Document management is the process used to receive, track, manage and store documents.
Documents like contracts with suppliers and clients may contain highly sensitive information that’s critical to the effective running of a business. As such, they must be kept safe and secure.
How can a business manage their documents?
It is critical that all businesses have a clear understanding of the sensitivity and risk associated with their various documents, and that these are accessible by the appropriate personnel as required.
For many years the only document management process most businesses were familiar with started with the paper documents, internal communications, contracts, and reports, and ended with a filing cabinet.
While this was the most appropriate solution at one point in time, it no longer stacks up to the requirements (nor the risk profile) of the modern enterprise.
Businesses now rely more heavily on digital contracts and ‘soft’ copies. With these documents already floating around the digital space, it’s making less and less sense to print them for storage. As such, these days you’re far more likely to come across emails, shared drives and cloud filing systems in place of their physical counterparts.
Despite saving some space in the office basement, these modern systems are typically just as frustrating to search, and impossible to lock with a key at the end of the day.
What are document management systems?
Document management systems are digital storage platforms that enable businesses to easily track, securely store, and quickly search for their documents.
Document management systems have evolved over time to become less like a library of all documents owned by the business, and more like an intuitive tool that provides the business the ability to quickly search for particular documents, track who has engaged with what, and provide straightforward reports on what documents are added to the system and how they have been updated over time
These systems have proved to be a game changer for business functions who are now able to quickly store documents in a system that makes it easy to find them again when they need them.
What is a legal document management system?
Legal departments in most enterprises have been left behind in the digital transformation conversation. While Finance, Sales and HR have found platforms to help them manage their documents, workflows and productivity, many Legal functions have struggled to shift their position from laggard to leader.
However, some Legal functions are proving themselves as a competitive advantage to their business through adopting legal document management software.
Legal document management software is created to manage documents with the particular complexities and security requirements you’d expect of in-house Legal functions.
During the document creation stage platforms like Plexus Gateway allow all parties to easily collaborate on documents by enabling everyone to work off a single integrated platform. This way there is no confusion over which version of the document is the most up-to-date.
While the most up-to-date version is easy to find, Plexus Gateway also plugs gaps in your audit trail with it’s version history feature ensuring that all versions of the document are securely stored for future reference.
Plexus Gateway also enables Legal functions to drive productivity by executing agreements faster through e-signatures and setting automatic reminders as they store their documents to ensure they never miss a deadline to negotiate a chance to negotiate a contract renewal before an expiry date.
Innovative legal document management software will also mine the metadata and insights from contracts to help lawyers to better manage risk and capture more revenue. L’Oreal, an early adopter of Plexus Gateway, introduced the platform to the business in 2017, and have since improved Legal output dramatically. The team is now able to turn an agreement in an average of 18 minutes - a task that previously took them over four hours.