Choosing a Document Management System

Before selecting a document management system for a business it is vital to understand what the business objectives are that are driving the document strategy, whether that is old paper documents that may need to be scanned first or whether all of the business documentation is already held electronically. Is the intention to improve efficiency, cuts costs, increase customer satisfaction, comply with new legislation. Any, or all, of these reasons (and more) can drive a new document management strategy but you do need to be clear of your aims and the perceived benefits if you are to make an informed choice that will add value to your business.

Selecting the right technology for managing documents starts with understanding the purpose and value of your documentation so start by considering the following questions:

  • What pre-conditions are necessary for implementing a solution (eg do all paper documents have to be scanned; if not, how are the documents categorised into those that will and those that will not be scanned?)
  • How much input is required from existing staff before implementation to prepare or categorise the documents and afterwards to test/check the system?
  • Could a project manager be assigned internally to oversee the implementation or will the business have to rely on a project manager from the solution vendor/provider, who may lack necessary business knowledge?
  • What risks are involved?
  • Will any new hardware or IT staff be required?

Use these, and questions like them, to gather as much information and detail as possible about the factors involved in transitioning to a software-based system for managing and controlling documentation. Once you have all that data the choice of system will start to become clearer.

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