By Hellen Lubanga
More and more businesses are choosing to begin their digital transformation journey by shifting their paper-based processes to digital Document management systems. To bring you up to speed; Document management systems, (or DMS in short), refer to automated software that helps businesses organize, secure, capture, digitize, tag, approve, and complete tasks and projects related to the company work processes.
Imagine the convenience of moving CV categorization, training exercises, work orders, receipt production, bill payments and so much more into the digital space. Your workstations would go from cabinets bursting with bulky paperwork and files, to sorting and completing tasks with the click of a mouse. The same goes for “work from home” structured companies. Why spend time sending email after email, and making follow-up calls after follow-up calls when projects can be tracked from one place 24/7, with real-time feedback available?
After weighing the pros and cons of onboarding a document management system the next step is to approach potential service providers. It is extremely easy to get swept up in the excitement of scouting for a supplier, however, selecting the right people for the job requires you to know what you are looking for in relation to what it is they offer. A breakdown of some of the questions you should ask are listed below-
What Security features are included?
With the introduction of data security regulations into the law, it is important that you go with a vendor whose operations and systems are protected by iron-tight security protocols. This not only goes for how the data is stored but includes the tools and operations that surround said data.
To eliminate the risk of a security breach; questions that need to be asked include
- oes the company offer Audit services, if yes how often?
- Are the employees thoroughly trained on security practices?
- Is password protection an option?
- Does the software allow access control such as the creation of user profiles?
- Is the option of user authorization available depending on the various tasks such as viewing, editing, downloading, or sharing?
- Does the system offer time-controlled access?
- If the system is stored on an offline server as opposed to an online database can the documents be stored in an encrypted format?
- Does the system allow for storage of access restricted Backups?
What does the information transfer process include?
Before you can start enjoying the perks of having a DMS system, you first need to know how exactly the information currently stored as physical documents, will be uploaded onto the DMS. At this stage some of the information you should inquire about includes.
- How much data can be moved onto the DMS? (Storage space supported by DMS).
- How the data is transferred i.e. process of digital archiving.
- In what Format is data stored? For instance DWG, PDF, AI.EPUB etc.
- Does the company offer a detailed transfer plan i.e. the software/components required and the staff needed to support the process?
- How long would onboarding of the system take?
- Does the company offer a test run/training?
What does document access and classification look like?
Before the DMS is up and running it is important to get a feel in regards to functionality. Some of the important factors to know at this point include.
- Does the DMS define the classification of the documents?
- Does the DMS record and store individual user activity Logs?
- Is searching and filtering of results available and how does it work?
- Can one track the document history such as views, edits, downloads, and the like?
- How are new documents uploaded post initial DMS set up?
- Does the system allow versions of the same document to be maintained or does every new version write over the older version?
- What collaboration features are included, such as sharing, highlighting, adding of notes, commenting, etc.?
What are the digital storage structures offered?
DMS systems can either be cloud-based or set up as offline file systems. With Offline systems all data is stored on a centralized server found within the company itself, Cloud-based document management systems, on the other hand, refer to data stored on an external server that is managed by a third-party provider.
Offline systems work best where significant customization is necessary. Furthermore, offline systems live up to their names as they are available even without an internet connection.
A cloud-based system on the other hand is ideal where employees regularly work remotely as all they require to access the system is an internet connection. Cloud base systems are also a better option for SMEs as the upfront investment does not require the purchase of extra equipment.
When introducing something new an adjustment period is to be expected. We, therefore, recommend that you start with the most critical processes at a smaller scale to iron out any kinks beforehand. Furthermore, give your most paper-intensive processes priority before scaling to other projects in order to enjoy the perks of paperless processes almost immediately.
To learn more about how Cadtech services Ltd can help your office go paper less, reach out to us today