to be distributed to concerned persons.
Creation, Updating, Review and Approval: Data capture results in creating a record or document. These would often need to be updated to reflect changes or latest data, and would invariably need to be reviewed and approved by a person who is not the creator.
We have only looked at the critical importance of controlling document flow, and how it is done. Later we will look at the processes involved in more detail. With the arrival of computers, these processes are changing dramatically.