If your company is in the market for a new document management system, it’s likely that you’ve already pinpointed areas where your current processes are not working well. That’s actually quite common. There’s just too much information coming into businesses. You have documents emailed, faxed, and brought in via hard copy. You might have paper bills, electronic records, and information transmitted via text or phone call. You’ll also have information derived from your website and face-to-face meetings.
Just thinking about how to organize all those different methods of communication can make your head spin.
When you start researching, you’ll find that there are a lot of different document management solutions on the market. Most of them offer specific benefits, and many are extremely proficient at helping your company organize. So how do you choose the best document management solution for your current and future business needs?
10 tips to choose the right document management solution for your business
The first step in figuring out which system fits your needs is assessing what your strengths and weaknesses are. Your company has a current process that works efficiently in some areas but likely needs a boost in others. What you want is a system that will help eliminate the areas where you’re seeing problems while strengthening the productivity all around.
There are many systems on the market, but your own industry and business model needs to be at the center of your decision-making. Here are 10 tips to help you refine your search and choose the right vendor and document management system for your company.
- Assess your own business thoroughly. Before deciding what types of tools to get, you need a firm grasp on how your current system works and what improvements will benefit you. This starts with a full-scale assessment of your documentation process. It’s important that the employee process is noted and that current productivity standards are recorded so that you can benchmark the goals you wish to achieve. Your document management system is an investment that will reap rewards in profit and efficiency, but only if you have set goals and can measure the return on investment.
- Integration with existing systems. Choosing a new document management system does not mean starting over from scratch. You have records of all current and past business dealings already stored in your current system. It’s important that you choose a system that will allow you to integrate with primary programs and transfer data seamlessly. A system which allows for better integration means that employees won’t be tasked with manually keying old data files into the new document management platform, a process fraught with user-created errors and typos. Depending on previous software, there may need to be some manual record keeping if, for instance, you still used antiquated systems that can’t be integrated. Wherever possible, though, integration should be accomplished with as little manual manipulation as possible.
- Usability. Your employees are accustomed to the current software and programs used in your company. While your new document management system will likely have some commands and features that they will need to learn, it should be user-friendly. Many systems and dashboards are created in a universal way that regular internet and technology users can easily master. The more user-friendly your new system is, the shorter the training period will be for employees. This means that productivity will not be impeded for a lengthy period of time.
- Customer support and training. Choose a vendor that offers optimal customer support and training tools for your staff. This might mean that you have a dedicated client support person on call at any time. You should also look for systems that offer plenty of software documentation and training opportunities, on site or through webinars.
- Cost. Cost will always be a factor in upgrades. When you compare the expense for different systems, make sure that you take into account the usability for your company and industry. Choosing the cheapest model might save on the initial expense, but it may not help your company in optimal ROI.
- Cloud vs. onsite systems. Cloud-based systems allow your staff to access information in real time from anywhere. This means that you’ll be able to access current information on the go, during meetings and from home. This can be a great benefit to business efficiency. The alternative is installing an onsite system that can only be used within the walls of the company. The choice between these two models often depends on the industry and company offering. Prior to choosing a vendor, you should know which type of system will work best for your current and future needs.
- Integration with email, mobile, fax, etc. As discussed, there are many avenues to garner information. Consider where you cultivate the majority of your data and documentation, and make certain that the system you choose will integrate with these methods easily.
- Security features and permissions. Security is a top concern for most companies. Verify the measures that your systems offer to protect your information. You should also consider whether you need a system that categorizes user permissions so that employees will need clearance to have access to certain pieces of information.
- Version tracking. Version tracking is an important feature in many companies. This will allow you to see where and when changes in documents were made, and who authored those changes. This feature enables you to return to a previous copy of a document and to track which employee might have authorized changes.
- Industry specifics and compliance. Make sure that you consider how the solution fits your industry and regulatory compliance issues. This might mean choosing a vendor that specializes in your industry or a solution that is customizable for your needs.
Choosing a document management system that better meets your growing needs will streamline your workflow and often increase profits and employee satisfaction. It’s important that you do the research in advance to make sure you’re choosing the best solution for your specific business, with a document management system that offers you the best return for your investment.
As Marketing Communications Manager, Lauren Ford is the dynamic voice behind Square 9 Softworks, a document capture software company. Delivering highly effective messaging across reseller channels, end user communities, and outside agencies, Ford develops, drives and executes communication plans that effectively support Square 9’s overall marketing goals and objectives. To learn more visit https://www.square-9.com/.