How to Chose the Best Document Management Software

by Jason McManus | August 6, 2021

To choose the best document management software, you must balance changes brought by recent technology advances and modern cloud architectures with your business needs.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. But the good news is your expectations will be met in one of many modern document management systems. And there are many to choose from.

Table of Contents:

What to Expect from Document Management Software 
When Do I Need a Document Management Software?
Key Features of Document Management Software
How to Choose the Right Document Management Software
How to Implement Document Management Software

Expect More for Less, Because Now You’ll Get It. This Wasn’t Always the Case.

In the early days of document management, customers were impressed by high-speed scanners and the ability to simply find, view, and print a document.

paper document softwareBack then, return on investment was based on recouping floor space, eliminating lost files, and allowing multiple users to access the same file concurrently.

And advanced capture with workflows? Rarely available, if at all.

But now, choosing the right document management software hinges on aligning business outcomes, core business workflows, and your existing technology ecosystem.

For example, do you just need an archival solution, or would your organization benefit from more automation? Deciding this will have a big impact on return on investment.

If all you need to do is recoup floor space or meet a long term records storage plan, then an archival-only solution is very cost-effective. 

However, if you're looking for a solution that reduces head count, speeds up revenue processes, and provides better corporate control of information processes, then a document management software with automation is the way to go.

If you only think about document management in terms of where documents will be stored and accessed, you are missing out on incredible opportunities for changing the way you work with critical business documents and information.

What to Expect from Document Management Software

Today, customers expect much more for their dollars.

They expect automation of traditional low-level human activities. They expect to be able to make data-driven decisions using analytics from their document management software.

Being in the document management software business, we rarely deliver a solution that does not have advanced capture and / or workflow.

Our customers expect their document management solution to be easily accessible from all core business technologies. And they shouldn’t have to pay large services fees to build those integrations.

Look for Specific Solutions - With Security!

So look for purpose-built solutions that feel like they were built from the ground up specifically for your use-case or industry.

software solution securityYou probably don’t need a document management software that is intended to have solutions built out on top of it (think SharePoint, although that is certainly a viable option for many organizations).

And don’t forget security. You need your content to be safe. Look for multi-factor authentication, a proven track record, and assurances of cyber security.

The bottom line: Expect the software to facilitate your most important business transactions.

When Do I Need a Document Management Software?

Every organization, no matter the size, or nature of their business, should have a document management software.

best document management software for businessIf you don’t have one today, then you should make plans on how to acquire one. The question isn’t when, but what.

Most organizations have wildly different business needs:

  • You may just need a simple cloud-based solution that might only cost a few dollars a month.
  • Or you may need automation, analytics, and sophisticated integrations with line of business applications.  

If you haven’t implemented a document management solution, (or you are using a simple file share) the best time to make a shift in technology is when you are considering the overall efficiency of internal workflows and business processes.

You absolutely need a document management software when business processes begin consuming valuable time that negatively impacts revenue and customer service.

10 Elements to Look for in a Document Management System:

  1. Cloud storage
  2. Full-text search
  3. Customizable metadata fields
  4. Mobile device access
  5. Low-code configuration
  6. Expansive API toolkit
  7. Built-in document workflows
  8. Integration with document capture solutions
  9. User access rights and permission controls
  10. Secure data storage

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Document Management Software Deep Dive by Key Feature:

2 Tips for Choosing the Right Document Management Software:

1. Prioritize ease of use. If end users refuse to adopt it, it will be a failure.

easy document systemIt sounds crazy, but in some of the most successful document management deployments I’ve seen, the end users don’t even know it exists.

The document management system is integrated into the applications they already know and love. If anything, it seems like a new feature to them versus a new product to learn.

2. Focus on business outcomes. In the early days this was rarely a consideration.

Today, the technology needs to pay for itself and then some.

If the technology doesn’t reduce headcount, decrease the amount of time it takes to get money in the bank, or provide some other measurable value to the organization, then in today’s landscape it is considered a failure.

2 Tips for Implementing Document Management Software:

Software implementation varies depending on the technologies needed to create the desired business outcome.

1. Know Your Data

Understanding your data (not just your workflows) is crucial to successful document management projects. Even if you hire outside consultants or delivery partners, they will never know your data as well as you do.

document expertIf you don’t have a clear and documented understanding of your current documents, workflows, and the data needed for automation, your project will likely fail.

2. Partner With an Expert

Document and content management solutions have been in existence for decades.

While there are certainly more companies supporting them than solutions exist, there’s a huge quantity of both.

There may be many viable options for your requirements, so success will hinge on a properly executed project.

Companies that provide services for document management software solutions bring an immense amount of knowledge that comes from past wins and fails. They will have business analysts and technical expertise that will help ensure your project is a success.

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