When it’s time to upgrade your document management system (DMS), there are a lot of things to consider. Generally, there’s a significant initial investment, depending on what type of vendor and system you’re using, so it is ideal that your return on investment weighs out.
Business owners and managers know that they need to continually invest in their company. But with items like software and investments in employee training, it can be confusing to determine how well these investments pay off. It’s not like adding a new product where you can clearly see the revenue generated.
The key in really keeping track of how well your document management solution pays off is going to be through analysis. With a good system, your processes will improve overall. When implemented well, the return on investment of a good document management system that fits your business needs can be measured in increased productivity, higher employee satisfaction, better efficiency, and overall growth.
Before You Look for Your Document Management System
Successfully choosing the right DMS for your company starts before you research the possible vendors and software solutions. You can’t fix a problem you haven’t identified. Your DMS is meant to fix current issues and improve the processes overall. The only way to accurately do that is to assess your current protocol.
Many employees will be hesitant to change routines that are established, so it’s important that the people involved in assessing the current system keep any bias toward that system out of the equation.
Once you assess how your current processes work, make a list of all of the areas that you want to improve through the new system. These will be areas you favor heavily when researching your DMS options. Don’t forget to make a separate list of all the ways your current document processes work well. You don’t want to lose functionality in one area just to improve it in other places.
Key Things to Look for In Your Document Management System
After you’ve thoroughly assessed your internal workflow system, you’ll have a good list to use to narrow down your options for a software system. Here are a few of the things you’ll want to verify before making your final decision:
- Price/Cost. The total investment cost will likely weigh heavily in your decision making. While this shouldn’t be the absolute deciding factor, it will be on the table as you further narrow down your choices. The cheapest or most expensive solutions won’t necessarily be the best for you – prioritize the systems that include the services you to make this purchase worth your time and investment. An inexpensive solution may not cost as much, but it may not improve your productivity, either. An expensive system might have all the bells and whistles – but if you won’t use half of them, it might not be worth the investment for you. Look for a system that will streamline your current processes and ones for the next five or ten years. You want a system that allows you to grow, not just manage.
- Customer Service. The customer service should be impeccable. This is an important feature because you need to verify that there are qualified people to help you if there are issues implementing the system. Your document management system forms an integral part of your daily workflow processes. The customer service department of your vendor should be invested in your success. Look for companies that offer fast, professional customer service and those who offer you a specific contact person who can become familiar with your needs.
- Employee Training. Whatever system you choose should be user friendly and offer an abundance of employee training options. A document management software system will only work for you if it’s used. Upgrades can be notoriously stressful, because many people are reluctant to learn new programs, so employee training should be easy to utilize, and the system should be user friendly and intuitive. Look for vendors who offer plenty of easy to read information to help employees learn the system. They may offer in-house training courses or online video courses which you can use to train employees around your company’s schedule. You should also consider appointing in-house team members to act as experts on the system, learning it well enough to communicate with the technical services department of the vendor should an issue arise. This also gives your employees a person to go to with any questions outside of training time.
- Document Capture Automation Software. If you have employees and clients using multiple platforms and streams of communication, including document capture can help organize and keep track of the workflow process. In most companies, employees do business through email, text, web portal, phone conversations, fax, and even paper documentation. Document capture allows you to compile all of this different information into one database for easy retrieval. If you’re a company that has communication difficulties because pertinent information is spread across email, paper files, and even post it notes on a wall, document capture is a must have tool for your DMS.
- Experience in Your Industry. Each industry is different. You may have specific regulatory compliance issues or a unique need for documentation that isn’t prevalent in other businesses. A good way to assess how well a system will work for you is by checking their references. Look for vendors who have current clients in your industry, or who can show ways that their solution will work for your specific needs.
Implementing for Success
Once you’ve chosen the right solution, it’s important that you commit to the implementation. If you’ve invested in a system, take the time to implement it across all departments. This will allow for easier employee training and better workflow.