During the late 1990s, there was a growing trend for workflow management systems. These were initiated by large computer companies for the use of the enterprise class. Part of these systems was enterprise email and messaging, and document management software. Nowadays, the paperless office is still slowly growing in maturity with the help of cloud computing. Still, the core of the enterprise remains to be the management of data and flow of documents.
There are a lot of things to consider when creating or conceptualizing document management software. There is the validation that the item has been read, commented on, passed quality assurance, approved, and audited. There are of course side distributions that do not have to be in the foreground. Things like being sent to a whole department for analysis or for a small circle of people who are eyes only, and have the final say on the document. Some documents do not even need to have a limited distribution, but has to be worked on as a group. Online collaboration tools have found their way into software as a service (SaaS) offerings. These things all have to be considered and then configured for use by the enterprise.
Another important component is a shared calendar. This online calendar might include appointments, external meetings with clients, project schedules as well as projections of all sorts. Wrapping it around a calendar might not even be possible for some activities, however, big companies have proven that when they ask for a feature, this is usually accomplished in one way or another.
What is important is that the company should be able to implement their own controls, checks and balances onto a live workflow. This might mean a reengineering of the whole process. Implementing a document management system through document management software would mean configuring it to conform to manual processes, and then streamlining the whole process to take into account the advantages of an automated system. It might take several iterations on paper at least, before it gets approved.
Finally, integrating the whole thing takes a great effort for all stakeholders. The end users have to embrace it. Management, the champions of the whole endeavor would be pushing for it. Stockholders would want the enterprise to perform better and faster after all the cost of the software. Bottom line is that this is a great effort, and the more successful it is, the less the public would see it.