Introduction to Document Management Software
There are a number of software packages and solutions dedicated to tackling the problem of how to efficiently and effectively manage documents in a digital environment. Some offer a simple set of functions that cater to one or two specific needs, while others offer a more comprehensive array of tools, combining document management with additional capabilities as part of a broader suite of software. Because of these differences, comparing Document Management Software is crucial for organisations that are looking to adopt the most cost-effective and practical platform. And price needs to be considered, together with other factors such as the manner in which the software is deployed and the systems with which it is compatible.
For example, some solutions can be installed locally on computers or in-house servers, while others operate solely in the cloud. There are also those which provide a hybrid of these two approaches, introducing an additional layer of flexibility.
The following introduction to document management software is a brief look at just a few of the most popular solutions that are available at the moment.
Document Management Features to consider
There are certain features that you should consider when selecting your next Document Management services. Let’s take a closer look at the most important ones:
A solid document management system should contain these essential functions
· Maintaining a store of electronic documents
· Providing means of keeping these documents secure
· Being able to put the documents in a defined workflow
· Providing comprehensive audit data
· Complying with regulatory requirements
There are two main integration points for any document management software – getting documents into the software and retrieving the documents when necessary. You should check how well your potential document management solution integrates with major ERP and accounting system, and pay special attention to all other systems you’re currently using. If your ERP and Document Management System integrates, then viewing and processing documents is made easier by drilling down from your ERP solution. This will save you time whilst also providing an accurate audit trail of financial transactions.
Your software should also be compatible with your current hardware, such as scanners and printers.
The quick delivery of documents is a priority for customers, who naturally will favour businesses who don’t force them to wait. An important step to fast document management processes is quick results when searching for documents or files. Additionally, it’s important to have different options for searching, such as full text search, which can help you find documents accidentally placed in the wrong folder. You can also search text embedded within documents.
You might need to prepare for moving your accounting solution at some point. For this, you must ensure that your document management product is flexible enough to be taken with you.
This is a simple one, but it can easily be forgotten. We always recommend that you select a software provider with a proven track record of providing solutions to companies like yours. Always look into reviews and customer testimonials before making your decision.
As your company grows, its requirements may change. Perhaps you need to handle a greater number of documents? Always ensure that your chosen document management service is scalable enough to handle all the documents you need, and that they can be of any size or type.
Allowing multiple people to access document at once not only improves productivity, but it’s also essential in order to realise projects that require group coordination. By choosing a software that allows multi-user access, you often also get access to tools that can restrict who can access or edit the files to mitigate the risk of data theft.
File format compatibility
A Document Management solution ought to support the most basic file formats, such as JPEG, PDF, TIFF, Excel and Words. This means that sharing files is simple and convenient.
Your document management solution should be able to be accessed by smartphones and tables, so that your software can be accessed and used remotely at all times.
Self-Hosted or Cloud-Hosted Document Management?
Generally, document management services tend to be hosted in two ways, wither self-hosted or cloud-hosted. With a self-hosted document management program, all of the software is stored within your organisation on its own servers. You can store as many files as your system can tolerate. The cost is usually one-time and based on the number of users. You can usually pay an optional yearly charge for ongoing support and software upgrades.
On the other hand, a cloud-based document management system is hosted by a third-party provider and can be accessed anywhere as long as you have internet connection. The provider handles all of the software upgrades and maintenance for no extra cost.
Self-hosted systems give you full control, with no need to rely on anyone else to keep the system going. Unlike a cloud-based solution, if you lose access to the internet, your documents are still accessible. However, self-hosted systems tend to be more expensive through large upfront costs (CapEx) and annual expenditure on software updates. The responsibility for backing up your files and documents is places on you, as your files are not automatically saved as with cloud-based software.
Cloud-based systems, on the other hand, have no significant upfront costs. It doesn’t require any IT teams to install and maintain the software either. A cloud-based solution also means that you’re at the mercy of your provider – if their data centre goes down, you may not be able too access your files. However, downtime for cloud solutions are very rare these days.
Dropbox has become a household name thanks to its cloud-based file sharing capabilities and its innate scalability, making it suitable for individual users and small businesses as well as much larger organisations.
One of the advantages it offers is being able to send files to others even if they are not signed up with the service. And integration with popular productivity suites, including Microsoft Office, makes it possible for employees to work together, post comments and edit files in real time.
Multiple versions of documents can be retained and restored to minimise the likelihood of precious content being accidentally erased. And any alterations which are made can be monitored so that it is clear which elements have been adjusted.
In addition to supporting full documents, Dropbox is also ideal for backing up and sharing multimedia files, with fully fledged admin controls allowing for security to be maintained.
Developed by NAVEX Global, PolicyTech is a full CMS which can operate locally or in the cloud, offering compatibility across Windows, Mac, iOS and Linux. It has been embraced by many major corporations including Siemens and Toyota, proving its ability to meet the needs of multinationals.
Full Microsoft Word integration lets users access and edit documents from within a web browser, from any location. PolicyTech is also ideally suited to the creation of contracts and other more complex policy documents, with thousands of templates available to help businesses build their own text using tried and tested frameworks.
Automatic alerts can be set up so that users receive an email to remind them about deadlines and obligations to a project. And this solution also makes it easier to carry out audits further down the line.
Whether hosted internally or based in the cloud, eFileCabinet is a well rounded, established document management service. The developers have placed considerable emphasis on the simplicity of its interface as well as integration with mobile devices for efficient access on the move.
Compatibility with SalesForce makes the cloud-powered iteration of this service all the more appealing, as well as allowing users to eliminate any restriction as to the size of the files which are being shared.
Branding can also be emphasised thanks to the customisable aesthetics of this solution. This means that businesses will be able to maintain a consistent look and feel, making the presentation of eFileCabinet all the more professional. Full encryption can be enabled to enhance security, while the scalability of the software ensures that it is perfectly suited to both SMBs and globally recognised brands alike.
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