Document Management Systems (DMS)

  • A DMS:

    • cuts down on paper waste and 

    • lets you collaborate on files electronically.

    • can make your office less cluttered and more efficient

    • can make your business more profitable!

  • The paperless office has long been a goal for businesses. 

  • With cloud-based systems it's becoming a reality.

  • However, there are still old files and new paper documents to contend with. 

  • Further, most offices are challenged with keeping even electronic files:

    • organised, 

    • easily accessible and 

    • collaboration-enabled.

  • DMS handles these issues. 

    • It combines:

      • scanning, 

      • storage, 

      • organisational and search tools, and 

      • collaboration features 

      into a comprehensive system to handle all your documentation needs.

  • DMS applications generally work with a stand-alone document scanner for scanning in paper documents. 

  • The software then converts the document into the assigned file format:

    • PDF

    • JPEG or JPG or 

    • TIFF.

  • Some may convert to DOC or other file formats.

  • Software also contains tools and templates to:

    • properly label documents, 

    • include search terms, and 

    • import them into the central directory. 

    • the ability to mail documents as attachments, and 

    • version control

  • Many allow the saving of versions to preserve past copies of edited documents, aiding in collaboration.

  • Finally, the system needs storage, which may be in an on-premise server or based in the cloud.

  • Costs

    • On-premise system

      • You own it outright. 

      • You have complete control over every aspect of the system, 

      • You are also responsible for:

        • security, 

        • compliance, 

        • upgrades, 

        • increased memory needs and 

        • upkeep. 

      • You may also need an IT professional to maintain it.

      • To purchase an on-site DMS, you're looking at 300 to 500 in licensing fees and up to 6,000 for the hardware (scanners and servers). If you want to get a maintenance plan, it can run up to 40 per seat per year.

    • Cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS)

      • Has all the software and documents accessible through the internet. 

      • The operating company stores your files on its servers, 

      • You may share the files with other businesses as well. 

      • The company maintains:

        • servers,

        • software, 

        • upgrades the software and systems, and 

        • provides help if you have problems with the system. 

      • it also secure its own systems. 

      • You also need to be sure it can provide enough storage.

      • Requires monthly payments.

      • Costs range from 10 to 40 per month. 

      • On-site installation may be a separate fee of 30 to 700. 

      • You may have to purchase scanners yourself.

  • Before signing a contract for any system make sure you understand what you are paying for. 

    • Is it easy to use

      • Ask to see a demo or watch some online tutorials. 

    • Are repairs included in the regular fees? 

    • How about licensing? 

    • Will the prices change after the first year? 

    • What if you need more storage?

    • Is it compatible

      • Be sure the DMS works with your operating system, whether Mac or PC, Linux or Windows 10. 

    • is it compliant. 

      • Does the software support ISO 9000/9001

    • Can we integrate.

      • Does the program integrate with:

        • Microsoft Outlook, 

        • your CRM, 

        • accounting software or 

        • document-signing programs? 

        • Is there an API capability to integrate it with your in-house software?

    • Is it secure. 

      • Can you password-protect or restrict access to certain documents? 

      • Can you monitor who is accessing certain files or get alerts when someone changes a file? 

      • Can you set rules for deleting outdated files?

    • Does it facilitate mobile access. 

      • especially convenient if you have employees who work out of the office.

    • Forms. 

      • Does the system provide templates that allow for metatags to aid searches? 

      • Does it have a forms module, and if so, how easy is it to use?

    • Installation. 

      • Can the company modify the software or installation to suit your needs? 

      • Does it allow you to install the software yourself?

    • Service, maintenance and ongoing support. 

      • If you get support for an on-premise or SaaS system:

        • Ask about breakdown rates of the equipment 

        • What maintenance is provided, 

        • Response times, 

        • Storage system reliability,

        • Backups, 

        • How outages are handled, and 

        • How it's secured. 

Do you need help managing business? Contact us to see how we can help you get better in this critical area.

 

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