Documents are an essential part of any organization. As the paperless office is becoming more of a reality with each passing day, documents are increasingly being stored online instead of in clunky filing cabinets. To manage this information, you can opt for document management solutions, software that does exactly what it says on the tin; manage your information. But when you install document management solutions, you´ll find they do a lot more than just archive your files.
Why Does Your SMB Need Document Management?
Now that we’re living in the digital age, most of our real-world items have become digitized. Documents that used to be on paper can now exist on the computer, ready to be called up and read at a moment’s notice. Because documents can pile up quickly, companies need some way to store and manage them efficiently. That’s where document management systems (DMS) come in. Consider the following benefits of document management solutions for SMBs:
- Improved workflow– It’s much easier for co-workers to collaborate on projects when they can access the same documents instantaneously. With digital tools, employees can edit the same pages and communicate via the margins. This process is much smoother and more streamlined than hosting multiple meetings and strategy sessions.
- Boosted security – Online document management systems can be kind of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you can encrypt documents so that prying eyes can’t access them. On the other hand, user error and poor cybersecurity protection can make it easier for hackers to see what you don’t want them to. Typically, having an internal IT team can alleviate this potential problem.
- Enhanced data recovery – Since DMS tools allow you to see past document versions, you don’t have to worry about typos and other errors. Also, if your documents live in the cloud, users can access them from anywhere at any time. So, even if a single device is corrupted, the data is still available.
- Ability to scale your business – The ability to share and store documents online means that you can expand your office network as necessary. Employees in different departments can collaborate and organize data much faster and more smoothly. The other benefit is that you don’t have to worry about migrating to a DMS later on as your business grows.
- Cost-efficiency – According to a recent study, 16 percent of companies said that reducing paper costs was their top priority. With physical paperwork, you have to invest in items like filing cabinets, folders, staples, paperclips, and more. On top of these costs, you have to factor in the labor required to organize and locate specific documents. When everything is online, you can cut down on your overhead expenses dramatically.
What Features Should Your SMB’s Document Management System Include?
It’s critical to note that not all document management systems are the same. Each software offers its own design and features to help companies better store, retrieve, and archive data. Here are a few key features to consider before adding document management as your next office technology solution.
If you’re working with sensitive data, you’ll need to upgrade your cybersecurity measures. Your DMS should include end-to-end encryption software that allows collaboration without any potential data breaches. You may also want a program that requires user authentication for document access. This way, you can track data like who accessed the file and when.
Even if you’re a small business, chances are that some employees are less tech-savvy than others. Unless your DMS will only be used by a select few individuals, you want a program with a minimal learning curve. Otherwise, user errors can cause delays and other problems.
Almost all document management systems have a form of version history installed. However, you can look for a program that offers more comprehensive tools. For example, you might want to be able to download different file types, such as PDF, Word, and others. If possible, you might need to download past versions of the document, so you’ll want to get a DMS with that capability.
Collaboration and Integration
Since your DMS will be used company-wide, you want to make sure that workers can collaborate quickly and easily. Also, because your teams will likely use other software, look for a DMS that can integrate with those programs. This way, users can generate documents and share them across platforms without logging into different accounts along the way.
How to Select a Qualified Vendor
Knowing which features you need is only the first step. Next, you have to find a vendor to provide the right document management solutions. Here are some tips on getting the best vendor for your needs.
- Step One: Know What You Want – If you’re unsure which tools and features you need, vendors can take advantage by selling you options that won’t help your business. Having a list ready upfront ensures you can focus on what’s most valuable.
- Step Two: Don’t Rush – There are many vendors out there, and they’ll all seem appealing at first. Don’t fall for each sales pitch – take time to dig deeper to see what you’re really getting for your investment.
- Step Three: Use a Scoring System – Ranking vendors based on your interactions can help you narrow your selection down much faster. You can score various elements, such as the pitch, the marketing materials, and the follow-up interactions. Ideally, your scale will go from one to five to keep things simpler.
- Step Four: Look at Long-Term Plans – Your DMS will be a partnership, not a service. If you have questions or issues later on, how can you get help? Going in with this mentality ensures that you’re looking beyond the immediate benefits.
As you can see, document management solutions can supercharge your business. At Kelly Office Solutions, we work with many SMBs, and we’d like the opportunity to show you what we can do for your Winston-Salem, Charlotte, or Greensboro business. Contact us today to find out more!