One of the most important things for FileHold to do as a company is understand what our users need from our products and other trends from DMS users across the market. That's why we were excited to see this new research from the document management reviews and evaluation firm Software Advice. They surveyed employees at companies using DMS to figure out which applications and features are most useful. They also studied the challenges they face and how using a DMS has improved their business operations. To learn more from their study we asked Craig Borowski, the study's researcher, some more detailed questions.
Q: In your research on Document Management Software (DMS), you found it was helpful in overcoming a variety of content related challenges. Which challenges did it help most and why do you suppose that is?
A: Great question! But it’s a tough one to give a universal answer to, simply because of the wide variety of document management processes required across the industry spectrum. For example, in industries that have a large publishing component, we find that document versioning and collaboration tools are used most frequently. In industries that require management of particularly large quantities of documents, the organization DMS tools are most useful because the overcome the challenges associated with finding and tracking reports and documents. One way to look at this is: DMS software technology greatly improves the efficiency of whatever document management processes any particular company might find challenging.
Q: What are some valuable, but underused, features in DMS?
A: One challenge businesses frequently face is how to transition from a primarily paper-based office to a paperless office. Most businesses recognize the huge efficiency gains that come with making this switch, but they falter when it comes time to actually begin the process of switching. In light of this, I think the most underused yet highly valuable DMS feature is scanning and document capture. Scanning and document capture features stand on the border between paper-based and paperless offices. Determining where this feature gets used, by which department and in each of a company’s document workflows, will determine how effectively, and how quickly, the company completes the transition to a paperless office.
Q: Some people think DMS is mostly valuable for enterprise businesses, but can SMBs get value from the software as well?
A: Yes, definitely. In fact, SMBs often have the flexibility needed to fully integrate their DMS into their workflows and to do so with minimal disruption. To get the maximum return on DMS technology implementation, a company needs the cooperation and participation of (usually) all employees. This is easier to accomplish in SMBs, as they don’t have the large numbers of employees that enterprises typically have.
Q: What can companies do to sooth the pain-points of implementing DMS?
A: First, select a software system very carefully. Ensure that it will meet the needs of existing workflows and also scale as the company grows. At the same time, be careful that an overly feature-rich DMS isn’t chosen, unless those extra features will add value. Remember that a DMS is an efficiency and organizational tool: if employees get bogged down with extraneous features, efficiency and organization can suffer.
In some cases, companies find that implementing a DMS in stages works best. For example, in Q1 they might work on getting their Sales and Marketing departments transitioned to the DMS. Then in Q2, the Support department would follow suit. This is a more conservative approach to DMS implementation. While the full benefits of full DMS integration will be delayed, integrating like this in stages allows more time to ensure it all goes smoothly.
Q: What are some customizations businesses should consider before purchasing this software?
A: When businesses are evaluating DMS software, they should always ensure that it will be compatible with whatever document formats they typically use. These days, most DMS's handle the whole spectrum of commonly used formats, PDF, DOC etc. Nevertheless, some industries have more specialized formats and sometimes DMS's need customizations to handle them. Apart from that, make sure the DMS will allow for any needed language and localization customizations and that, if needed, the GUI can be customized to match the look and feel of the company’s other digital assets.