Choosing the right document management software for your business can be an extensive process. There are questions about how to implement and whether the new system will integrate well with your current processes. You don’t want to exert a lot of energy trying to manually move records to a brand-new system. You also want your document management software to be able to capture the documentation and data you need to streamline your workflow.
The best way to determine which tools will help your company flourish is by starting with an assessment of your current practices. By thoroughly auditing the productivity of your document management protocol, you can easily identify areas where you need to improve. These can be highlighted as you start to research vendors and determine the best options for your needs.
It’s highly recommended that you take a companywide approach to implementation. Making the protocol changes mandatory across your company will mean that every department benefits from the improved communication and real-time advantages that your document management system provides.
Your company needs specific functions for day-to-day business. You’ll want to tailor your search to make sure the software you choose meets your needs out of the box. If there isn’t one available, you can find a customizable software and configure it to your specifications. Keep your regulatory compliance needs in mind and recognize that the documentation you use daily might not only include what resides on your company desktop, but also other platforms like email, fax, hardcopy and files.
Make a list of all the integral forms of communication within your business so that you can easily judge how well the software you’re researching fits within your current structure, and how it can improve your process.
Here are seven benefits you should look for in any software solution:
Document management software is often more technical than some of the standard programs that employees use proficiently. It’s important that the solution you implement offers accessible customer service. This is a key to success throughout your partnership with the vendor, not just as you start the implementation process. If you have questions or if there is any problem using your system, the customer support should be able to aid in solving those problems expeditiously.
Since document management software often has its own proprietary settings and functions, employees may take some time to fully understand the new system. It’s important that your software provider offers training materials to adequately meet employee needs. This might include on-site training, webinars, manuals and even updated content on their blog or website that you can peruse. The easier the vendor makes it for your employees to master the system, the smoother the transition will be. Comprehensive training materials are also an excellent resource to help train future employees on the document management system.
Take some time to fully demo the software prior to committing to your purchase. It’s important the user interface is easy to maneuver and user friendly. Often, the commands are easily decipherable once you understand the dashboard.
Every industry has its own regulatory compliance needs and specific documentation mandates. You might choose a vendor that specializes in your industry or a more generic vendor that is a good fit. If the software appears to meet your needs and budget but you need more assurance, ask your vendor. They can often give you case studies or references within your own industry or for clients with similar needs.
Comprehensive search functionality should be high on your priority list. After all, a document management system is supposed to make it easier for you to find documentation by organizing it for better productivity. Be sure to research how the search functions work and whether documents are easily identified companywide or by department. This will help determine how well the organizational ability of the software improves productivity and efficiency.
You don’t want to reinvent the wheel when you switch to a new document management system. The software you choose should integrate well with the current software currently in use throughout your company. You should also determine how well this software integrates with other platforms, such as documentation that comes in via email, text, web portal and fax.
Security should be a top concern with all facets of your technology, especially documentation. The software you choose should offer you the ability to meet any compliance issues, as well as securing employee and customer confidential information where applicable. Other considerations in your document management software might include tools to offer security clearance for set employees. Also, look for tracking capabilities so that you can easily see which personnel accessed/changed documentation.
Many companies today choose a cloud-based application, while some still prefer an in-house system. This is often a personal choice depending on the type of business. Cloud-based applications do offer real-time solutions and allow employees to access important documentation away from their desk, whether at home or on the road. As many professionals work unorthodox hours, this might be a good solution for your business model.
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