Document Management Software: How to Start the Selection Process

Scott Hambrick
Posted by Scott Hambrick

document_management_softwareSelecting a document management system that’s appropriate for your business operations, budget, and implementation timeline doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s imperative to choose a document management software that’s both easy to implement and flexible to fit your needs.

In addition to choosing the right company to help you manage your company’s records, you also need to choose whether your records should be hosted on premise, or in the cloud. Server based vs cloud based management can make a huge different in efficiency, user-adoption, and security based on your individual needs.

So how do you determine which document management software is right for you?

It may seem counter-intuitive, but before you start researching the right company to help you manage your documents, you need to do an internal audit of your existing setup. Once you’ve evaluated your existing setup, the required features and benefits of the right company will be clearer. Here are 9 areas you should evaluate internally before selecting a document management solution:

1. Determine Your Current Work Station Operating System.

What computer operating system does your business currently use. Some software is not compatible with certain operating systems. Does your business use:

  • Windows (What version?)
  • Mac
  • iOS
  • Android

2. What is your Preferred IT Architecture?

Determining your company’s IT architecture is important, because some solutions require IT implementation and expertise. If your company does not have an existing IT architecture, a cloud-based solution may be more appropriate. Does your business IT structure have:

  • Local storage
  • Cloud storage
  • Software as a Service
  • Existing SQL database
  • Existing Oracle database
  • Distributed processing

3. What is your Preferred Licensing Model?

Software systems offer many different licensing models. Choosing the right license can save your company thousands of dollars. The mix of document storage requirements, number of users accessing the records, number of workstations authorized to access the documents, and other factors can determine which licensing model is best for your organization. First, determine how many of each of the following you expect to have:

  • Users
  • Concurrent users
  • Sites
  • Documents, images, or files
  • Gigabytes of storage

4. Compile Existing Hardware and Software Systems to Integrate

The correct document management software will need to integrate seamlessly with your existing hardware and software systems. Take some time to identify the different applications in use. This will include everything from Microsoft Office Suite, email applications, ERP, CRM, or existing business software. Is your business utilizing the following?

  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Exchange Server
  • Mobile Devices
  • ERP or CRM software
  • Multifunction copier / scanners and quantity
  • Desktop scanners with quantity and models
  • Central imaging lab

5. Evaluate Your Support and Training Resource Needs

When you decide to implement a document management software, having the right support and training resources can make the difference between successful adoption, and a transitioning nightmare. Training large numbers of users in remote locations could favor the need for video and webinar training, verses in-person training. What forms of support would be best for your business?

  • Webinar
  • Video Tutorials
  • Manuals
  • FAQs
  • Live Chat
  • Phone / Email
  • In-Person Training

6. Determine Your Document Imaging Needs

Some EDM systems only manage documents that are manually entered, while others have full suites of imaging functionality that can index accurately, increase quality control, and digitally store images. Does your business need:

  • PDF conversion
  • Full-text OCR (nuance or open-text)
  • Zonal OCR
  • Bar code decoding technology
  • Quality control functions (such as statistical checks and redundant keying management)

7. What Role Will Document Management Play?

Do you need your document management software to be a driver of productivity, or just a basic organizational repository for the management of your documents? What productivity features should your solution have?

  • Document templates
  • Workflow
  • Forms management
  • Web forms
  • Web access to records
  • Metadata search
  • Boolean search
  • XML import/export of data

8. Determine Your Storage Needs

Evaluate how your document storage requirements and preferences. How do you need your solution to manage online and offline storage?

  • Store documents in native format
  • Backup and restore
  • Cloud storage
  • Local storage
  • Document repository
  • Cold/inactive/offline storage

9. Determine Whether Your Data Should Be Validated

In order to create the most accurate document database possible, sometimes validation of data is required. What primary sources should aid the indexing of your documents? Should HR databases be automatically updated with changed names or information? What primary source tables should your document management software include?

  • ERP
  • Accounting Software
  • Other
  • None
  • Dynamic Indexing is Required

Regardless of vendor selection, these questions are important to ask within your organization before approaching an electronic document management software vendor or service provider.

Would you like our Software Selection Checklist in PDF form to share with your team? Download it now.

Download: Document Management Software Checklist

Questions ?