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Document control and document management are not the same, but there is always confusion between both concepts. And document management is often used for any task that includes documents. Whereas each of these two concepts has different purposes and characteristics. This blog will help you understand each of them and decide which is more useful for you.
In any company, there is a lot of information to handle, and having well-structured data is vital. If the quality of data is poor, employees will waste their time and productivity will be surely affected.
Often a company starts managing its documents using file-sharing solutions such as Dropbox or Google drive, these are cheap, but the emphasis is more on the storage. They offer very basic version control.
Then the company moves to a higher level by using document management tools.
What is Document Management?
It is a system in which documents can be safely stored, indexed, accessed, archived, version-controlled, or deleted.
This system generates a sharing environment, so several users can access and modify documents. It also allows them to scan documents and convert them to computer files to manage electronically.
Document management has become a crucial part of modern-day businesses. Because every business care about digitizing their paper documents and having a centralized system for future documents. And document handling systems has made document management easier.
Document systems started as a way of scanning documents into microfiche so that they could be stored and indexed, and easily retrieved. Today it is a system that covers electronic management of information and tends to become a Content Management from a web page point of view, and Knowledge Management in terms of unstructured data.
Therefore, document management is the management of many documents that are mostly short-lived such as emails, letters, contracts, and scanned documents.
An example of a document management system is SharePoint. It is now common that SharePoint to become the synonym of document management. It is a system that allows you to share a document by saving it to a document management server. So, document management provides lists of documents stored on a server with no more than version control.

What Are the Benefits of Document Management?
Document management systems have become the best alternative to traditional manual paperwork. With more companies adopting document management systems the usage of papers has drastically been reduced.
- Centralized storage: All documents are stored in one place which makes the process of storing documents effortless and efficient.
- Control and regulation: with all documents centralized in one place, the administrator will have control of document flows in and out which will enforce the order.
- Security and privacy: with digitalization comes the risk of being hacked. By implementing security mode, companies can secure documents and they can also install privacy settings to hide certain documents from some users.
- Compliance: using contract management software will make it easier to enforce compliance in document management systems. This will eliminate errors and contain any leaks.
- Time and effort-saving documents uploaded on the cloud can be easily found anytime, anywhere by anyone who has access.
- Archiving: document management systems allow users to archive digitally and retrieve documents easily in pristine conditions.
- Disaster management: The backup system saves all documents efficiently to the cloud that can be recovered in case of a clash.
On the other hand, many companies adopted SharePoint or any other system and then let it go. So, what are the disadvantages of document management systems?
- Security: If security controls are not updated regularly hackers will find holes in the system. Any minor lax in security will cost the company to a great extent.
- Loss of data: if documents are not backed up regularly there is a risk of data loss.
Then comes document control as a higher level of the document handling process.
What is Document Control?
A document control system supports the management of files in compliance with regulations and quality management systems for documentation such as FDA, ISO, EudraLex, and others.
It refers to the security and credibility aspects of maintaining your documents. It refers to processes that involve keeping tabs on the current and previous versions of your documents. This involves maintaining document security, document version control, reviewing documents, developing, and maintaining an approval process, and regulating document submission.
This helps maintain a record of data usage, which documents have been used in the past, and who has access to it. So, a controlled document will be secured since you have a record of the initial copy and all the changes that occurred, and by who they were made.
To ensure that everything is kept simplified, you need to make sure that only the latest versions of a document are accessible. Out-dated versions will be archived to keep records as well as a paper trail that can be audited. This audit trail offers a useful tool that allows all parties to access document information quickly and easily, which makes it an essential Document Control protocol.
Document control is essential for businesses of all shapes and sizes for various reasons, it’s not as difficult as it sounds, thanks to document handling systems.
Why do you Need a Document Control System?
If you’re researching document control systems for a highly regulated industry, there’s a strong chance that compliance is a primary concern.
- Strong access control: document control systems introduce strong compliant identity and access management practices to ensure the right people have access to the right documents at the right time.
- Improved compliance: The right document control system simplifies the compliance process with regulatory requirements of document management. Poor document control systems are causes of warning letters from the FDA.
- Transparency of information: Document control systems protect documents from being exposed to the wrong parties, they also provide easy access when needed to authorized parties to any document they need to retrieve.
- Global collaboration: Cloud-based software of document system collaboration can enable real-time global collaboration between a distributed workforce with simple access from desktop computers or mobile devices.
- Disaster recovery: Cloud-based methods can offer distributed storage of documents off-site to ensure your organization can quickly recover from threats to data security.

All organizations can benefit from document control systems. If your organization needs an FDA-compliant solution for managing documentation, identifying a vendor whose software fully complies with CFR 21 Part 11 is crucial like Intellect.
What’s Next?
Now that you've learned about the difference between document management and document control, learn about “The 7 Benefits of Intellect’s Document Control that Made Digital.com Listed as One of the Best in The Market".

Peter Cutler

Written by Peter Cutler