Document management and records management sound very much alike? However, they are two different techniques that can be used separately or together to help business practices.

Document Management vs Records Management vs Content Management

You know you need a better way to organise and manage your essential business information.  You’ve maybe even been researching the options.  But you’re confused about the various terms that are used  document management, records management and content management.

You need to know what each of these is before you can decide which of them you need.

Document Management

What are documents? “The term document encompasses paper, electronic forms and files, emails, faxes, contracts, leases, etc.”

Documents are different from records in that “Records are any of those documents that have been made final and are no longer meant to be altered.”  Another way of looking at the difference between documents and records is that documents are what you’re actively working on, or working with; while records are work that’s finished.

So, document management is a systematic way to handle documents that enables documents to be created, shared, organized and retrieved efficiently.

Document Management Goals should generally be:

  • Reduce paper
  • Reduce lost and misfiled documents
  • Provide easier, faster access and retrieval of documents
  • Reduce the costs and storage space involved with paper documents
  • Streamline information and workflow (also known as process improvement).


Records Management

As defined above, records are completed documents.  So, the goal of records management is mainly one of archiving.  Archiving requires a system of classification, storage and security, along with a plan for determining what should be destroyed and when.  In the case of some important historical records, it may also include preservation of the original paper document.

Record or Archive Management Goals should generally be:

  • Control the quantity and quality of records
  • Simplify the way records are stored, maintained and accessed
  • Easily locate the correct record when needed
  • Ensure records security
  • Determine required retention periods
  • Develop a deletion/destruction system for records at end of retention period


Content Management

The easiest way we can describe content management systems are that they are  document management systems on steroids.

What we mean:

  • Document management systems manage the data contained in structured documents and files like Word, PowerPoint, Excel spreadsheets, PDF, and other popular formats.
  • Content management solutions manage all the data that document management systems manage plus the unstructured data that is available and raw data collected from a variety of other business systems and resources. Basically Business Process Automation (BPA)

Business process automation?

  • BPA can be used in virtually any aspect of a business. From document management and workflow automation to email alerts and other repetitive tasks,
  • BPA can help reduce costs and avoid wasted manpower in a wide range of operational areas. Four examples of areas where BPA can help streamline processes are Accounts Payable / Invoice Processing, client management, marketing and customer support.


Deciding What You Need and Where to Start ?

In the end, most companies need to manage documents, records and content.  But, as a practical manner, doing it all at once is seldom wise.

Most organisations find that starting with paper documents and paper-based workflows in one department provides a cost-effective, controlled beginning.  The most important thing to remember at this stage is to ensure that the solution you choose doesn’t limit what you can do with it.

Choose a solution that will let you start as a simple document management system in one department, but that is capable of scaling upwards to encompass records and content, as well as workflow processes in all departments.


Want to see more?

Whether your company or organisation is looking to go paperless, manage digital content or automate document-driven processes, Concept Group has the right system for your needs.

Schedule a demo today at our offices with one of our helpful consultants Contact Us