How Has Document Management Changed?
Whether you call it Document Management, Content Management, Information Management or Records Management. These processes and their supporting systems continue to advance, taking advantage of the technology of the day. Some of Hollywood’s far out depictions of the future have come to realization.
My first introduction to the growing technology outside of standard disk storage was WORM (Write Once Read Many) technology, with the use of twelve-inch discs, which quickly expanded to writeable on both side of the media. As the cost and foot print of hard storage media decreased, data has moved through the many different technology advancements of simple disc storage. These continue to increase in capacity while decreasing the footprint. Only to be improved by solid state drive technology. And now aided by additional technological advances such as microservices and containers made possible by non-relational databases in the cloud.
We are now challenged with managing documents, data, communications, geospatial data, even general ideas throughout the entire lifecycle of a project, manufactured unit, or healthcare records throughout the lifetime and beyond of an individual
Many industries have implemented information management to support meeting the irrespective regulatory requirements. Along with records management, which was implemented to better manage the historical records being generated during operations or the execution of multiple types of projects or the process execution. Whether it is the manufacturing industry, energy, health management, data is generated in all phases of an employees work day. In the past we only managed the final documents required for compliance. We are now challenged with managing documents, data, communications, geospatial data, even general ideas throughout the entire lifecycle of a project, manufactured unit, or healthcare records throughout the lifetime and beyond of an individual.
We now utilize these many different emerging technologies to better manage the multitude of data sources of unstructured information to support the decision making of the future.
In my industry, we now utilize a tablet at rural, remote construction sites where we are capturing data that is analyzed during the construction process. This has historically been a paper-based effort. This data is gathered as part of the control regiment for construction quality as well as regulatory compliance. The system is capable of reporting and alerting when exceptions are encountered in the data. Exceptions such as a blank (required) field on a form, data that falls outside of predefined parameters or a missing/un-submitted form can all be flagged. The systems then notifies the subject matter experts immediately of the possible violations. Decisions can be made within hours to correct the instance or log non-issues for future audit purposes. We can now correct an issue in manufacturing, construction execution, or operator error in less than one day, prior to burying the instance beneath five feet of soil. And let’s not forget the geospatial data that is now available supporting the same record of the instance. In the past, these instances were identified later during paper audits or when an asset is being managed by operations, only to return to repair or replace, adding expense or possible fines.
A field technician completing the required form is now completing a real time audit of construction execution, which is then utilized to comply with regulatory audits by the governing agencies.
In addition, this same tablet that was used for data entry is also utilized to access engineering documents and drawings which are used by the construction and inspection teams. Remote team members can use these same documents to send real time clarifications to the companies engineering team to resolve possible issues and thus minimize delays. The tablet facilitates recording and submitting any required changes to the drawings based on the final disposition of the installation. The same tablet is used to monitor the environment, sending safety notifications of severe weather events, such lightning strikes within a designated distance. The alerts allow the construction to stand down when these lightning strikes occur within a specified distance, ensuring the safety of the construction team members. In addition, this same tablet is a communication device for emails, and project notifications.
In this instance our project team members are utilizing common data from different industries to make on site decisions to support the safe, compliant execution of a project.
The data collected throughout the project execution is then migrated to the owner’s operations database where it continues to expand with additional operational maintenance information. The geospatial data delivered assists with underground utility location requests and emergency response. This data is then utilized to comply with the regulatory requirements of operational audits, which are required to maintain a safe, compliant operation of a facility or asset.
The planning/development division of the same company can then utilize the same data to calculate capacities and throughput which is used to engage their clients. Formulating possible expansions, where engineering is then engaged to expand the facility or asset, which then restarts the entire process.
So, by simply filing in a digital form, a field technician is building a dataset that is used tenfold in the future.
Is this Document Management, Content Management, Information Management or Records Management?
My answer, E: All of the above.