While there is a myriad of software solutions available to manage your documents, the real decision may come down to a few simple concepts: what level of solution a company is looking for? Basic document management software is typically what organizations think of when they imagine "going paperless" - an electronic repository for their current paper documents, organized into search-capable folders. A company should always consider going beyond this though, for a number of reasons.
1. The more advanced the solution, the more types of information it can handle.
A basic document management solution will look to handle the most common file types - Word, Excel, PDF, etc.
What about the emails you receive surrounding a project? Or the photographs that should be tied to a legal proceeding's main docket?
With proper indexing and a higher level of direct information capture from inside of existing software and tools, the options for information storage and recognition become almost limitless. Not the case with more basic solutions.
2. Organizational leaders need direct control over filing and indexing best practices.
If there is no way to ensure that certain steps are completed during the creation of a folder, or that consistency is being maintained, is the solution really much better than paper filing?
Microsoft SharePoint is a great example of this: SharePoint offers great collaboration functions, but offers very few practical means to control where or how documents are stored by users of the system.
In iDatix's Document Management Software, categories can be limited by dropdowns, meaning leadership can maintain control of the overall location and structure of certain expansive documents. This empowers knowledge workers to do the right things, and to do them right, with all document functions.
3. Integration with legacy and line-of-business systems is necessary.
With the variety of industries that benefit from document management software, there are bound to be solutions specific to an industry (medical billing software, for example) that, to facilitate a document plan, need to be integrated with the document solution.
A no-coding integration is ideal, as this cuts down on implementation time and increases user adoption rate by integrating with familiar software.
The goal for a document solution is to be a crucial tool to aid workers in efficiency and performance, not a frustrating replacement for software that does one particular job very well. Strong integration functions make this a reality.
Let's face it - document management is a first step into the world of process improvement and Business Process Management. Once the workflows associated with (formerly) paper documents have transitioned into the electronic world, the potential to manage them and automate redundant tasks is present.
If a company is now fitted with a document solution and simply continues to do things the way they were done with paper, opportunities for improvement past initial ROI will be passed over. A solution that comes with process automation allows you take advantage of the full range of options and customized workflows now available to you with electronic documents.
5. The cost of a basic document management solution may not be readily apparent up front.
An out-of-the-box document management solution may come with a lower price tag, but the long-term necessities must be factored in as well. A few questions that will most likely come up after purchasing a solution "out-of-the-box".
Secondary purchases may include separate capture or workflow solutions. These could be immediate or down the road, and extremely influence the budget of the overall project.
With a zero-customization "budget" document solution, is the product exactly what you're looking for?
Will any necessary integrations require an additional cost to the list price?
All of these things become factors in deciding to go beyond basic document management, and a company needs to truly consider if the few immediate benefits of the "quick and cheap" solution will pay off in a long-term scenario, or cause more damage than benefit.