How to select a Document Management System

Matching document management solutions to business needs

Choosing the right document management solution can be an arduous task given the number of options available. A careful selection procedure can save you from wasting valuable resources on the wrong product. This article provides a step by step process to identify the right product for your business needs.

Needs assessment
This stage involves working with all internal stakeholders to discuss what is required from the system. The stakeholders should include decision makers, users and IT staff. This phase should close with a clear document stating all reasons for investment, for example, to reduce paper storage space, office relocation, a pressing compliance issue or improving sharing and accessibility of information across distributed offices.

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Vendor / product selection
Document management solution functionality can be broadly divided into basic functions, must haves and advanced features.

Basic functions:

  • Scanning and capture – the system should be flexible enough to handle the volume and type of documents needing to be scanned and captured. 
  • Metadata capture and use – capturing information about the documents, which department they belong to, type of document - invoice, application, voucher, customer correspondence.
  • Indexing and version control – classifying documents according to their metadata and maintaining version control.
  • Free text search – allows searching for documents using methods similar to Google, i.e. keyword searching.

Must haves:

  • Records management and retention – helps configure rules to automatically classify documents as records and maintain them to their retention deadlines.
  • Interoperability with other systems – interoperability with ECM, ERP or line of business systems, allowing the ability to navigate to and browse related documents from within these interfaces for faster decision making.
  • Alignment to legal or statutory compliance frameworks – different statutory regulations and industry standards apply to different organisations and a document management system should help you reduce the effort required to meet compliance goals by maintaining strict governance and document control. 

Advanced features:

  • Built-in workflow components – building and automating business workflow around document images can significantly improve business productivity.
  • Implementation options – most advanced solutions offer options for both onsite installation or system hosting.

Mapping vendors against the features that align with your business needs will therefore help to home in on the most suitable applications.

Pilot implementation
Having gained experience in implementing document management solutions for some of the largest world companies, DCS recommend that you start small, as it allows procedures to be developed and tested.

Full implementation and enhancements
Full implementation should include scanning and management of the full backlog of records along with training of system administrators and end users.

DCS have successfully delivered installed and hosted document management solutions to organisations across both public and private sectors. To find out more about our award-winning document management product, FileStore EDM, please call one of our business consultants on 01753 616720 or send an enquiry using our Contact Form.

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