Document Management Systems (DMS) Buyers Guide
Document management is a universal problem of businesses of all sizes. A single customer may have files in multiple locations, and their file might be touched by multiple departments.
For example, let’s consider the information flow as a customer’s file moves from sales to operations to accounting.
Each department has different information they collect and store to do their job, but it’s not critical or necessary to give every department access to the entire record. Why would the operations department need access to a customer’s payment information?
Without an effective, uniform management system in place, each department will attempt to build a system independent of other departments to help them manage their documents and workflow more efficiently.
Very little effort is given to proper document management and integrating the various systems. This causes compatibility issues with how data is stored, and exacerbates the issue of multiple records for one customer.
Electronic Document Management to the Rescue
The solution to the document management problem is scanning documents into a document management system (DMS). This system is traditionally a software platform that acts as a portal for all the documents in an organization. Electronic document management can be purchased as software and used on a company server or used as a “software service” with
Document Management System (DMS) Advantages
There are some basic document management features that every DMS should provide for the business. The most important electronic document management feature is improved workflow of information throughout the entire organization.
Reduction of Labor Costs
DMS systems also reduce the labor required to manage and handle the documents after the document scanning stage. With a simple keyword search, all documents that were scanned into the system are available to every employee on their computer.
This reduces the labor costs associated with tracking that file down in an on-site file storage room, and provides the return on investment to help recoup the cost of implementing this type of system.
A second significant advantage of an DMS is legal compliance. They allow for the quick retrieval of all required documents if subpoenaed. Documents are aged and marked for destruction when they reach the end of their lifespan.
Security procedures are also in place that set access to a user level. Each employee can only get access to what they need for their job and mass downloads are strictly controlled.
No more On Site Document Headaches, and Remote Access to ALL Documents
Using document scanning for company records to an DMS reduces or completely eliminates the need for on site storage space or outsourced records storage Company documents and records are also easier to share for employees that are working remotely or are constantly on the road. Everything they might need is available in real time.
Key Features of an Effective DMS
An effective DMS has a variety of features and choices that need to be considered. Here are some of the main requirements that we recommend (and that should be included) for your Document Management System:
- The ability to store electronic records and access them quickly
- Access control to a user level to increase security and decrease liability
- A simple system for adding or scanning in new documents and records
- Integration with other existing company software packages
- Version control of the documents with access logs to prevent redundancy and mistakes
- Integration with the company document management policy and known procedures.
- An easy to use backup solution that’s simple to maintain
Beyond the basic features they have many other options that will depend on the individual company, industry, and the goals of the conversion.
- Conversion of images to text or optical character recognition (OCR)
- Conversion and integration of multiple file formats
- Website portals
- Enhanced search capabilities
- Ability to export into multiple file formats.
Choose your DMS Wisely…
Before choosing an DMS vendor, it’s important to take the time to look at several options. It is useful to practice on each one of the packages.
Don’t just watch the sales person do a demonstration- set up a practice database and perform the functions that each employee will have to perform.
Be sure to always check to make sure you can export your documents in the future. This will prevent the company from being “locked in” to a single vendor if needs change.
(Article Credit: Record Nations)