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Choosing a Document Management Solution? Key Aspects to Consider

By Thomas Schneck • October 18, 2018 at 5:43 PM

How many moving parts does your organization have? As many as a luxury wristwatch?

When influencing so many central business components, exchanging any part for a new one means ensuring that all of the other parts continue working together just as well as a whole.

As far as the luxury wristwatch goes, “just as well” may be fine, but for organizations implementing office automation solutions, everyday efficiency increases are the aim. Of course, that isn’t easy.

Risk is inevitable when implementing document management and digital workflow, but what key aspects should you focus on to minimize that risk?

Changing Behaviors Is a Risky – But Worthwhile – Endeavor

When you’re changing behaviors inside of an organization to achieve business value, if user adoption is slow, it’s going to take longer for an organization to achieve that value.

Through simple training, individual users should quickly be able to see how the solution benefits them every single day. A focus on training and rapid user adoption lessens risk and increases an organization’s speed toward its goal.

When companies start looking at document management software, they may initially focus on the backend and overall functions and features. Instead, they should be asking, “How well would this system work for our average user?” Having the best functionality isn’t worth much if half of the people on your team can’t figure it out.

Keep in mind that document management is a cross-platform application that everyone should be able to use. To get the most from the solution, it needs to be usable for everybody, from accountants and engineers to the business office and employees who work on the factory floor.

This is one of the most important aspects of choosing an digital document management solution: Consider your users on the micro and macro level.

Ensure that Software Aligns with Desired Business Benefits

With any software deployment, there are a few general rules guiding principles:

  • Understand your business problems and expected benefits. Through proper communication internally and externally with your vendor, verify that project goals are being addressed correctly.
  • Take the time to define the basics, including which departments the system is primarily intended for, the document types your company handles and the business processes you’re targeting for improvement. 
  • Let your business benefits guide the deployment. Prioritize items by benefit instead of features or options. What’s most important to your business? Approach the software implementation in phases.
  • Keep communication going. Has the plan deviated from the approved path? Measure, adjust and continually improve to ensure alignment.

Factoring in Security and Compliance

Data loss and control are becoming increasingly important in the minds of consumers, and organizations are well aware of this trend.

In document management – whether implementing an on-premises or cloud solution – setting up security measures is just part of the process, and these features are actually upsides for data-conscious organizations and consumers.

Focusing on what security needs are most important for your organization – stronger compliance, for example – is an important conversation to have between stakeholders as well as with your vendor.

Complying with HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, GDPR and other mandates does not have to be a burden. Automated workflow applies rules, logic and standards that enhance control over business-critical information. 

2 Key Steps in Every Office Automation Implementation Plan

Step #1: Choose a complete infrastructure and solution, which includes preconfiguration, evolved technology, managed services and user adoption training.

Step #2: Ensure that stakeholders, project leads and all employees who will be using the solution sit down with the prospective software vendor to communicate about, and have input into, all aspects of the project.

5 Must-Haves for Every Office Automation Solution

If you find yourself looking at a document management and workflow solution that lacks any of the following functionality, keep searching:

Innovation: This is the key driver of maximizing user adoption. The software should be able to handle the most complex processes while keeping user experience intuitive and uncomplicated.

Architecture: The solution must meet the current and future needs of your organization. This ties back to the question: What’s most important to your business? Cloud-based software eliminates the burden of maintaining security, redundancy and scalability. These responsibilities are shifted to the cloud services provider. Business owners can focus on process optimization and worker productivity.

Security: A well-refined rights system for accessing documents across user groups and role levels is a critical component of any document management and workflow automation solution.

Scalability: A system should be able to grow with your business and your customers. From a simple workstation to a wide-spanning system, start your software project small and grow it as your needs evolve. This should be done without complicating other aspects of the organization or the software, and without retraining employees on how to use the system.

Integration: The system you build needs to fit into an existing IT landscape and have the ability to integrate with current and future applications.

Mobile access:  Your team’s best work can happen outside of a traditional office. When you embrace the flexibility of mobile technology, employees can initiate workflow, route and complete approvals, and make informed decisions any where, any time. 

Assessing Total Cost Of Ownership

Looking at an office automation solution strictly from a pricing perspective is the wrong way to go, but being able to accurately assess the total cost of ownership of your solution is critical.

How should you approach pricing? What are some overlooked aspects of the total cost of ownership?

Consider what you’ll spend on training your employees, configuring the system, and on support and maintenance. As with any investment, taking the long view is essential to making good choices. Don't make a decision that is solely based on current requirements, rather than thinking about your organization’s long-term needs. A lot can change in your company, and your document management and workflow automation solution should be robust and flexible enough to keep up with that evolution.

 

docuware_photo_schneck_thomas_1Thomas Schneck is a founder and President of DocuWare.

 

Editor’s note: This post has been updated for accuracy and new content has been added.

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Topics: Integration, Security, Team Productivity

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