Today, businesses are highly dependent on digital documents as they are easy to access and manage . With the need and dependence on physical documents diminishing, the difference between digital information & documents is becoming blurred.
Hence, the question arises if the two terms, information and documents, are interchangeable in business processes. While the answer as of now is NO, but it may soon change to a YES!
In a pure business context - Information is nothing but data presented in a structured manner and a digital document is nothing but information presented in a structured manner along with the context of the information.
In light of this, we can always share documents by sharing the information, structure and context of the document between parties. In many cases where documents are exchanged periodically we can just share the structure and context once and then continue sharing only the information between parties. Both sides can then generate documents from the information shared with previously shared structure and context.
The simplest example could be that of an invoice – we can share the invoice structure (template) and the context (PO details) once and then every month the invoice could be a collection of data shared across, which meets structure and context on the other side to generate document if needed.
There could be certain challenges in adopting this paradigm, like trust, signature, source checking etc. but they are all solvable with the current stage of technology.
Future of document management will change with the new paradigm and it will mostly become information management which will be much more efficient and easier to manage with very little human intervention.