Think of document management software as a virtual cabinet space that takes up less real estate and is easier for you to access. The days of digging through obnoxious file cabinets to find that contract or employee record are over. Document management software offers you a simple solution for saving, filing and tracking documents within your company. Now that you know what it is, how does it work, and how should you use it?
You will find there are many options when searching for document management software. Some applications are installed on internal servers and managed by an internal IT staff, while others live in the cloud and allow users to collaborate remotely on projects and co-manage documentation. With all the options available within these software tools, what do you need, and how do you find it? Well, you can start by checking out websites to learn more about what these software services offer, or you can continue reading to learn the basics of document management software.
Here we will talk about the basics of document management software and what you can expect at a minimum when researching a software solution that’s right for you.
Document Management Software Features
A feature-rich software program should allow you to scan hard copies of your documents and upload them to a virtual file cabinet. When uploading related documents, many programs offer tag management to allow you to categorize your client documents by using tagged keywords in search. Using tags, such as company names, will enable you to pull all documents tagged under that client at once, saving you time and headaches tracking down files on your computer or server. These features work like search engines – think of Bing or Google – and you will soon realize how convenient these tools can be.
Administrative Security Features
Many servers house sensitive documentation and confidential client information; it is for this reason that there are security checks in place to prevent unauthorized access to important documentation. Administrative settings can be configured only to allow specific users to access high-level documentation.
Multi-File Support System
In today’s media-rich world, your document management software needs to be capable of reading, uploading and storing files of all types. From text and PDF documents to audio and video files, having a software solution that can manage all file types is essential now and will be even more critical in the future. Storage space will be necessary for larger files, like audio and video formats.
Finding a Software Solution That Is Right for You
Knowing what your needs are and what you want out of the application is the first step. Multi-user applications will be necessary if there will be more than one person accessing the documents at a given time. Security and storage are huge concerns for any business owner, and that leads to the question, do you host the software on your server, or do you use an online service provider that offers the software solution, storage, and support?
Hosting Your Server and Software
If you have an internal IT team, then you may have the opportunity to bring the system in-house and host the software yourself. This requires server security, maintenance, software updates, and managing backups. Dedicated IT teams can handle this responsibility. However, small businesses sometimes struggle to allocate the necessary resources. Hosting and managing your server and software is a costly expense that not all companies can afford.
Using Cloud-Based Document Management Systems
This is where businesses that do not have an internal IT team can afford this luxury without breaking the bank. Many companies offer affordable solutions for cloud hosting and document management. Cloud-based systems are secure platforms that take the responsibilities of hosting, storage and security off your plate and put them on the plate of the professionals – often a better solution than a self-hosted platform. With access to professional IT support, you don’t need to hire an internal team to manage your platform, and this comes with most subscription plans.
Now that you understand what a document management system is, and how it can help your business, it’s time to find the software selection that is right for you!