Shop Around: Knowing what to ask when shopping for a document management system

/ General, Document Management

Business documents need to be accessible because they keep your staff in the know and are the backbone of your business. Whether your business is small, medium or large, document management may seem like a burden. Getting organized doesn’t have to be a burden, but you have to shop around.

Many solutions are confusing and expensive, leaving businesses in worse shape than before. Some document management companies convert your documents into inaccessible file formats that cannot be viewed outside of their program. Other companies want you to fly a technician out to install and train you, adding thousands of dollars to your costs and delaying the process by weeks.

When looking for the right solution for your company, ask the important questions; what will be the yearly cost of this program? How easy is it to train new employees to use the system? Is your vendor keeping up with the latest technology and industry trends? Your initial cost will vary, but a yearly cost for support is standard in the industry. Ask what that cost will be, and determine whether that is a cost your company can afford on a yearly basis. A support cost in the range of 20%-40% per year is normal in the industry, but some companies charge far beyond that, so ask when and how much you’ll be expected to pay.

Ask what type of file your documents will be converted to and stored as, this will determine the accessibility of your documents outside of the specific document management program. You’ll want to know that your documents can be transferred to a new system without issue in the future if you decide to do so.

Finally, ask yourself if a program that requires in depth training is right for your company. Paying for someone to train you and your colleagues might sound good initially, but remember, that it is time away from other business activities. As you hire new employees or other members join your team will they need training as well? If so, that is an additional cost that you have to factor into your decision process. Look for a program that is right for your company culture. If an easy-to-use program that gets everyone up and running quickly seems like a better fit, look for that type of solution. Many companies offer trial software for you to evaluate the software yourself, ask if that is available and have a few people in the office test it out prior to purchase.

Cost, ease of use, accessibility, these are just a few things you should consider when shopping for a document management system. Ask yourself as well as your colleagues what are the top priorities for your new document management solution.

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