Advanced document management directly in the ERP system
Even the best ERP systems are not ready to address advanced document management, and additional self-development of this agenda and functionality is not an economically efficient solution. Therefore, with increasing demands on business processes, many companies decide to purchase a DMS (document management system), a number of which are available on the market. However, these are usually not prepared by the manufacturer to integrate with your business system. There are not many applications to solve this problem… but whoever seeks will find it.
By eliminating repetitive inefficient manual steps in working with documents, each company increases the productivity of its employees. By properly setting up the DMS system and consequently automatic electronic document circulation, the company processes are generally accelerated and significant time and financial savings can be achieved. But when choosing DMS and ideally already when choosing ERP, it is good to consider whether their mutual integration is possible.
Why is a separate DMS correct but insufficient choice
Document management systems provide many advanced, user-friendly features such as real-time remote collaboration, reservation of part of a document for editing, automatic version saving and document change information, search by feature or fulltext, linking documents to information in the ERP system and many other. An integral part is a workflow for automating processes or approving documents.
A significant disadvantage of the implementation of a standalone DMS solution is the work in two different environments - ERP and DMS. This reduces comfort and efficiency at work and increases the time it takes to integrate users across multiple applications. At the same time, the company has higher costs for administrators who have to manage both systems.
ERP and DMS integration
Integration solutions between ERP and DMS systems provide a host of other advanced functionality and eliminate the above drawbacks. Usually, these are ready-made package solutions that are easy to implement in existing systems without the need for further development.
One of the most widespread DMS solutions on the Czech and Slovak markets is Microsoft SharePoint, which can be both on-premises and in an attractive on-line variant (cloud). The system comes from Microsoft and therefore offers its coexistence with the ERP system from the same manufacturer. Although these are different platforms whose integration is not native, the efficiency of working with documents can be shifted by integrating the integration module between SharePoint and ERP Dynamics NAV (or Dynamics 365).
How easy can work with documents be?
One of the few platforms available between ERP and DMS is NavSherpa, which takes document work to the next level. The general and invaluable benefit of deploying such a solution is the ability to manage work with documents and run workflow processes in only one environment - ERP. The NavSherpa integration module reads data from it, which it works with and transfers it to SharePoint. The user puts the document into the ERP, simply by drag & drop, and the process of processing, approving and saving to SharePoint runs in the background. Directly in the ERP system, it is possible to view and view all associated documents (eg to a given customer) as if the user were working in a SharePoint environment.
Automated file naming and document property metadata assignment. In practice, this means that if you have filled in the customer code, project, center, document type, etc., when entering a document into DMS, this data is now automatically added. Eliminating manual actions such as selecting a destination folder, naming a file, or version name will unify document sorting and reduce the risk of human error.
Based on the metadata and the configured roles of ERP users, the integration module provides information on who should approve the document and notifies the approver of the task. The user can see the approval status in real time.
NavSherpa can automatically create a structure for storing documents (folders, libraries and even entire sites) in a SharePoint environment automatically. All of that "only" using data stored in Dynamics NAV and according to the location in the ERP where the user works with the document. As a result, the company does not have to employ a DMS system administrator and the users themselves do not have to control the document management platform technologies.
Ing. Kateřina Tillingerová