The role of a document management system (DMS) today is unlike many years ago. Times are evolving, technologies are getting more advanced, and so is your organisation. If you find paper records still taking up valuable square footage and making you disorganised, you know its high time you need a DMS in place to improve both the organisation practices and accessibility of any company documents.
The typical DMS has moved beyond the functionalities of simply organizing, storing and tracking your electronic records, it also has to be able to integrate with your current systems to maximize workflow and enable collaboration. These days, with the shift in work style due to increased adoption of digitalisation and the Covid-19 pandemic, many people are advocating a paperless office. But, do you know what to consider before deciding which DMS is the most suitable for your company? This guide will list down 10 essential questions to consider and provide you with a roadmap for the purchase.
1. Why do I need a DMS?
The very first thing you need to do is to determine your document management needs. Whilst many would like to think that technology is the solution to every issue, truth is you can’t assess whether you are buying the right tool unless you know what you’re trying to fix. You can always start off by making a list of the most pressing issues faced. It will be much more meaningful if you involve your staff in this process so that you can target a solution that works for them. Be sure to note the various software applications to be integrated with your DMS. Also, you should not forget to factor in your firm’s projected growth areas so that your new DMS has sufficient scalability to handle future challenges.
2. Are you choosing the right vendor?
The quality of the vendor you choose can be a key determining factor before you settle for your choice of DMS. Prior research is always important to make sure you select a reputable vendor with many years of product and service credibility. Most of the times, pricing isn’t the only factor to consider, such as the saying goes “You pay for what you get”. Always be sure to review your list of issues and match it against the features provided by the vendor to make sure that all your needs can be met. It is best to compare responses from several vendors before you make an informed decision.
3. What are my support options?
Look for a vendor that’s known for superior product support, preferably in a number of formats such as telephone, email and online chat options. Before purchasing your DMS, ask your vendor about turnaround times for support requests. Also, make sure you fully understand the vendor’s pricing structure for support services so that you’re not surprised by hidden fees. Support staffs’ experience and customers in similar industry gives you a feel of the support quality. Vendors who consistently drill into support analytics and provide good health check report on the system tend to take support more seriously and ensure that the DMS system is always in excellent shape to support customer business.
4. Is my DMS user friendly?
Bear in mind that after you employ a DMS, your staff will be spending a lot of time on it as the DMS will store all the most important documents in your organisation. The system should offer an intuitive user interface (UI) that is simple to learn so that your staff can easily navigate. A UI that is not user-friendly will render the DMS meaningless even with the most powerful software platform as employees will be reluctant to use it. Look for a system that’s simple to use, with clear commands and a clean visual design. It is always recommended to designate a few “champion users” on your team who can master the software UI and share tips on getting the most out of your new system.
5. Can my DMS fully integrate with my current software systems?
When using your DMS, wouldn’t it be such a bummer if you have to hop between applications to complete daily tasks? To avoid this, it is key to make sure your new software can “talk to” your other programs to help you achieve an efficient organisation. Open APIs is a must today and is a survival kit.
6. How well does my DMS support collaboration?
The current pandemic situation has made more and more organisations realise the importance of a remote workforce. Moving forward, we foresee that the working from home scenario would gradually turn into a culture as employers get a better grip at managing staffs working offsite while enjoying the benefits of lower office rental costs. To catch up with the new normal, your system should enable users to collaborate seamlessly. Your employees need to access files simultaneously without having to log out and they need to track revisions and document versions in detail. Features such as annotations and version management become handy so that your team can reference previous instances quickly.
7. Can my DMS capture data intelligently?
The right DMS should be able to capture your data from a variety of input devices. Once your documents have been scanned, the system should intelligently extract and validate the data in the files. The software will then categorize and index the materials for fast retrieval through a search engine, saving your staff’s time and increasing productivity.
8. How secure are the files in my DMS?
Scenarios of data breaches always end up ugly for your organisation. Thus, it is of utmost importance to find a reliable and secure DMS to safeguard your business intelligence and assets. Protect your corporate and client information with a system that includes rigorous security protocols designed to block external attacks. Reputable software vendors will stress security as a key feature of their products. Remember to ask your vendor about the frequency of security updates, and how you’ll be notified of new patches.
9. Does my software come with administrative control features?
Apart from external threats, you should also protect your data from within by using software that provides administrative control options. Your software should allow you to set user permissions depending on the needs and responsibilities of each staff member. Document or folder level access controls are also helpful in preserving data confidentiality.
10. Does my DMS offer backups?
No matter how large or small your business, you cannot ignore the importance of business continuity planning and disaster recovery. Especially for an important system that manages all your organisation’s information, you cannot afford to lose your documents and data. Always choose a product that offers constant backups on secure servers. Your DMS’s backup capabilities should form part of a larger disaster recovery plan for your organization.
Selecting the right DMS can be a challenging task. We suggest that you take control of your search by first understanding your needs and the available software options. Choose a reputable vendor with a proven product, reliable support track record, insist on security, back up your data and your DMS will provide significant return on your investment. If you still face a dilemma picking a DMS that best suits your company, feel free to reach out to us and we can offer you a free consultation based on our expertise.