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Effective Document Management with SAP DMS

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Effective Document Management with SAP DMS

SAP DMS Project Complexity

SAP DMS projects are not considered to be the most complicated and complex projects in the world of SAP. They are not as complex as setting up finance or manufacturing, for instance. These are in fact, generally light in terms of configuration and transactions. The number of various types of documents the user wants to manage, along with the rules for each document, affect the overall complexity of an SAP DMS project. For instance, in a complex project, the user many like to manage all documents created by their finance, engineering and purchasing departments. Imagine, this would mean that more than 300 unique types of documents. For each unique document, user would have to think about rules, like: How would I like to search for the document? What is its lifecycle? What are the security rules? These are simply a few rules which are required to be defined.

In a simple project, the user might only like to manage the documents which come from a customer and then attach them to the appropriate customer record in the SAP system. This is very simple and straightforward project as the user is working on developing rules for only one type of document.

As listed above, the overall complexity of the project increases with the number of various types of documents which have to be managed.

Resources Needed for Project

A SAP DMS implementation project typically requires a varied set of resources, which encompass the following:

  • SAP Application Consultant: The SAP application consultant typically works with busi- ness users for defining a process for each document which is stored. Nce this process is defined, the SAP application consultants map it to the SAP system and complete the process of SAP configuration.
  • Business Users: Business personnel are well-aware about the rules for the documents which are being stored, like whose approval is required on a document before it becomes official. Business users will work with the SAP application consultant for mapping out a process for the documents being saved.
  • SAP Basis/IT Infrastructure Resources: The SAP Basis/IT infrastructure resources set up the infrastructure components required for supporting the SAP DMS. This comprises of cache servers, conversion servers, content servers and TREX. On the first activities to be accomplished in a project is setting up the infrastructure components.

The user may have one or many of each of these resource types, all depending again on the number of documents the user plans to store in the system.

Queries Before Starting Your SAP DMS Project

Before initiating the SAP DMS project, user is required to answer many questions and consider a few things. At this point in the process, the user should focus on defining his requirements and goals, instead of thinking about what the SAP DMS system can do. Post preparing a solid foundation and plan, the information can be used very effectively when the user begins configuring and using the SAP DMS system.

Defining the requirements and goals is extremely important to the overall success of the project. A goal can be achieved efficiently with proper planning and insight. This chapter talks about the basic considerations the user is required to address before initiating his SAP DMS project.

Defining Which Documents to Manage with SAP DMS

The first step in your SAP DMS project is defining the documents the user wants to manage. Daily, a business can generate thousands of documents, which comprise of the intellectual capital and value of that business. Some of the documents generated are trivial, however the others are critical to the production and sale of products. The critical documents would include product specifications, financial documents, CAD drawings, test reports and product literature. A company cannot purchase, create or sell goods, without these critical documents. These are the types of documents which should be managed within the SAP DMS.

In case, a company is using the SAP software, it is most likely that business processes such as manufacturing, sales, purchasing, engineering, and finance are all being executed and managed within the SAP system. The user typically selects the documents which support business processes, when identifying which documents for managing within the SAP DMS. Key documents are then put together into one location where the business process is being executed. The data becomes more easily available, less difficult to find, and all the updates can be managed in a more controlled manner.

How Documents Fit Into the Overall Business Process

The next critical step is defining how the documents the user wants to manage fits into the overall business process with which they are associated. Are these documents created or required at specific steps in the process? Which are the business objects are documents associated with? The user should map out his business in a process flow. For each step in the flow, the user can identify which documents are required. The user should look for the important things in each document and what it feeds downstream or what it triggers.

For instance, it is good practice that each company has a process in place for the development and introduction of new products. During this process, certain documents are required to be moved to the next phase or maturity level of the product design. If the user is in the “prototype” phase of your product design, the user will require drawings to be released at a certain status, suggesting that they can be used for building prototypes however not production parts. Along with the drawings, the user may require documents like specifications and finite elements analysis reports.

How to Search for Stored Documents

With SAP DMS the user is not just storing files or attachments, but also storing attributes. Few examples of standard attributes stored with each file are listed below:

  • Owner
  • Description
  • Responsible lab office

Along with standard attributes the user can also store additional attributes, which can be used for searching for the stored documents.

For instance, if the user is storing CAD drawings, he may want to know in which CAD application and release of the application the drawings were initially created. He may also like to know the size of the drawing, and which all customers are using it. These are a few examples of additional attributes.

This is a very critical topic, and the user should make the required effort for defining and adding document attributes which are required for fulfilling your search requirements. This will prevent the user ultimately from creating an unstructured and unsearchable system.

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