In the world of information management, Workflow Management Software (WMS) and Document Management Software (DMS) are key. While designed with different applications in mind, WMS and DMS offer complimentary functionality that can be used together for powerful results.
In this article we will discuss in detail both software systems (WMS and DMS), explore their overlapping functionality, and discover how they can be used together to achieve strategic business goals.
Defining Workflow Management Software
A workflow can be described as the sequential progression of documents, tasks, or work activities involved in a business process or as a complex set of processes each taking place concurrently. By definition, a workflow always involves more than one person and shows how processes impact each other according to a set of rules, routes, and roles.
Workflow Management Software provides the foundation and infrastructure in order to successfully define, control, implement, and execute the various activities as defined in a workflow. Most workflow software can be integrated with other information management software such as document management software, databases, email, office automation products, geographic information systems, product applications, and more. This integration provides structure to a process which would otherwise be composed of separate systems.
Some of the features of a WMS are as follows:
- Process Definition Tool—The process definition tool is a graphical or textual tool used for defining the various work processes.
- Rule-Based Decision-Making—This is the ability to create rules to determine how workflow-related data will be processes, routed, tracked, and controlled.
- Document Routing Capabilities—This involves the passing of a file or folder from one recipient to another.
- Event Notification Functionality—This entails the ability to notify staff and managers when specific milestones in the workflow process occurs.
- Task Automation—This includes automatically performing computerized tasks such as letter writing, emailing notices, or the execution of specific applications.
Popular workflow management systems include KiSSFLOW, Process Street, ProcessMaker Workflow Software, Bitrix24, and Salesforce.
Defining Document Management Software
DMS is a system (i.e., software or Cloud-based app) that is used to track, manage, organize, and store documents. It does this by applying a pre-determined set of policies and rules to how documents are created, persisted, and expired within an organization. In other words, DMS gives users the ability to actively monitor and control the entire life cycle of the document from creation to archive or deletion.
DMS is most effective for dealing with structured file formats such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDFs, and other popular file formats. Documents stored in DMS such as workflow diagrams, office procedures, and policy statements are easily retrievable and highly secure, reducing time spent on meeting compliance standards and industry regulations.
Some of the notable features of DMS are as follows:
- Check-In and Check-Out Features—These is used to control simultaneous edits from multiple users to a particular document.
- Powerful Security Features—A good DMS will include several security measures, such as advanced access rights, user- and role-based security, encryption, indexing, SSL certificates, and ownership modification. This ensures that files remain secure, private, and confidential.
- Version Control—This prevents wrongful use of superseded documents and enables users to easily track version changes.
- Audit Trail Capabilities—Having an audit trail is essential to meeting compliance and industry regulatory standards. This function tracks and monitors the life cycle of the document in the system permitting users to easily identify various user interaction with files and folders including uploading, editing, and deleting.
Popular document management systems include our very own eFileCabinet, Bentley ProjectWise, M-Files DMS, and PaperPort Professional.
Using WMS and DMS Together
We already know that DMS and WMS are different systems that cater to different needs. However, the two have overlapping functionality. In fact, a high-value DMS system will include a built-in workflow function because workflows are largely a part of the document management process.
A perfect example of this is the integration of eFileCabinet with Salesforce. Typically, users who work with Salesforce would have documents (contracts, invoices, purchase orders, etc.) stored in multiple locations, resulting in alternating between the Salesforce user interface and the actual document location. With the eFileCabinet, however, all documents stored in the eFileCabinet DMS can be accessed, viewed, and shared with customers directly in Salesforce.
The eFileCabinet Salesforce integrations allows users to view online drawers within Salesforce and vice versa, resulting in a truly synergistic relationship. Furthermore, files and folders in both locations are continuously updated once both accounts are synced. With eFileCabinet, you never have to leave the Salesforce interface to access your files and folders.
To find out more on how you can unlock the benefits of integrating DMS with WMS, fill out the form provided for a free 15-minute demo.