When on the hunt for a document management solution, it can be hard to know which features will be most useful for your business or organization. Although every business is unique, it’s important to choose a system that not only suits your current needs but can evolve as your needs change.
Long gone are the days of requiring complicated software downloads on each user’s workstation. A solution that is entirely HTML-based will allow users to access their files and documents using their web browser. Typically, users find it easier to implement a document management system when it has a simple GUI (graphic user interface) that is already familiar to them and certainly all users know how to use their web browser, whether it be Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, Safari or others.
On-premise document management systems were the norm for a long time, but now businesses and organizations are shifting to the cloud and reaping the benefits — one of which is lower cost. When combining a web-based interface with the cloud, you get a scalable, multi-tenant software that leverages resources for a lesser cost and optimum efficiency.
Productivity can be significantly diminished when users are without access to their files, so users need to be able to access their files and complete tasks from their mobile devices. It’s important to choose a document management system that supports all the major platforms: iOS, Android, and Windows.
A system that offers mobile access using the web browser on tablets, smartphones and more permits users to mark up and collaborate on drawings and other documents, whether in the field, on the production floor, or even while traveling. Businesses no longer operate on a strictly 9-to-5 basis and can’t restrict users to how and when they can access important documents.
For situations where users may not have Wi-Fi or cellular connections, a solution that allows users to download documents and drawings to be viewed in an offline mode are critical, and security is even more critical – a good feature is one that allows offline documents to be shown on the device as images and not downloaded files. Security should not have to be compromised for mobile use.
Companies need to ensure their data is protected. But it’s not only employees who need to view files — sometimes it’s outside vendors or contractors. To prevent just anyone from viewing, printing, editing or sharing particular files, you need to be able to assign permissions or roles to users to restrict/allow access.
This is a critical feature in any document management system. When users get access to files hey don’t have permission to, it becomes too easy to accidentally delete, change or lose a file. As corporate intellectual property leaves the four walls of the company due to unfettered access, the risk of corporate sabotage or competitors getting your product can increase substantially.
It’s not uncommon for businesses or organizations to start with a document management system for a single department. The issue comes later on when the company wants to expand the use of the software to other departments, often requiring implementation of a new system and re-training users. This can be a big waste of company time and money.
This is why it’s critical to choose a document management system that is scalable from the beginning and has the ability to perform optimally regardless of whether you’re just starting off with a few key users, or are covering multiple departments with thousands of users. Your system needs to be able to grow with your needs and provide the functionality and security required by larger organizations.
Every company differs in their exact needs or requirements, but one thing remains the same — these five features are important to any document and workflow management system and can help you elevate your productivity, achieve greater results, and grow.
Maria Morgun is marketing manager for Equorum.