Document Management Software and Your Business

Posted by Peter Heinicke on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 @ 10:11 AM

Perhaps you have wondered if a Document Management Solution would be a good investment for your business but you don't know where to start. Document management software can be a great tool for those looking to cut costs, go green, improve security or gain better remote access.

Beginning the evaluation process for any new endeavor can be overwhelming. That is why we have come up with some easy steps to help you get started.

  1. Know why you need a document management system, and what problems you are trying to solve. It is always important to have a clear picture of your business needs and goals before researching any type of software options.
  2. Examine your internal processes. You should be familiar with the types of documents your company uses, how they are created, labeled, filed and retrieved, and how they will be used going forward. Furthermore, you should take a look at what your short and long term goals are in order to ensure you get a system that will grow with you appropriately.
  3. Do your homework regarding the software.  Some important factors to note would be:
    • Is it easy to use? Any system that makes work more difficult for your staff is unlikely to be adapted successfully. Make sure to have different employees at various levels try out their job functions on a test version before making any final commitments.
    • Does it provide the right level of security? Some document management systems can set security for document type, folder, computer and system - while others can even secure specific sections of documents. Be sure to choose one that is properly aligned with your needs and expectations.
    • Does it have the workflow functions you require? The ability to automate workflow properly for your business is a feature that will increase your employee's efficiency the most. Therefore a system that can implement rules, approval processes and document routing procedures may be worth looking into.
  4. Decide who you want to host the software. You can host it on-site yourself, or you can have the document management software vendor host it for you, giving you access over the internet.
  5. Acquire a digital imaging system. No document management system will be useful without the ability to turn your existing paper documents into digital documents.

A good document system will fill the roles of: filing cabinet; fax machine; copier; administrative assistant; and courier. If you are currently paying employees to file, retrieve and manage paper documents or if you have storage rooms full of paper records - document management software may be exactly the thing you need to better manage these processes.

Adapted from Evaluating Document Management Software for Your Small Business by Manuel Montesino