The Evolution of Document Control Systems

The Evolution of Document Control Systems
May 21, 2013 seouser

There is no doubt that document control systems have changed a lot over the years, but when you stop to look back over the many changes, it shows that perhaps there are still many more changes to come. Way back in the good old days, before the advent of computers, the internet and other sorts of technological wonders, business folk had to rely on hard copies. Not just that – they had to devise a suitable way to store those hard copies, and manage edits and revisions as well. Of course, this was not an easy feat at all. Luckily, things slowly began to shift in the world of document control.

How Has Document Control Changed Over the Years?

From filing cabinets to the cloud, the past two hundred years or so have certainly changed the way that we work. In fact, it’s only when looking back at the early versions of document control that we can fully appreciate just how far things have come. Just take a look at these major milestones that have shaped the present (and future) of document management…

  1. The Filing Cabinet – invented by Edwin Seibels in the late 1800s, the filing cabinet was the very first proper organization of paper documents, which would change the way that we stored, found and accessed files, folders and various other documents. It also led to a number of job opportunities for decades after that point (even if these were not the most inspiring positions).
  2. The Server – it took a very long time after the first innovation, but eventually, servers came into our world. The main need for such things, especially in terms of document control, was that hard copy documents took up a lot of room. Paperwork is quite messy too, especially when there are piles of it all over the place. Servers began with central mainframes, and soon evolved into client servers that could store documents electronically.
  3. The Computer – of course, computers were the next logical step, and not a very big step up from those early servers. At first, computers were connected to a LAN (local area networks), with information also stored in a shared system. But soon, it was possible to store data on computers, while also creating and editing documents with ease. There was still no simple, organised way to keep data secure without a lack of structure though.
  4. Document Management Software – before long, the document control systems that are used today came into being. The original versions were clunky, not very secure at all, and often not easy to use either. The cloud brought new features, while technology paved the way for a central system that could be accessed from any computer, anywhere in the world.

Of course, there is far more in the story from that point onwards. The cloud developed, smartphones came into everyday life, and computers changed too. But while it is true that document control will continue to evolve, it will always be in huge demand for just about everyone who uses documents.