Harnessing the Power of Schemas in Document Management

Optimizing document control and discovery with structured management of unstructured data

by Regan Wolfrom

One of the reasons why documents are known as unstructured data is because they do not have a fixed set of properties. While you may have a form that has specific fields to be filled in, you likely have multiple types of documents to manage, and even among one specific form, you may have a wide range of acceptable inputs allowed, even entire sections that are filled out in some cases and left blank in others.

And even in an organization with a well-oiled system of forms and other document templates, there will always be some documents that just don’t fit in with the others.

So a good, flexible document management system allowed for this lack of structure. But a good, flexible document management system also allows you to enforce structure where you need it.

With FormKiQ, we enable this flexibility and structure with Schemas.

A screenshot of FormKiQ's Schema Management

Understanding Schemas in Document Management

At its core, a schema in document management defines the structure, content, and metadata of documents within a system. It's like a blueprint that dictates how documents should be organized, classified, and accessed.

By utilizing schemas, FormKiQ ensures that documents must adhere to a predefined format in order to be considered a valid document within the specified classification, making it easier to validate, store, and retrieve them efficiently.

The Primary Role of Schemas: Validation

The Primary Role of Schemas: Validation

Schemas allow specific workflows and actions to be triggered on valid documents, and can even create an alternative path for documents that are not valid, such as creating a NIGO (“not-in-good-order”) task to enable the document to be modified or otherwise handled.

Validation comes with a combination of required, default, and optional attributes that can be specified for a document class.

For example, an “invoice” class can be created that would require metadata such as invoice number, date of issue, buyer and seller information, the total amount due, and payment terms.

Optional attributes could include a purchase order number, taxes, and notes, while there could also be default attributes like currency.

When a document is assigned to that class, it would need to meet the validation criteria in order to be set as a valid document for that class. This validation is handled within FormKiQ, versus in an external client application, in order to ensure that all documents meet these requirements, no matter how they arrived in the system.

Schemas and Document Discovery

Schemas and Document Discovery

Schemas also enable more efficient document discovery. One of the most important advantages of a scalable document management system is that as more documents and metadata are added or more users are onboarded, the performance of the system is not negatively impacted by the increase in data or usage.

FormKiQ enables more efficient discovery with schemas, providing a way to set up the most common search paths with composite keys of metadata.

For example, an invoice that should be searchable by both invoice number and customer name can use a composite key, enabling a cost-effective and high-performance search to be performed without requiring additional infrastructure.

There are other ways to search for documents, of course, such as using fulltext search or more complex queries, but most high-usage discovery can be performed more effectively by using these schemas.


By using schemas to enforce validation and standardization, and to enable more efficient infrastructure usage, organizations can manage their documents and other information more effectively, ultimately leading to better decision-making and operational excellence.

Discover the potential of leveraging schemas for your organization. To learn more about FormKiQ, please contact us or schedule a consultation call.