Buyers Guide

Our Guide To Document Management Software

Document management software encompasses a large range of solutions which come under the more general bracket of content management systems. Offering a platform on which documents can be digitally uploaded, archived and tracked, document management software is also designed with security in mind, making it ideal for dealing with sensitive information such as contracts and other legal documents. It offers a database which is easily searchable, in comparison to the 'filing cabinet days' of using paper documents, and protects documents from damage or loss. 


Key features

Many organisations will use several pieces of document management software, while some will only use one - thus, the main features offered by each platform vary. Here are some of the typical characteristics to look out for during the buying process:

Inputting documents

Document management software offers the advantage of combining both digital and paper files in the same repository, and so there is naturally a wide range of ways for documents to be routed onto the system. Look for a document management software solution which allows you to upload documents from emails, a scanner, bulk uploads, mobile devices and web services.

Indexing

Effective document management software typically offers options for tagging documents, giving you a route to find them through indexing. The way you index is usually customisable according to your organisation's specific business processes and different departments. Indexing can be achieved through searching phrases included in the document, the document type, creation or editing date, and so on. Indexing meta data fields and support for several languages are other features which might be included.

Searching

A powerful search function is seen by many as an essential part of document management software, using a choice of indices as the user chooses. Search functions typically include the option to search via meta data and document content, as part of an advanced attribute search which may incorporate other elements.

Processing

Some document management software offers the advantage of advanced processing techniques which use Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) technologies to process paper based text (both handwritten and typed) into electronic documents. Alternatively, a data entry clerk may be required to perform these actions. More basic processing capabilities typically include creating document templates, linking documents to a CRM system, forwarding and sharing documents, emailing documents and editing documents.

Automation of workflow

Workflow automation is a common capacity which ensures documents are routed to their destination automatically. Document management software can allow you to apply rules to processing of documents, set up document actions, manage document routing, set up approvals, and create and update records automatically.

Customisable

As every organisation is different, there are many customisable elements which are typically incorporated into document management software. These include customised records, reports, document attributes, and workflow descriptions.

Security

Security is a big factor in purchasing for many document management software buyers. Encryption is seen as standard by organisations, and users are now able to exercise advanced controls over access rights, as well as modifying ownership.

Dashboard

For many, the most appealing factor of document management software is its ability to make a number of tasks simpler. And crucial to this capability is the user dashboard which platforms use to allow the user to navigate easily. The dashboard can be crucial to an uncluttered, agreeable interface which lends itself to efficient work processes, and typically includes inboxes for both documents and workflows, notifications, reports, email, a calendar, and in some cases, a chat function.

Benefits

The key benefits of document management software can be summarised as follows:

- Organisation - a single, easily searchable database which contains a wide variety of documents pertaining to different subjects and parts of an organisation.

- Speed - indexing and searching functions which allow documents to be found quickly and easily, negating the need to trawl through folders or different systems.

- Electronic access - the easy conversion of paper documents into digital form, allowing them to be kept in a more organised and secure manner.

- Security - encryption capabilities and a way to apply advanced user rights to documents, controlling access carefully according to the nature of the data.

- Automation - document recognition ensures human resources can be saved thanks to the automatic organisational capabilities of document management software.

Trends

Document management software is one of the backbones of the new, digitalised business world, and is similar to other prevalent digital business platforms in that development is moving at a rapid rate. Here are some trends which have been picking up pace in the document management software world in 2017:

- Cloud based systems - software as a service (SaaS), delivered via the Cloud, is fast becoming the norm for document management software. The Cloud has ensured documents are available on the move, wherever there is a wifi or 3G connection. There are also advantages to be had when it comes to scalability, with fast growing organisations valuing the flexibility to increase the scale of their service gradually thanks to this document management 'on tap'.

- Social media integration - depending on the nature of their activities, organisations might use documents which are related to their social media outreach, and a wave of document management software has come along which facilitates the easy sharing of content across platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as the simple receiving and uploading of documents onto the platform.

- Client portals - in a bid to increase customer satisfaction, some organisations are now able to offer client portals as part of their document software management tools, which allow clients easy access to documents needed for collaboration. This type of feature lends itself to companies with long time partnerships who wish to simplify their customer relations processes. The user rights controls provided document management software means that clients can be given log in details and receive access only to information intended for them.

We hope you found our Document Management Software Buyers Guide useful. Browse through our list of vendors to compare the latest document management software available on the Cloud.