Document management solutions (DMS) are tools you can use in your business to organize, track, store, and retrieve digital documents.
These solutions are useful to reduce your organization's administrative costs and increase productivity amongst your team members.
However, different organizations require different types of document management systems, based on their requirements.
Therefore, it is essential to carefully outline your specific company needs thoroughly to ensure that the document management solution you settle for fits the bill.
And that’s exactly what we’ll be covering below.
If choosing and evaluating a document management solution sounds like a complicated and overwhelming endeavor, you’ve come to the right place.
This blog post will guide you through the considerations you should make before settling for a document management solution for your company.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What Should You Look For In A Document Management Solution? (DMS Overview)
- 5 Important Considerations To Make When Evaluating A Document Management Platform
What Should You Look For In A Document Management Solution? (DMS Overview)
For many companies, adding a document management solution into their operational workflow isn’t exactly the biggest priority.
That’s because a document management system might be confusing. So, to set things clear, document management is a set of practices that define how an organization manages, stores, and tracks its documents.
- Document storage.
- Documents check-in and check-out.
- Version control.
- Audit trails.
- Security and access control.
- And more.
Typically, this follows the document lifecycle process.
Before you begin your search for a DMS, it is crucial to have in your mind a clear picture of the exact documentation needs you have as a company.
There are different types of document management systems, each requiring different kinds of investment on your part to meet your ideal document management needs.
Depending on your company's needs, you can choose between a cloud-based document management solution and a premise-based one.
Both cloud-based DMS and premise-based DMS offer you different document management features, with the main difference between them being accessibility and functionality.
A good document management solution meets your documentation needs without breaking the bank. It should also be easy for you and your team members to work with.
Before you decide on a document management solution, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the document management offer accessible and sufficient storage for my documents?
- How safe are my documents?
- Does the DMS allow internal and external sharing of documents?
- Is the document management system compatible with existing systems in my company?
Now, let’s take a look at each point in detail.
Does the document management offer accessible and sufficient storage for my documents?
As part of your evaluation, you should first make a comprehensive list of documents you intend to store within the DMS. This list may include emails and contracts, spreadsheets, and digital files such as photos, videos, and presentations. All of these require different storage functionalities.
You can consider investing in a document management system that offers you optical character recognition (OCR) for your documents. OCR helps you easily store and extract scanned images or text on electrical documents like PDFs.
Document organization is an essential feature of a document management solution.
When assessing how the DMS organizes your files, you should ask yourself:
- Are they accessible when you need them?
- How does it index files for easy retrieval when you need them?
- Can you retrieve previous versions of a document from the system?
How safe are my documents?
One of the most critical needs for any company is the privacy and security of documents.
It would be best to consider your company's needs for data protection and how the system will handle sensitive business information. Check if the document management solution offers you sufficient data loss prevention features and if it allows you to input your desired user-access control measures.
If your company has strict security requirements, especially in regard to working remotely, then a DMS with remote secure document management and delivery will be even more important for you.
Does the DMS allow internal and external sharing of documents?
Collaboration is an essential aspect of any documentation process.
Check if the document management solution you intend to buy allows your team members to work simultaneously on particular documents.
It is also vital that the document management solution allows you to share documents internally and externally without the risk of sensitive information running into the wrong hands.
This is something as simple as extending who has access to your documents or something more advanced like setting up user roles so that only specific people can access certain documents.
Is the document management system compatible with existing systems in my company?
Consider how well the document management systems integrate with other systems you use in your organization to allow for seamless continuity of work while learning how to use the DMS.
You could also ask if the document management system is compatible with different devices.
A good DMS allows you to access its feature on mobile devices, catering to when you or your team members work outside the office setting.
Does the document management solution require you to use other third-party tools for efficiency in certain functions?
Then ensure that it has the requisite certifications for third-party application use, it's up-to-date with current standards, and is secure from cyber-attacks.
A good document management system should be able to integrate with your pre-built or current software.
Though, before making the final decision, be sure to read on for other important considerations to make when choosing a DMS.