Have you built a large skyscraper, power plant, or piece of transportation infrastructure lately? Where I just returned from was a gathering of professionals who do just that, and more. And, as they are quick to mention… building big things requires a big amount of “paperwork” and work processes. From the moment an idea is born to the day its doors open for business… everyone from architects, to owners, to vendors, to engineers, to contractors, to project managers, and a multitude of others are busy creating, sharing, exchanging, reviewing and approving all sorts of documents, drawings and communications. The obvious needs abound, from version control software to plain old document searching.
At the recent CMAA conference (short for Construction Management Association of America), we along with Kodak talked about how some effective tools can improve document control and collaboration in construction. Kodak showed how easy it is to capture paper in the process, and we demonstrated how words and data can be digitized from the pulpy medium and put to good use organizing and automating procedures like notifications and approvals.
But the great value to realize is one that has relevance even beyond construction and engineering… A centralized system that extends document control and workflow across the company or division can have tremendous benefits in improving collaboration throughout the organization. While many line-of-business applications do have the capability to store documents (a singular capability that falls far short of ‘real’ document management), an enterprise document management system extends collaboration, notifications, approvals, and more across disciplines. Everyone is using and benefiting from the same system.