An independent review of FileHold document management software in the May 2011 issue of DM Magazine. Document Management Magazine covers applications that overlap with its central tenet of Document Management, including Knowledge and Content Management, E-mail, Records and Archive Management, as well as peripheral technologies such as security, storage systems and networking.
With the growth in web services and cloud computing, the DM / ECM sector is naturally seeing lots of investment - both in products and in marketing - in web-based solutions. But FileHold takes the concept to a level as yet undreamt of by the rest of the market. The British Columbia, Canada based firm operates almost entirely via the web. Sales, support, remote user control and a vast amount of information such as training videos can all be found at its massively detailed website. The firm doesn't send salesmen across the world to do demos - everything is done via the internet using webinars and online demos. The sales process itself is completed by a download and remote install, and support staff can manage any issues via remote access and diagnostics. This packaged approach to installation and training helps to keep the TCO remarkably low for such a feature rich document management system.
Out-of-the-box features include: OCR and full text search (including the ability to save common searches); version control that integrates with MS Office; easy document tagging and linking; filing structures that can reflect the physical filing systems in place in the user office; web services API for connection to back office systems and a whole lot more.
The product also comes with scanning capabilities that will support over 300 common scanners and other imaging devices. Records Management features allow records to be converted to archives, put into legal hold, or be scheduled for final disposition. On top of the comprehensive 'standard' features comes a selection of options including: SharePoint integration; workflows, image viewing without the need for a native viewer application; single sign-on access via Microsoft Active Directory synchronization and a useful utility which allows users to 'Print to FileHold' and files they want to route into the FileHold library system.
The document management system itself is extraordinarily comprehensive in its scope, whether in the 20-users-or-less Express version or the Enterprise version which is priced based on a concurrent user licensing model. All customers are obliged to upgrade to the same most current version of the software, meaning no bespoke or custom software issues. FileHold describe their software as 'virtually bug free' as a result. For users with some IT resources, FileHold can be bought direct as described above, but the company is also interested in working with partners who can offer value added services such as scanning solutions.
While the company's route to market is certainly innovative, the FileHold product itself is no less so. A surprisingly comprehensive feature set, much of which comes as standard out of the box, is complemented by the developers' focus on best-of-breed architectures with .NET/SOA. This makes for a highly flexible, scalable
deployment that can do as little or as much as its users require. More info: www.filehold.com
The FileHold approach is unique and appealing: not just the document management system itself, but practically every element of the users' interaction with the company and the product are managed via the web. Is this the delivery model of the future for DM/ECM providers?