Document control software has changed a lot over the years. Document control has always changed to take advantage of the latest developments. Its roots go all the way back to ancient Egypt, and there are signs that new developments may be on their way.
Humans have been collecting and organizing documents ever since the first recordable information appeared. History is full of libraries. Many of these early collections disappeared as the papyrus scrolls, Ogham staffs, and other degradable documents gradually rotted away. These ancient libraries and knowledge stores weren’t just important because of the knowledge they contained, but also because of the way people contained them. Libraries don’t just hold documents; they organize them. Libraries introduced the idea of easier storage and retrieval. Even today, you can walk into a library you’ve never been to before and find a book. So long as you know the system used to organize the books, you can find what you need pretty easily. Advancements like filing folders and filing cabinets made document organization easier to manage in an office environment. They also made it easier to secure documents.
Once personal computers appeared, it was time for a new evolution of document management. The first PCs had relatively small memories, and once people realized they needed a way to store documents created digitally, the first filing systems appeared. These all, more or less, functioned like a physical filing cabinet. All documents went to one pace, and in order to organize them from there, users created layers of files. The biggest file often acted like a single drawer in a filing cabinet, and within users could create files based on individual cases, client names, project types, etc. Alphabetical organization remains one of the most popular organizational tools, and it works for some projects, but it’s woefully inadequate for full document control.
Tandem Development and Growth
Document control software adapts to new developments quickly, and this has created a kind of tandem growth between document control products and major digital advances. The advent of search engines, for example, dramatically changed how document control software links users and documents. Cloud technology is another major shift, and more document control software now takes advantage of this highly-accessible system to make work easier.
Today, artificial intelligence programs are coming online. The VA is using one to improve patient health through early diagnosis. Their AI makes this possible by assessing the various risk factors provided in the VA’s endless collection of big data. Although such programs are new and still in relatively early development, they will more than likely be ready for general consumers within the next ten years or so. This signals another change in document control software. Machine learning is a perfect tool for many document control challenges.
Document control software has come a long way. It’s safe to assume it will continue its evolution well into the future. Do you think developers will choose to integrate AI in the next generation of products? How do you think document control will adapt?