Document Management Workflow – how to build and optimize?

Document management can often be a source of frustration within the traditional work approach. Every company possesses a multitude of documents that necessitate storage, periodic or regular review, and archiving. For those companies resistant to digitization, the accumulation of physical paper becomes burdensome, leading to limited accessibility and disorganization. To address this issue, Document Management Systems (DMS) present a viable solution, enabling efficient document storage, management, and sharing. If you’re wondering how to select the right DMS for your needs, this article will provide the necessary insights.

What is a Workflow in Document Management?

In the world of document management, a workflow refers to a defined set of tasks, activities, and processes involved in the creation, review, approval, and distribution of documents within an organization. It outlines the sequential steps that a document follows from its inception to its final destination, ensuring a streamlined and efficient flow of information. An example of document workflow could be the processing of invoices. Said invoices often go through the different departments such as sales to the accounting department, occasionally overlapping with other departments and/or employees.


Invoice workflow in NAVIGATOR365

Elements of a DMS Workflow

A document management system workflow usually comprises several key elements. These include document capture, indexing, storage, retrieval, collaboration, version control, and document disposal. Each element plays a crucial role in ensuring that documents are managed effectively throughout their lifecycle.

And of course, the critical element of a DMS workflow is the workflow itself. In systems such as NAVIGATOR365, the workflow building process is based on the BPMN notation, which already became an industry standard. Such systems allow creating workflows using drag-and-drop method, which relies on a visual approach.

Types of Document Management Systems

Various document management systems with workflow are available, ranging from simple file storage solutions to comprehensive enterprise-level platforms.

The type of DMS depends on the deployment model: cloud-based or on-premises, other factors include functionality, customization options, industry focus, and additional features beyond basic document management.

Here are some common factors:

  1. On-Premises DMS: These systems are installed and hosted on local servers within the company’s premises. They provide full control over data storage and security but require internal IT infrastructure and maintenance.
  2. Cloud-Based DMS: These systems store documents on remote servers, accessible through the internet. They offer scalability, flexibility, and ease of access from various devices and locations. Cloud-based DMS often provide automatic backups and updates.
  3. Hybrid DMS: These systems combine features of both on-premises and cloud-based DMS. They allow companies to store sensitive documents locally while utilizing the cloud for collaboration, remote access, and scalability.
  4. Open-Source DMS: Open-source DMS solutions are free to use and customizable. They provide access to the source code, allowing companies to modify and adapt the system to their specific requirements. However, they may require technical expertise for implementation and maintenance.
  5. Industry-Specific DMS: Some DMS solutions are tailored for specific industries, such as healthcare, legal, or finance. They come with industry-specific features, compliance standards, and integrations to streamline document management and workflow automation processes unique to those sectors.
  6. Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Systems: ECM systems encompass broader functionalities beyond document management, including collaboration tools, workflow automation, records management, and enterprise-wide content governance.

When choosing a DMS, it’s crucial to consider factors like your organization’s size, industry, budget, security requirements, scalability, integration capabilities, and user-friendliness.


Why Does Your Company Need a DMS Workflow?


Implementing a document management workflow has numerous organizational benefits. It can enhance efficiency, improve collaboration,  reduce paper clutter, ensure regulation compliance, improve security, and facilitate access to information. A well-designed document workflow can significantly streamline business processes and save valuable time and resources. The automation part will be especially helpful to reduce the number of repetitive tasks, allowing your employees to focus on what matters the most.

What Are the Steps to Document Workflow?

The steps involved in a document workflow may vary depending on the specific requirements or procedures of each organization. Some common steps include document creation or automatic generation, routing for review and approval, revision management, document distribution, and, finally, archiving. These steps ensure that documents are properly handled and move through the workflow in a controlled manner, as well as being accessible at any time in the future.


How to Optimize Document Management Workflow?

To optimize your document management workflow, you should consider the following strategies:

  1. Evaluate current processes: evaluate your existing workflow to identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and areas for improvement.
  2. Standardize naming conventions: establish consistent naming conventions for files and folders to enhance organization and searchability. In some DMS like NAVIGATOR365 you can also add tags and statuses for more detailed filterability. 
  3. Automate repetitive tasks: utilize workflow automation tools and its possibilities to streamline routine tasks, such as document routing, notifications, and approvals. In systems using BPMN, use logic gates to further your automation.
  4. Integrate collaboration tools: incorporate collaboration tools within your DMS to facilitate real-time collaboration and document sharing.
  5. Implement version control: enforce version control mechanisms to track changes, prevent data loss, and maintain document integrity.
  6. Train employees: provide comprehensive employee training on how to effectively use the document management system and workflow processes.  

Take into account what Gartner Institute predicts about Citizen Developers – people in your company that create IT systems without coding knowledge. Encourage your workers to automate their tasks independently.

Automating Document Management Workflows with NAVIGATOR365

NAVIGATOR365 is a powerful no-code development platform that enables you to create customised personal and business apps. NAVIGATOR365 can be used as document management software that offers robust workflow automation capabilities. It allows organizations to create, customize, and automate their document workflows, resulting in increased efficiency and productivity. With features such as drag-and-drop workflow builders, task assignments, notifications, and reporting, NAVIGATOR365 simplifies the management of complex document workflows. 

But that’s not all – NAVIGATOR365 allows you to automate document creation, e-mail sending and status setting. To gain more power in workflow automation, it lets you integrate with other systems using API and create a workflow connecting them.

You can see how it works in our demonstrational video on the Office application:

How to Choose the Best Document Workflow Management Software?

When selecting a document workflow management software, consider the following factors:

Workflow customization: ensure the software offers flexibility in designing and customizing workflows to match your business processes.

  1. Integration capabilities: check if the software integrates seamlessly with your existing systems and applications.
  2. Scalability: choose a solution that can accommodate your organization’s growing needs and adapt to future requirements.
  3. Security and compliance: look for robust security features and compliance certifications to protect sensitive data.
  4. User-friendliness: select software with an intuitive user interface and ease of use to encourage employee adoption.

Sounds interesting? Get to know more about No-code solutionsautomation and superapps in NAVIGATOR365!


A well-designed document management workflow is essential for organizations to effectively manage their documents, streamline processes, and enhance productivity. By understanding the elements of a DMS workflow, the steps involved, and the benefits it offers, you can optimize your document management practices. Consider implementing automation tools like NAVIGATOR365 to further enhance efficiency. When choosing document workflow management software, prioritize customization, integration capabilities, scalability, security, and user-friendliness. With a well-optimized document management workflow, your organization can unlock the full potential of its document management system and improve overall operational efficiency.

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