Just a few years ago, document management software was out of reach for many organizations due to price. This is no longer true. Companies today now have document management options offering 90% of the most useful and beneficial features of expensive, legacy document management software applications for 10% of what solutions cost just a few years ago—and when utilized in the cloud, document management software is even more cost effective. This gives organizations of all sizes a competitive edge so they can compete more effectively and operate more efficiently.
How to Choose the Right Document Management Solution for Your Company
When evaluating which document management software best meets your needs, there are 3 questions you need to ask internally that will help you make the best choice:
|What are your goals?||Get rid of paper, reclaim space, improve information control/access, allow for remote collaboration, cut costs, improve customer service, comply with regulations (I-9s, HIPAA), improve business process efficiency, etc.|
|What is your budget?||How many users and how many resources are needed to roll out the solution to different departments and locations will largely determine the total cost of software licenses and annual maintenance for software that is hosted internally. Cloud-based document management is priced by the total storage requirements measured in gigabytes per month (there are no user licensing costs or roll-out requirements).|
|What features do you really need? (see below for a detailed list)||Indexing, document capture, OCR, security, document storage, search, tracking and version control, workflow automation, check in/out, document retention policies, mobile accessibility, management visibility/dashboards, and software integration|
Today’s document management software offers essential features at affordable prices for companies of all sizes.
- Document Capture
Document capture is the scanning of paper documents, which generates electronic images (PDFs, TIFFs), for storage and retrieval. Inexpensive desk top scanners and scanning software allow employees to do day-forward scanning directly into a document management system.
For successful document management, it’s essential to index documents with information that will help users find a document later – e.g. published date, invoice date, vendor, keywords, or extracted text from the document. Zonal OCR and bar codes automate data entry and minimize data entry errors.
Optical character recognition (OCR) is the ability to automatically extract machine print text for quick and easy retrieval by searching for a word, phrase or date with scanned documents.
- Document Security
Access to document images and data must adhere to company policies and comply with regulatory laws such as filling out and retaining I-9s as part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act and protecting the confidentiality of patient records as part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
- Document Workflow
Workflow involves the automatic routing of documents and associated alerts, as governed by business rules – e.g. invoice processing and HR on-boarding. This creates accountability and gives management greater visibility into their processes and how efficiently work is being carried out.
- Tracking and Version Control
Tracking and document version control involves a system recording and reporting all check-ins and check-outs of scanned documents so that all versions of a document can be seen as well as who has done what with each document.
- Software Integration
Users often want to view a document on their screen while using their ERP system, accounting/finance software or other line-of-business system, so document management systems need to integrate with a department or company’s information backbone. Some systems have the ability to pass data between the document management system and LOB software for greater efficiency gains.
Get More for Less
Today’s document management software is far more cost-effective than ever before without sacrificing the most essential features and functionality. With the recent addition of the cloud as an alternative to an internally hosted solution, companies have an even more cost-effective option with the addition of quick and secure remote access and never having to worry about roll-outs and upgrades, so that IT resources can be focused on other core business systems. No matter what solution is chosen, companies of all sizes can now afford and take advantage of the robust benefits that document management software has to offer.