Managing documents comes with a list of administrative tasks that are not the most exciting to perform and yet they are important. Document management software comes with the necessary tools to handle the entire lifecycle of your documents and what’s more, it is a paperless solution that saves enterprises hundreds of dollars.
This software is used to capture electronic data, store documents as well as track them. you can think of it as a filing cabinet with the ability to find documents you need and determine what’s done with the documents.
Document management technology helps in management of content. With this software, you can add controls and management ability to ordinary documents. This software handles the entire lifecycle of documents.
It is common to ask if a particular technology is for your organization. This one is suited for any company that deals with documents and would like to save money, space, and time. Some enterprises though may need it more than others for example healthcare providers are mandated by law to have electronic record systems. Law and accounting firms can also benefit from such software since they have to handle large volumes of documents. But whether the need for this technology is critical or convenient, the benefits of using such a system can convince enterprises and businesses both small and large to adopt it.
If you decide to purchase this software, it would be good to understand what it will do for you. Certain common features of the best document management system can help guide your expectations.
Here are the key abilities to consider:
The software acts as your electronic cabinet. You can store documents in different formats ranging from ordinary DOCX to media files. The storage varies from ordinary storage on your PC as it adds tags and indexing along with metadata for easy access.
Documents can be stored using metadata which describes the document. The descriptions can be the author of the documents, so all documents authored by the accountant may be stored in a single location. Other descriptions include time, date, file type, etc.
Paper documents can also be stored within the system using a scan and capture method. You can scan your paper documents and they will be saved as an image. Some sophisticated software can extract the data from paper documents and enter into another document for storage and use.
This is important in managing the lifecycle of a document. The system will have a dashboard that a user can use to track tasks related to the documents. For example, a contract that needs to be renewed will show up on the dashboard for action to be taken. The software coordinates schedules for the document lifecycle.
Just like you would expect a cabinet to provide a level of security for a paper document, the document management system will keep documents safe. Unlike a cabinet though, this software can restrict access to a particular document while granting access to another, this means private documents will only be accessed by authorized individuals while other documents and templates can be accessed by everyone. This is done using encryption, access authentication as well as other security features installed by the manufacturer.
It may be necessary for users to communicate as they collaborate on a particular document. Some software comes with chat options so that you do not need to leave the work environment to communicate with another person.
Document generation may involve the creation of different versions, but the software retains a master copy so that it doesn’t get confusing which is the approved version of a document. Edits made to the document are indicated and may have a time stamp. Approval of a version is done by authorized individuals only so everyone will remain on the same page.
This is done to make it easier to find a document. Documents can be tagged with distinctive terms so that they can be found easily. The tags could be invoice numbers, company names, dates, and so on.
In a fast-paced world where work is done on the go, it is important to access your documents anytime and from anywhere. Cloud deployment makes this possible and you should consider choosing a cloud based document management solution.
Teamwork is emphasized by most organizations so your solution should make it possible for people to collaborate on a document. Find out if they support collaboration.
A lot of work today is done using mobile devices, just like the convenience cloud deployment provides, mobile access makes it possible to access documents on the go. The phone camera can also be used to capture paper documents and store them in the system.
As your company grows, you will need a solution that can grow with you. This should also apply if your company decides to scale down. Understand what it will cost you to scale up or down.
If you run into any problems using the software, it is necessary to have assistance on hand. Find out how customer support is provided and to what extent. Do they simply help you set up and after that, you are on your own? You may even need support to carry out the training of staff.
Sometimes you may not need customer support because the product is so easy to use. Customer-friendly solutions are much better than those that require you have customer support on speed dial.
There are so many products out there and the pricing varies. Compare prices and understand why the software is priced as it is. Do not choose a solution simply because it seems cheap or expensive.
What hardware and software are you already using? Are you ready to change or upgrade? Alternatively, it would be better if you choose a solution that will easily integrate with what you already have. The best DMS will be compatible with any of the common systems used.
Find out how long it will take to implement the solution and what will be involved. Gauge if the process is one you are ready to go through or find one that suits the time and resources you have.
This is the part of the guide where we justify the amount of money you will spend on a DMS and the adjustments you will have to make. Sometimes people need that extra push even after they understand what a product is.
So here’s the push:
With document management services, every document is safely stored on the server or in the cloud and can be accessed easily. This will save time that you would have spent searching for a document or having to reproduce the document. With the time saved, you can focus on other activities that help to grow the business.
Businesses that use management software report less time spent serving customers and this means customers are happier. One of the annoying practices for customers is the amount of time it takes to find their documents or even worse, being informed their documents are missing. This never happens with the right DMS in place.
Some industries are under obligation to have digital record systems and this software makes it easier to comply with those guidelines.
The software provides tools for users to collaborate. Some of the tools include highlighters, side notes, and chat among others. This enables users to work within the system when collaborating.
Digital documents mean less dependence on paper, which means an organization can cut down or even out, paper expense. Also, the better and faster customer service will attract more customers as well as retain the ones who are already signed up. This brings in more money to an organization.
Documents are much safer when saved electronically. It's harder for unauthorized individuals to get hold of them and even in case of a disaster like fire or flooding, a cloud-based solution will ensure that the documents are still safe and accessible so that business can carry on.
You will find several types of document management systems in the market, use this guide as a handy reference to help you make a choice. Do not ignore user reviews as most of them will provide honest feedback about the performance of the software. It is also important for you to start by listing key features you would want and that will help eliminate solutions that do not suit your need.