As you all know, electronic document management software (EDMS or DMS in short) is a computer program-based system used to manage, track, store and reduce paperwork for your business. If you choose to have a DMS, the first thing you need to decide on is whether to use a cloud-based system or not.
A cloud-based system stores and manages your documents on servers and is provided by reputable companies.
You can choose between onsite or cloud-based document management services. The former will store your documents locally, while the latter will put them on servers outside your company. Both these options have their own merits and disadvantages.
Understanding your options and the benefits of your choices is simple with our easy-to-follow guide. Check it out today!
What Is Document Management System?
1. Document Management System is a computer program that will organize all your digital documents and replace paper documents.
2. This system works in a cycle that converts paper documents into digital records in Google Drive and allows document scanning
Key features of a Document Management System are:
- Check-in/ check-out and locking. It coordinates the editing of a document, so one person’s changes do not overwrite another.
- Version control enables tabs to be kept on how the current document came to be and differs from the version that came earlier.
- Audit trail permits the reconstruction of who did what to a document during its life in the system.
- It enables Annotation and Stamps.
Why Do You Need To Use Document Management System?
- Scanning and storing different documents like word-processing files, PDFs, emails, spreadsheets.
- You can search the entire library of files in just a few clicks.
- If you want to preserve document editing, restrict access only to those files.
- The cloud-based system will track who has accessed the documents and when.
- Restore previous versions of edited documents.
- Sharing collaboration and editing documents on mobile devices.
Experts like Jeff Pickard believe that DMS systems help businesses keep all paper documents in order and stored in a central location.
Now you know what document management software is, and in our previous article, we did tell you the benefits of opting for a document management solution for your small business.
Moving on, I will share my ideas with you on choosing the best DMS for your company.
Self Hosted Document Management System
What is a Self-Hosted Document Management System?
- Cloud-based systems store all the software on your company’s server.
- Keeping your documents on cloud servers is not an efficient way of managing your records.
- The cost of the software package is based on how many people in your organization need to use it.
- Cloud-based systems require ongoing support and software upgrades.
Pros of Self Hosted DMS
The pros of a self-hosted system are that you are always in version control of your system, i.e., you don’t rely on anyone else to keep your business running. In this system, you can continue working if your internet connection is not working.
Cons of Self Hosted DMS
If you’re planning to go with a cloud-based system for document management, bear in mind that it will require upfront costs and yearly expenses of software updates. Additionally, if your company (office) uses one computing platform over the other (Mac or Windows), be aware that not all self-hosted systems are compatible.
Cloud-Based Document Management System
What is a Cloud-Based Document Management System?
- A cloud-based system stores and manages your documents on servers, which you can access by going online.
- Cloud-based systems have accessed the internet and can access your documents from any device.
- This system is available for an additional monthly fee per user. The monthly payment starts at USD 100 per person.
- The providers of this system will take care of upgrades and maintenance at no additional cost.
Pros of Cloud-Based DMS
The best thing about cloud-based systems is that you don’t need a team of IT experts to maintain them. You do not need a backup for your files and can access their system anywhere with only an internet connection.
Cons of Cloud-Based DMS
The negative aspect of cloud-based systems is that they depend on the provider; if there is a problem in the server, access is restricted until it is resolved. Cloud systems also have storage limits that may not meet user demand, and if there’s an internet connection failure, you won’t be able to use the system at all.
Document Management System User Benefits
Himanshu Patel, our CEO, says that he can’t imagine his business without using an EDMS. We incorporated the system into our automating workflows, and it will interoperate with all of our devices seamlessly.
With a cloud-based EDMS in place, there is no need for him to stack files on his desk.
Easy to search
The cloud provides search functions and an easy way for the owner to search for any document in a matter of seconds. It would have taken before finding a specific record was extensive.
There are multiple employees in an organization working on the same document. Still, not having any centralized records database makes it challenging to track who has made what change. With DMS, there is always someone distinguishing as a record keeper, making coordinating changes much more manageable.
In usual office circumstances, records are taken care of using a physical filing system. However, this filing cabinets system is not infallible; disasters like fire or pipe bursts can happen to any business. When they do, it can cause all the files to be destroyed if enterprises use an onsite electronic document management software (EDMS) that uses cloud servers.
What to Look For In a Document Management System
Here are a couple of features that businesses should consider when choosing an EDMS.
Think about your current organizational system when you assess different software. It would help if you looked at how easy the file structure will be to use and included folders you already know well.
How much customization can you dictate who has access, whether matter-by-matter or client-by-client? The ability to control the users’ actions ensures the system maintains data integrity. It also assures that files are not moved, downloaded, or deleted by accident.
The first thing to consider when choosing enterprise content management is how many versions are tracked and stored. It includes a list of who had made changes to a document and when these changes were done. It allows users to have a complete overview of its progress over time. The function produces a full or curated list of older versions of the document to ensure that some vital data and information is not lost in case of an error.
What type of searches do you wish to perform? Search by tags and fields, or a full-text search? Is the setup user-friendly? DMS allows users to find documents much faster and easier.
Users need to pay close attention to the metadata function with this feature. A proper metadata feature enables users to create a background ID for everything in the central hub. A robust search capability, backed up by a good metadata function, allows users to find the correct document at the right time.
This system may have the option to share encrypted documents with external users securely. You could also check to see if you can rescind the record and track it.
Ensure that the vendor you opt for complies with all current legal policies.
You’ll need to see if the billing system can integrate with the software you already have or if it will require custom programming.
Try to figure out if you can send emails directly to your provider and how many steps it takes.
Mobile Apps Access
Ensure that the software is used from various mobile devices and whether native applications are available for different operating systems for dropbox business.
Check your reporting capabilities and whether access is controlled.
Is the dashboard user-friendly, or will employees need the training to get started with the software?
When selecting a cloud-based system, check to see if there is a customer service team and what hours they are available. Find out their limitations on what they can do for you.
Does the vendor provide training to my staff and me? I can take the terms and cost of any training programs because they may be free.
Conversion Planning & Support
Before you consider a new solution, it’s essential to measure the benefits of your current process. Consider whether or not you will need third-party assistance transitioning from design and follow-through.
Cost & Pricing Structure
Do you have an existing license? How often do you need to upgrade it? How will payment happen on a monthly or yearly basis?
Now that you know your requirements about the kind of DMS you need, it is vital to consider a vendor’s viability.
These are some of the questions you might want to ask when purchasing a new DMS.
- For how long is the potential vendor in EDMS systems, and will they assist with your needs.
- Some new members have contracted with the vendor in the past two years.
- Double-check the vendor’s financial stability and if he is willing to provide you with past financial statements.
Apart from these simple questions, you also need to decide on the data and expertise.
Open v/s closed file formats
Technological advancement is a constant, which may change from time to time. Microsoft Office 365 Word’s dominance as the best word processing program was eventually replaced by another product, namely MS Office or “Word Perfect.” As a result, it is unwise to rely on any single vendor since this software will no longer work
The preferred format for long-term archival purposes is TIFF, an open file format that ensures high performance in hardware, software and communication.
In-house v/s outhouse expertise
The vast demand for DMS has resulted in a lack of talent availability, limiting qualified programmers, analysts, and consultants. Core planning and architecture guidance must be focused on instead.
Seek for DMS tools that provide tiers of administration to allow delegation of responsibility and configuration. Ensure the appropriate person within your organization is trained to deploy and configure the system.
It is a cost-effective approach that will improve your organization’s ability to adapt to changes within your organization and the DMS system.
Document management systems are a crucial tool for any business, but they can also be overwhelming to select. We’ve outlined the main points you should consider when choosing a document management system that will work best with your business needs and provide an easy way to organize important documents so you never lose them again. You want to take your time and weigh all the options before opting for the optimal DMS for your business.
I believe that any long-term electronic document management system should have upgrade options. I would recommend using a trusted company when upgrading software solutions for your business because you get the best of their current platform and future upgrades on their platforms.
Suppose you need help deciding if Docupile is suitable for you. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free trial!
Contacting one of our experts means we’ll take care of all the legwork in finding out which solutions would serve your specific company’s unique requirements while helping answer questions about how these tools might affect productivity or revenue streams.
Whether it’s time-saving features like data mining capabilities or workflow automation, our team has what it takes!