Classic Document Management Solutions¶
Faced with the need to organize documents, companies have looked at a number of document management solutions that are promoted today, from simple email archiving to complete electronic management systems dedicated to arbitrary documents.
Unfortunately, these solutions have not always been very useful because they are too little integrated in companies' management systems. Most solutions that we have come across, are underused by the employees – often used by some of them but not by all.
The primary reason for this is that a document management system that is not integrated imposes extra work on an employee. For example, a salesperson should ideally save each customer confirmation in the document management system. Only that means quite a heavy additional workload just for an order confirmation:
Receive and read the email from the customer,
Save the email and its attachments on the desktop,
Connect to the ERP system and confirm the order,
Connect to the document management system,
Look for the best place to store the document,
Create a directory for the customer and the order if it does not yet exist,
Copy the files from the desktop to the right place in the document management system.
This is obviously a lot of operations just to handle a simple order confirmation. You can understand why many companies hardly use their document management system even if they have gone to the cost and effort of purchasing and installing one.
Free Document Management Systems
A number of free document management applications exist. The most well known are:
It is very difficult to keep information in the company's management system synchronized with that in the document management system. For example, when a customer changes his address, users will modify the details in the management software, but usually, not in the document management system.
Furthermore, since users should create the same storage structure in both systems, you quickly find after only a few months that the information in the document management system is quite disconnected from that in the company's management system, if the two are separate. For example, how do you know where to store your least-frequently used documents such as (perhaps) employee car-leasing documents?
Also, document management systems are typically very complex because they must manage user access rights in just the same way as those that are available in the company management system. This means that you have to enter the same sort of data about access rights twice for the system administrators.
You will see that the total integration of OpenERP's document management system with the main company management system, and plugins to Outlook and Thunderbird email clients, offers an elegant solution that addresses these problems.