Annotation is the ability to add comments to a document without altering the original document. It also includes adding "stamps," such as "draft" or "secret," to a document to warn readers of its special status or simply highlighting specific portions of the text.
Redaction is the ability to hide selected portions of the text using "blackout" or "whiteout." This is commonly done in documents that must be released to the public, but require that certain information, such as social security numbers, be hidden.
A document management system should allow you to control who has the ability to annotate or redact a document and to guarantee that the original document is not affected in any way so that users with the proper permission can still see the original.
Workflow is the ability to route a document from one person to another. Most of the work in a modern office involves the movement of documents within an organization. A document management system allows this to happen electronically, which has several benefits over routing documents manually:
▲ The status of a document is available at all times.
▲ A document cannot get lost or left under a pile of papers.
▲ The document is less likely to be misfiled and is more easily found if misfiled.
▲ Productivity based on the length of time a document is in a particular step in the process is easier to calculate.
▲ Alerts can be generated if a document is in a given step for too long.
Workflow can be of two different types:
▲ Serial or Linear. The document flows in a single path from one person or department to another until the workflow is complete. As a single step, only one person can route the document to the next task.
▲ Parallel or Group. The document can routed to the next step by more than one person. For example, a wire transfer is approved if any one of two different financial managers approves it for transfer. Or a proposal may require the approval of two different managers in a single step before going on to the next step.
Workflow can significantly improve productivity if implemented and used correctly. It can also eliminate the need to make copies of a document along its work path, resulting in a tremendous savings of paper.
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