Choosing a Document Management System (DMS) is hard. Should your company go with Alfresco for enterprise? We help your company navigate the common problems associated with DMS software and figure out how to choose the right one.
We all know that everybody needs a document management system (DMS).
These advanced digital filing systems take companies to the next level of efficiency thanks to their organization capabilities and the additional collaboration and workflow features. They save enterprises time and money.
But how do you know which document management system to choose? We take you through the top 5 common problems with choosing a DMS to see if Alfresco is right for you.
The Collaboration Features are Inadequate
The first problem companies have is how to best share and edit documents. One survey of over 1,000 employees involved in document handling found that 92% of “knowledge handlers” collaborate on group documents using email. The cumbersome process of email collaboration involves competition for inbox attention, the inability to keep track of versioning, and the high likelihood of duplication. There’s nothing worse for efficiency and employee morale than the time wasted when 2 or more employees have duplicated the same work because they were not aware of others taking on the same task.
Versioning, or the organized tracking and recording of all editing sessions, completely eliminates duplication. A solid DMS will have versioning as a standard feature. It should include templating and an an audit trail up front.
Some document management systems such as Alfresco allow employees to create special project sites for collaboration, lock out plural editors on a single document, and offer permissions control so that unauthorized users can’t access projects they aren’t involved in. For large-scale enterprise, look for extended collaboration features such as a Reason for Editing addon that provides enhanced communication between editors of the same data.
Integration with office applications like device-based MS Word and cloud-based GoogleDocs is also a must for collaboration. When these familiar programs are available for editing, it eliminates the issue of disparate formatting and cuts down on time-wasters like unnecessary downloads and uploads.
The Data Inventory Management is Poor
A Document Management System (DMS) turns your paperwork into a library. It should keep it organized and easily accessible. The content storage and related features will dictate ease of access for your employees and how much time is wasted chasing data.
Some smart features are dynamic and full-text search, indexing capabilities, the use of open file formats, and systems that are cloud-based so as not to confine documents to a single server. Remote access for employees working out of the office is a necessity in today’s mobile workforce. The most flexible of DMS will have content conversion modules built-in to ensure the portability and longevity of your company’s data independent of current technology trends.
Limited Capabilities in the Cloud
Cloud-based document management systems are not the future, they are the present. The time to migrate to the cloud has already arrived.
Thanks to data encryption, multi-factor authentication, secure data transfer, API lockdown, and other security features, today’s cloud-based platforms are just as secure as on-premise server-based solutions. With security taken care of, the capabilities of the cloud are too good to ignore.
Accessibility is the number one reason to employ a cloud-based DMS. The cloud is available anytime, anywhere as long as the user has internet connectivity. It’s the dream environment for remote workers without the infamous lag-time of VPNs. Speed of deployment is another great reason to choose the cloud. There is little to no software installation and on the client’s side there are no IT requirements. Company-wide scheduled downtime is eliminated entirely as system upgrades are implemented automatically. Complicated site architecture requiring IT maintenance all but disappears, freeing up your IT team and eliminating an entire category of expenses in your budget. Finally, the archival capabilities of cloud storage surpasses traditional on-premise options meaning that by using the cloud, you reduce risk and increase your company’s compliance with recordkeeping mandates that set global standards.
Not Understanding the Potential of a DMS
Be careful not to confuse document management with basic document storage. A document management system has a plethora of capabilities beyond just inventory management. A DMS is like the Swiss army knife of storage systems. It not only holds everything inside, but it has tools for everything imaginable built into the system.
Your company’s DMS should eliminate the need for wide-scale use of proprietary data programs. Your investment in the DMS should be cushioned by a decrease in specialized software licenses thanks to viewing format capabilities that allow data managers to access and edit specific file formats without having full software installations on their devices. For example, AutoCAD designs and drafts can be viewed directly in the DMS without need for the viewer’s machine to have it installed. Designers can still use the full software but executives can pare down their list of necessary installations. These types of content viewers increase the accessibility and usability of the company system and allow for the continued worldwide increase in the use of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets for work purposes.
Beyond accessibility of data and usability of the system, there are other capabilities that put document management systems on another level beyond just digital storage. A DMS offers document handling processes that until recently, only existed in the analogue world. E-signature is one example. Their authenticated cousin, the digital signature, is another.
The most advanced stuff you can get into is data capture. This means the digital scanning and computer “reading” capabilities of system intake. It is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to automation, but data capture is sophisticated computer-led extraction and sorting that saves an exponential amount of time over human data entry. The most advanced DMS today will have data capture options marked by accuracy and advanced optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities including the utilization of QR codes for document tracking. This type of cutting-edge technology that goes way beyond mere data storage is the stuff you should be looking for to justify a full-system migration from either an on-premise server-based filing system or a limited capability cloud-based DMS.
Choosing the Wrong DMS
The final problem common to document management system is choosing the right one. A well-researched and well-chosen DMS platform can supply the competitive edge that preserves an enterprise’s position in the market—or even improves it! A poorly-chosen DMS can inhibit the work of a company and send revenue plummeting.
As an integral part of the business strategy and the system that handles entire business processes, the choice of platform is the key to overcoming competition by making smart technology choices.
One way to have peace of mind is to choose a DMS that is flexible, scalable, and customizable like Alfresco. This type of DMS is less likely to form a “bad fit” and more likely to cater to client needs. Another way to be sure a DMS will work for you is to check that your system vendor has solid developers. With a talented team steeped in experience with the platform, the right vendor can make sure the system works for your industry, your scale, and your specific company objectives. Make sure they have experience with companies just like yours and you will avoid the pitfalls mentioned above.
Do you think Alfresco is right for you? To learn more about a DMS that can be custom tailored for your company, learn more from Alfresco experts at Skytizens.