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Document Control: what is it and what key features should your system include?

Learn the basics of document control and the fundamental characteristics that your system must have for an effective and organized document management.
Picture of Almudena Delgado

Almudena Delgado

When we talk about document control, the first question that arises is: is document management the same as document control? As we will see, they are related concepts and document control is a sub-activity of the set of operations involved in document management.

Document management refers to an integral process that is responsible for efficiently and effectively managing all the documents and records that an organization generates, receives or uses in its daily activities. This process involves various activities, including the capture, classification, indexing, storage, retrieval, distribution, preservation and disposition of documents in an organized and secure manner.

Documentary control refers to the specific ways in which the document management process ensures that documents are available only to authorized persons and preserves the integrity of the information and data contained in the documents throughout their life cycle, from their creation and storage to their review, approval, distribution and obsolescence.

Document control is essential to ensure the integrity, authenticity, confidentiality and availability of the information contained in documents. It also helps optimize work processes, reduce the risk of loss or misuse of information and comply with auditing and regulatory compliance requirements.

Elements of document control

In order to carry out document control, it will be necessary, broadly speaking:

  • A document creation procedure that includes specific guidelines and/or templates to ensure consistency and uniformity in format and content.
  • Assign unique identifiers to each document to differentiate them easily and make them easy to find.
  • Centralize documents and records in an accessible repository, either physical or digital, for efficient management.
  • Version control: implement a system that records the changes and revisions made to a document over time, thus preventing possible confusion about the most recent version. And leaving a record of the modifications made.
  • Establish document review and approval flows to ensure that they comply with the established requirements.
  • Oversee the distribution of documents to relevant stakeholders, while ensuring that unauthorized access is restricted.
  • Facilitate the efficient retrieval and access to documents by authorized personnel, while protecting confidential and sensitive information.
  • Define guidelines for document retention periods and adopt appropriate methods for their disposal, ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Training and awareness-raising so that the organization’s personnel are familiar with document control procedures and properly trained to follow the guidelines.

Document control functionality that your document management platform must include

In practice, ensuring that documents are controlled throughout their life cycle is much easier to manage with the help of document management software that, in addition to centralizing and storing files, includes functionality for:

  • Document classification: the proper classification of documents is fundamental to organize information in a logical and coherent way. This implies categorizing documents according to their type, subject, date or any other relevant criteria. Classification facilitates document search and retrieval, as it allows users to quickly find the information they need.
    In the case of Athento, it is possible to define classification tables and link digital content to a codified hierarchical structure of document series.
control documental, cuadro de clasificación documental
  • Indexing: Indexing is the process of assigning search terms, metadata or tags to documents to facilitate their retrieval. Indexing terms may include keywords, file names, dates or any other relevant information. By indexing documents appropriately, the search process is streamlined and the accuracy of results is upgraded.

    Athento not only supports a multitude of field types to record document data, but also has advanced character recognition and document auto-classification functionality. This means that Athento is able to analyze and extract document data and assign, export and validate metadata.

  • Version control: Version control is crucial for managing changes to documents over time. This functionality maintains a detailed record of all document-related activities, including edits, revisions, approvals and access history, providing transparency and helping to comply with regulatory requirements by facilitating audits and inspections. This is especially important in collaborative environments where multiple people may be working on the same document. Version control ensures the integrity and consistency of documents over time. And it ensures that the latest version of the document is accessed, preventing the use or distribution of incorrect or obsolete versions.

    In addition to the audit trail of changes to documents and records, Athento has the functionality of Check-in and Check-out of documents. Thus, it is possible to lock and unlock documents manually or automatically so that they cannot be edited for a period of time (for example, when working collaboratively) or definitively (final versions of documents).

  • Controlled access: Controlled access is essential to ensure information security. It allows you to define who has access to which documents and what actions they can perform on them. This helps protect confidential information and prevent unauthorized access. Controlled access can be implemented by assigning permissions and user roles according to the needs and responsibilities of each user.
    In addition to the authentication or login system, Athento allows publishing documents for external users without access to the platform and the possibility of managing controlled and uncontrolled copies indicating in the documents if the file may not be the latest version of the same.
ciclo de vida de la solicitud de credito
  • Retention policies and backups. Document retention policies are guidelines established by an organization to determine how long documents should be retained before disposal. These policies are essential to ensure legal and regulatory compliance, as well as to efficiently manage document storage. By clearly defining which documents must be retained, for how long and when they can be securely disposed of, companies can reduce the risk of litigation, comply with legal requirements and optimize their document management processes.

    Athento allows you to apply retention policies on documents and mark documents as expired. It also has backup policies to guarantee the stability and integrity of information.

In addition to the previous functionalities, Athento incorporates the following intelligent functionality to facilitate document control:

  • Document duplicity control. Athento is able to detect and notify when duplicate documents are uploaded to the system. It is also possible to configure automatic deletion.
  • Detect incomplete files. Athento is able to detect when a file is not complete and create work queues or lists with these incomplete files to facilitate their management.
  • Notices of expiration or document expiration. With Athento it is possible to automatically create trays or workflows to review or update documents based on date metadata.
  • Notify reviewers when a document is updated. To facilitate document control, Athento allows automatic notification when a document is modified by creating a new version of it.
  • Generation of documents from templates. This functionality allows the use of templates to generate PDFs in a massive and automated way while maintaining control of the contractual clauses or service conditions.
  • Automatic image indexing with AI. Using AI to create and assign descriptions to images helps upgrade their retrieval time and reduce manual cataloging work.
IA aplicada a las búsquedas de imágenes

If your organization needs to regain control over documentation, write to us and tell us about your project. We are here to help you.