So you’ve decided your business needs a Document Management System. Maybe your company’s employees are still buried under mountains of paper while you’re paying for a storage unit filled with boxes of all the files they’ve created? Or maybe you’ve just outgrown your current software and you need to step up to a more robust system.
What are the questions you need to ask yourself? How do you decide on the right DMS for your organization? Start by taking stock of your knowledge base.
Know Your Own Business
Let’s assume you started the discussion about the need for a new DMS system with the management team. You’ve inventoried your hardware and software and have a pretty good idea of what’s not working. Now it’s time to talk with vendors about solutions, right?
Stop right there and ask yourself: Have we looked at a change in our document management from the standpoint of our overall business strategy? We expect the product and the company behind it to increase our day-to-day efficiency. Your DMS should solve immediate and short-term problems, of course, but perhaps more important, it should help you advance long-term goals. Hold that thought throughout your shopping expedition.
Know the Real Cost-Benefits of the Different DMS Products and Services
You know what you’re spending now for document management, and you and your team have researched the field and checked out your competitors, so you have a good idea of what the equipment and training and servicing will cost over the lifespan of a contract. But have you compared them from the standpoint of saving money on human resources? True, a new DMS could mean you need fewer people to do the same work. But also look at how well the systems cut the costs of “do-overs” and “can’t-find-its.”
Consider these statistics gathered by ImageNet Consulting from the Gartner Group Consultancy, Laserfiche, and eCopy, Inc.:
It costs $120 to find a misfiled document, $220 to reproduce a lost document—and 7.5 % of all documents get lost. If you’re an enterprise organization and you’re handling, say, 1,000 documents a day, over the course of a year of 52 five-day weeks your “can’t-find-it” costs would tally $4,290,000. Not chump change. Be sure you know how and how well the DMS system you choose can save your employees time and you money.
What’s more, what you save in time and money you’re also likely to gain in employee job satisfaction and productivity. Reporting in a CIO Insight blog about Harris Interactive research commissioned by Perforce Software, Dennis McCafferty painted this unlovely picture of personnel frustration: “Knowledge workers are fed up with document-management snafus . . .The vast majority say these problems have caused them to lose precious productivity. They often can’t find the file they’re looking for. And then, after they think they have accessed it, many discover that they’ve been working on the wrong document. Given the frustration over these and other ‘versioning’ issues, it’s quite common for grown professionals to scream at their computers, give up on a pending project entirely or head to the nearest bar, findings reveal.” More than 1,000 knowledge workers in the U.S. and U.K. participated.
Know the Products Available—and What’s in the Pipeline
Thoroughly research the products and services available as well as which companies continue to stay ahead of the pack. They are the firms that will be on top of the latest innovations in software and hardware. You will benefit from their knowledge and capacity to keep your system up to date and keep you abreast of advancements in such critical areas as compliance and security.
It is also wise to look for service providers who do not put all their eggs in one basket. You want to know that the DMS provider has developed the kind of strong partnerships that offer breadth and depth of software and hardware options to address your unique situation. Commonwealth Digital Solutions, for example, partners with four leading firms in the DMS space:
- Square 9, a highly intuitive, award-winning document management software that can be easily adapted to automate any paper-intensive process
- OnBase AnyDoc, which automatically classifies your important documents without manual data entry
- NSI AutoStore, a server-based application that orchestrates the capture and secure delivery of paper and electronic documents into business applications
- Page Scope, which offers versatile utilities to optimize device functions
Know the People Behind the Products
And be sure those people know you and care about your success.
As industry analyst Seth Gottlieb points out, “The way the vendor sees the market and the role of the product will determine the product roadmap. If the customer and the vendor are aligned, then desirable features will continually be added and the product will grow with the customer. If they are not, then the new features will probably be unwanted and clutter the product.”
In other words, you need to know you’re buying into more than standard software updates and the occasional house call.
Finding the right DMS partner is a big deal: You’re looking for a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship that should support your people, promote their productivity, and boost your business. So don’t rush into anything. Look for that partner you can talk to, who will listen to your needs and design an effective solution with you.