Three Ways SAP DMS Can Transform Your Document Control

by David Salamanek

What Is SAP DMS?

SAP’s Document Management System (DMS) is an advanced file storage, document control, and digital asset management and revision application found within the SAP ECC business platform. SAP DMS by itself is powerful enough to handle many Enterprise Resource Planning and Product Life Cycle Management document operations within mid to large-sized corporations. When looking to store important files or documents, provision these files for teams across many regions, and secure them for business reliability and compliance reasons, the SAP DMS is the key to a successful content repository plan in any company. Additionally, linking Document Records through SAP DMS into top-level SAP applications such as Production Planning, Plant Maintenance, Purchasing, Sales, and other modules, provides easy and central access to documents, keeping them secure and consistent throughout the enterprise.

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SAP DMS Benefits

The following three benefits outline critical SAP DMS functionality and provide a key overview of how this powerful Document Management System can transform your own document control needs.

One: Nail Down Document Creation and Editing Workflows

Within SAP DMS, Document Records are created. These are the equivalent of file folders in any standard Operating System. Within them, engineering drawings and files of any format or type can be stored for safekeeping. Security of the SAP system is inherited by the document records and can be opened to specific groups of users or individual users themselves. Files contained within these Records are centrally managed by SAP’s world-class business servers.

These Document Records also contain several key elements expanding the available information, including:

  • Document properties or information about the files being stored. For example, file size, page count, application types, storage location, and more.
  • Classification data which is additional metadata related to the document but could pertain to other records of interest (e.g., fault tolerances on high-pressure pipe systems, something that may not be normally stored within the file or the direct file properties, etc.)
  • Links to other SAP objects as mentioned before (purchase orders or other SAP-related materials)

SAP provides an intuitive document workflow function called a status network to track and control documents at the various stages of their lifecycle. From check-in of a file into the system, like a good librarian SAP notes the record contents and status and stores it appropriately.

As an example of document status workflow, the record begins its lifecycle usually at “In Work” or “New.” This record can then be reviewed, edited, updated, or deleted depending on the functions available to the users managing it. In addition, the record can be moved along in the status network to “In Review.” At this point, the original file is usually locked down. The “lockdown” is so no changes are allowed while the document is reviewed by a document controller or engineering manager depending on its content. If the record is not approved, it usually returns to “In Work” with additional notes or tasks for the document owner to correct or add. Finally, when the record is approved, it then steps to the “Released” state, and can be added to other important business work for use in the field, on a plant floor, with customer orders, or other available SAP business operations.

1-DMS-Workflow-300x155 Three Ways SAP DMS Can Transform Your Document ControlAdditionally, SAP enables file conversions utilizing advanced external file converters at these various lifecycle status steps. With automated conversion, we can take the original file in any format and make it a PDF or other 2D/3D universally viewable file type. With PDF or 3D PDF, it’s much easier to review the information in the document record and for document controllers to see what they’re working with without having to purchase expensive licenses or install additional software on their machines.

Two: Travelling Users, Globetrotting Files

SAP DMS is the front end, effectively the user interface, and enables linking to many modern file repositories available today. With SAP DMS we can store files handed to it on regular Windows network shares to more complex document management archives such as SAP’s own KPRO (Knowledge Provider), Documentum, … and more.

Linking the files rather than storing them inside SAP allows for efficient globally accessible sharing and storage. With networked file share, and cloud storage capability, your users can be anywhere in the world and have all the documents of the entire company at their fingertips. For more details on cloud availability for your SAP system, check out SAP’s own cloud storage page: https://cloudplatform.sap.com/index.html.

2-Global-Files-300x151 Three Ways SAP DMS Can Transform Your Document ControlUsing the right tools for storage and caching, users around the world can collaborate on the same files in real-time. This saves connection issues with wide area networks, setting up user access for every user globally to the same system network, and bandwidth concerns for remote users or locations with poor connections.

Three: One File for Many Objectives

With so many files floating around, do you find that the same file is being used in multiple operations? When it’s one or two of these, it can be easily overlooked as unnecessary waste, but no bother as it serves its purpose. However, when many locations and business operations use the same file over and over, they start to get out of hand. Not to mention keeping the versions in sync!

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With SAP DMS, a document record is available for use in all business functions. Using smart object linking, the record containing the engineering document or other drawings can be easily linked and relinked across many orders or SAP modules as needed. This not only saves space on the network drives, but also retains consistent and reliable data control meaning that one file is the true representation of that information across the enterprise.

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