The future of document management is clearly linked to the current digital transformation.

Guillermo Castellano , founder and document management consultant at Nosturi (a company that offers document management and digital preservation services based on free software solutions) is our guest today at neodoc. Guillermo has a degree in History from the UCM and a University Specialist in Archives from the UNED. In 2016 he completed the Postgraduate course in Implementation of Electronic Document Management Projects (EDRMS) at the UOC. He has experience in implementing open source applications such as OpenKM and AtoM, optical character recognition and the use of document management to comply with ISO standards. He also writes on the Nosturi and OpenExpo blogs and collaborates with the Association of Archivists of Castilla y León, of which he is a member.

1- How important is document management today for companies?

The document management system, which establishes the policy, the objectives and the framework of guidelines to control the documents, is often confused with the document management software , which is the computer tool that helps us comply with that system. All companies produce documents in the development of their activity and require some system to manage them properly, but not in all cases does it incorporate document management software. One of the reasons why there is less and less differentiation between SGD and document management software is that, in a context dominated by electronic documentation, technology is essential to apply a document management model. Although some office filing cabinets can more or less solve the needs of a small business or an independent professional who only has the obligation to keep the invoices they issue and receive, they have many limitations when we have several document series, we are certified (or we want to be certified ) in some ISO standard or we need to automate processes, to mention only a few typical examples.

2- Is it only suitable for large companies?

Any company can implement a document management model regardless of its number of employees and billing. Although document management continues to be associated with large accounts, which are the target market for most providers of this type of service, in the last decade two phenomena have occurred that are allowing organizations with fewer resources to also access solutions of professional document management and consider adopting your own SGD. One is cloud computing, which reduces IT infrastructure costs, and another is the consolidation of free and open source document management software, with a more competitive total cost of ownership.

Cloud computing has allowed organizations with fewer resources to also access professional document management solutions.

3- How much does it cost to have document management?

What we have to ask ourselves is whether a company can bear the costs of poor document management. Not finding or not producing a document required by law carries significant penalties, which vary depending on the legislative and regulatory requirements of the sector. In the pharmaceutical sector, for example, not presenting evidence to the administration that it is operating in accordance with Law 29/2006 is penalized with fines of up to €600,000 and, in the most serious cases, the suspension of the laboratory’s activity. Nor are SMEs and social entities exempt from these obligations. A small mediation and conflict resolution association that safeguards documentation of minors without the proper security measures can be sanctioned by the Data Protection Agency with fines of between €40,001 and €300,000.

4- Is it safe to have documents in document management?

Absolutely. A SGD reduces the risks of not creating or retrieving adequate documents and ensures that they remain authentic, reliable, complete and usable throughout their life cycle.

What we have to ask ourselves is whether a company can bear the costs of poor document management

5- If you had to say just one, what is the greatest advantage of document management?

Although my clients would surely answer that the greatest advantage of document management is cost savings or the peace of mind of never losing a document again –undoubtedly two of its main advantages–, as an archivist what I value most is that it allows us to know the actions of both public and private organizations and make informed decisions. We must not lose sight of the fact that documents are, above all, evidence.

6- And the biggest drawback?

Perhaps the biggest drawback of document management is its lack of knowledge. Archivists perceive that the value that our profession brings, not only to companies, but to society as a whole, is ignored. As a result, many organizations mistakenly believe that document management costs more than it is worth. If they were to carefully compare the cost of a DMS implementation project and the cost of poor document management, they would see that their return on investment is considerably faster than that of other services and products they buy. An even more unfortunate consequence is the lack of personnel in the public archives, which also directly affects the rights of citizens.

Many organizations mistakenly think that document management costs more than it is worth

7- Where do you think the future of the sector lies?

The future of the sector is clearly linked to the current digital transformation. Only a minority of archivists coming out of universities will work on historical archives. Although much work remains to be done in these archives and public administrations should dedicate much more resources to them, those who most demand the services that a specialist in document management can offer are electronic administrations and companies that seek to move towards paperless work environments and capitalize on the knowledge they produce.

8- What challenges do you think it will face in the medium term?

I usually say that the challenge that lies ahead is no longer so much to digitize the archives, but rather to archive the digital. The increase in native digital information poses new problems, such as the long-term preservation of these electronic documents or ensuring the reliability and relevance of open data, which will not be resolved solely with a technological approach. This challenge is a great opportunity to make visible and value the work that information professionals do.

The challenge that lies ahead is no longer so much to digitize the archives, but rather to archive the digital

9- A wish for the future of the sector…

We have to ensure that there is no archive without filing cabinets. Archives are guarantors of our rights and it is unjustifiable that most of them do not have sufficient means to carry out the functions provided for in our legal system.