22 Project Management and Sales Pros Reveal the Top Considerations in Buying Document Management Software Tools
Document management software is quickly emerging as must-have technology for modern enterprises, particularly in today’s content-driven culture. Companies demand tools that enable them to organize, curate, categorize, and discover content and other documents such as contracts in a central location to fuel not only a myriad of marketing channels but also provide assets to support sales and customer service functions.
It goes without saying that this is a monumental task requiring the best that technology has to offer in this space. Considerations such as searchability and discoverability top the list of priorities for marketing and sales pros, as well as business leaders, weighing and comparing their document management options. Integration is also important, particularly as companies rely on a multitude of systems and tools to manage workflows across departments and business functions. There are other considerations as well, such as selecting tools that enhance, rather than hinder, productivity.
To gain some insight into the key considerations for modern organizations in purchasing tools that support the document management process, we asked a panel of sales and marketing pros to answer this question:
“What’s the single most important feature to look for when evaluating document management software tools?”
To find out what you should be looking for if you’re considering buying document management software, read our experts’ responses below.
Meet Our Panel of Project Management and Sales Pros:
Jarrett Meiers is a management and technology strategist, entrepreneur, and frequent speaker on business growth and improvement. Jarrett runs Blueprint Essential, a technology strategy consulting company which helps organizations create strategy plans that seize innovative opportunities through the discovery and adoption of emerging technologies.
“After ensuring the solution is secure, easy to search, and in your budget, the single most important feature to look for when evaluating document management software tools is ultimately…”
Integration. A document management tool that has a good mix of direct integration and plug-ins available will allow users to save, retrieve, edit, and capture files from their frequently used applications. If these functions are difficult, the solution is likely to be bypassed and you may end up with information outside of the system. Integration should also make sharing files easy, so check that content can move freely to peers, prospects, and clients. Another important area to test is mobile; try out the mobile apps and be certain they are native, robust, and allow for a free flow of information.
Before making the final decision, I recommend reviewing your existing workflow to see what can be improved and how this solution will help you achieve your goals. The biggest hurdle can be adoption from your team so it’s best to mirror a lot of what is naturally being done, rather than trying to change everyone to fit this new system.
You will be successful if you find a solution that your team will want to use, produces the end result you are looking for, and prepares you for a better future.
Mark Tuchscherer is the Co-Founder & President of Geeks Chicago.
“We look for two features when evaluating document management software…”
First, it must have a great web-based dashboard. We don’t want desktop software or downloadable tools. Second, it must be easy to use. Many clients and employees are not very tech savvy. We think some of the stuff that InsureSign is doing is very appealing.
As lead solution consultant at itas, an award winning Sage 200 partner, Hannah has a real passion for data, process design, and CRM. With an academic background in Mathematics and Operations Management, she has spent the last 5 years applying that knowledge to the project management, design, and implementation of CRM, ERP, and BI systems across a range of sectors and with organizations of varying sizes. She gets a real buzz out of seeing her clients grow and flourish as a result of her efforts.
“The single most important feature to look for when choosing and purchasing document management software is…”
The search functionality. Most document management tools give you similar abilities to upload documents, but the searching capabilities can vary from product to product. Having a central store is great in that it gives everyone in the organization the ability to find documents, but the reality is that people in different teams will have a different process for searching for documents and may not even know what they are looking for, so good searching capabilities are an absolute must!
Mike Olson is the Marketing Manager for Legal Templates, a document builder tool that allows users to create their own attorney-certified legal documents.
“The single most important feature to consider when looking for management software is…”
Document-creation capability. Bypassing the middleman, such as high-priced lawyers, brings huge cost savings, which is particularly helpful to small business owners. With that being said, it’s crucial to ensure you receive certified, professionally-crafted documents through the document creation process.
A certified Project Management Professional since 2008, Dana LaRieal Morales manages a wide range of technology-based projects in the legal industry. Ms. Morales utilizes a hybrid project management approach, and her experience includes, but is not limited to, the roll-outs of several comprehensive document management systems.
“The single most important feature to look for when evaluating document management systems is…”
What other applications it’s compatible with. It can be the best system in the world, but if your other applications don’t play nice with it, it will not work well for you. A lot of people only think about basic document production tools like Microsoft Word or Apple’s Pages, but you need to think about the proprietary software you use and any hardware that interacts with the system like a scanner or document reader.
Aqib Nazir is the founder at AQIBNAZIR.COM. He writes about blogging, search engine optimization and social media marketing. He is an IT Consultant currently working for a healthcare agency in Dayton, Ohio. Apart from consultancy, he is also automating their paper-based timesheets into electronic timesheets.
“The most important considerations in choosing document management software are…”
Features and scalability. Document Version Control is something that matters to us the most, and this was one of our most important considerations while purchasing document management software.
Sam Williamson works for Aims Media Glasgow, a digital marketing agency based in Glasgow.
“The single most important feature to look for when buying document management software is…”
Search functionality. Document management tools aren’t hard to come by, but so many of them lack basic features that would make them far easier to use. Any document management software tool that has a search function automatically gets a tick in my book. There’s nothing worse than scrolling through hundreds of documents trying to find the one that you require. It’s even better if the tool has a preview feature, so I can make sure that I’ve found the right document before opening up fully.
Andrew Reeves is the founder and CEO of Luxe Translation Services. He started as a freelance translator and turned his company into a multinational translation services provider, performing translation work in 220 languages.
“The most important feature to look for in a DMS is the…”
Search functionality. You have a lot of documents. That’s why you decided to invest in document management software in the first place. The main purpose of the software is to help you stay organized and find documents fast. Many programs are disappointing when it comes to their search functionality, and hence, they are not very helpful. Therefore, I believe the single most important feature to look for is a user-friendly search design and functionality.
Adine Deford is the CMO at MineralTree.
“One important consideration in choosing document management software is…”
One of the major pain points of auditing company finances is the extensive time spent on chasing down paper documents. Moving toward a paperless department is all about making critical documents easily and quickly accessible. Take advantage of a complete end-to-end accounts payable solution, including the ability to convert paper invoices into searchable PDFs and unlimited cloud-based documentation storage.
Paul Ruedi is the CEO of Ruedi Wealth Management, Inc.
“We are completely paperless. We looked at all the major vendors and wanted the best in class…”
My advice is stick to best in class, and look for a side vendor that integrates with the main document management company with specific features for your industry.
Dustin Bolander is the CIO for Tech Pointe, a managed services company in Austin, TX. Tech Pointe also handles document management for companies in the legal, engineering, and pharma industries.
“One of the leading complaints we get when talking to people about their document management is…”
How difficult it is to use – secondary programs to run, complex mechanics for putting docs in, etc. Nothing is more frustrating than a whole new system for people to learn and master, especially something as critical as document management. That would be like putting in a new email system that required hours of training. If you’re switching email (say Google to Office 365), it still fundamentally works the same: you can send, receive, reply all, etc. There is not a big learning curve to be able to work. Document management should be the same.
Dawn James, CPA
Dawn James, CPA is the founder of Dawn James, CPA & Co. Dawn graduated from University of Maryland at Baltimore in May of 1981, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Medical Technology. Dawn James, CPA & Co., conveniently located in Towson, Maryland, is a full service tax, accounting, and consulting firm. They cater to clients all across the economic spectrum ranging from individuals and nonprofits to small to medium-size businesses.
“We have used 3 document management systems since 2005, and have reviewed over 10. Each one had its pros and cons. I would have to say the single most important item when selecting a document management tool is…”
Flexibility. By flexibility, I mean ease of use and customization. Every business is different and every business is similar. We have done a great deal of customization of templates, file names, cabinets, draws, etc.
Antonio Carlos Soares is CEO and co-founder of Runrun.it. He has been leading high growth companies for the last 15 years. During his time as CEO of Aorta, he helped create the leading mobile application development company in Brazil. After successfully selling the company to Media Conglomerate RBS, he co-founded Runrun.it.
“The most important feature in document management software tools would have to be…”
The organization of the files inside the platform. To expand on that: it’s the hierarchy within the platform in which the files are being shared that holds importance. It’s fruitless to create many folders within a software tool if there is no assignment to those who will use them. Ideally, you could create a task hierarchy, i.e., tasks> projects> project groups> client. This would make for intelligence and organization in the system. In addition, there must be version control (Which is the newer version? What should be considered?). Add also an efficient search option in order to save users’ time.
Gabriel Kuperman works for CuePin, a powerful design collaboration and feedback tool that helps you and your team members work fast and work smart.
“One of the biggest considerations in choosing document management software is…”
Security. Companies should consider how the document management software is securing their data, what measures they’re taking to protect their clients’ information, what repercussions there are if their data is compromised, and whether the document management software has any liability or insurance to cover instances in which data is compromised.
Craig Borowski is a Market Researcher at Software Advice, covering technology and changing trends in the CRM market with a focus on customer service, marketing automation, and the impact of technology on CRM strategy.
“We often find that the single most important feature…”
Isn’t a feature at all. Instead, it’s the compatibility of the features with the company’s existing workflows. Buyers usually have a general sense of the DMS functions they need and whether they should focus more on front-end features like capture and scanning or other features like version control or publishing. Deciding on those is usually the easy part.
The hard part, and the part that too many buyers skip over, is evaluating the compatibility of the solution in terms of the existing workflow processes of the employees who will use it. This part of the evaluation helps buyers select a DMS that meshes smoothly with and supports common tasks. This seems to be the key to long-term success with DMS selection; it opens the door to the efficiency gains that a properly selected DMS can deliver.
Larry Trevarthen is the director of Commercial Printing and Scanning at Epson America, Inc.
“When purchasing document management software, you should consider…”
With the document management market growing, dedicated document scanners are being placed in document management solutions across all verticals and organizational sizes, including SMB environments. Solutions that provide great reliability, excellent integration, and solid service and support are key features to consider when making the decision to purchase document management software tools. Having the ability to scan and manage documents at the desktop provides an added level of convenience and immediacy to better serve customers.
Dedicated scanners, such as Epson’s, have become a critical part of a document management system, especially as the need for compatibility with third party solutions has become more important than ever.
Nazar Abdul is a Chief Cloud Architect with Sysintellects and Director of Project Management Institute PMI Tampa Bay area , architected and rolled out several cloud based SaaS products including Contract Experience for Sysintellects.
“The single most important feature to look for in a document management software tool is…”
Reliable Save and Fast Search capability: Ability to store and retrieve consistently, reliably along with a fast search using keywords each and every time is the most significant use of a document repository. As the document repository grows over time , it might have millions of documents and without this feature , the tool may become very slow.
Rachel Jia is currently technical marketing manager at Dynamsoft. She also has six years of customer service and technical support experience. This includes having worked on technical imaging and document management requirements of customers from different industries including, healthcare, finance, government, and more.
“Assuming you’ve already defined your preference of a web-based versus a desktop application, you will want to ensure the chosen application will…”
Actually help improve your workflow. This is the most important reason to secure a document management application. To truly improve workflow, the document management application should provide simple-to-use image capture and image editing tools that also allow you to save what you want where you want it.. So, once you’ve captured and edited a document to your liking, can you save it as a PDF, TIFF, JPEG or whatever other format you prefer and can you save it locally, to a server or other location that benefits workflow. So, in summary, the single most important part feature of a document management application is how well the image capture capabilities enable a more efficient workflow for you and your team.
Michael Steinberg works in Business Development for Slideflight.
“When evaluating document management tools, look for…”
Simplicity is what makes a great document management tool. In a fast-paced, digitalized world every second counts. Saving time by eliminating obnoxious registration processes, tedious software downloads and steep learning curves is essential. Tools like Beamium, which lets you share and present PDF documents with just one click, are what users in the 21st century are looking for.
As President of Canada’s foremost provider of high quality document management and business process outsourcing solutions, Sheila Lindner oversees a fantastic team of people. She strongly believes that their employees come first, and that quality people will guarantee quality services for their clients.
“The single most important feature in document management software tools is…”
Accessibility – for the right people. The right document management software effectively treads the delicate line between making documents easily accessible without sacrificing security. You need important documents to be logically organized and accessible immediately by authorized parties, but you also need peace of mind that these documents are fully secure in the case of breach.
Sheshgiri Kamath is the CEO for kapture CRM, which is a cloud-based CRM solution. He combines his business and technological knowledge to produce customized software solution that improves the way for operating your business. He loves blogging, social networking and reading.
“One important thing to consider when choosing document management software is…”
How contextual document management ensures practical utility to your data.
With data being heralded as the pillar stone of all businesses, collecting and managing organizational data has become a science of its own. In a practical scenario, most businesses struggle to find the best purpose and utility for their data. At best, the data needs to optimally fit into their existing business, aiding a normal processes and structure. More than accumulating your business data, you need to find the right context and application of your data. The contextual document management is the ability to make data available across requisite organizational touch points at right moment, allowing your data to be streamlined across teams. Rather than just having a centralized document repository, you to have contextually-validated document sharing system to provide increased utility. Here’s a list of five core benefits of making document management centered on your business to aid and augment your business.
1. Being Tailored to Your Team Requirement
Having a monolithic document management structure across teams is unlikely to be the most suitable data management model. As each team mostly has its own hierarchy and specific process management models, these mostly tend to be suit individual personnel’s or skills. For example, a sales team could have a live process-oriented structure, while a marketing team could have a system requiring constant updates and ability to roll-back on made changes. This requires individual customization for specific organizational parts. Rather than changing a well-developed business model, it’s the document management system that should be customized to suit an existing business models. With accurately understanding each organizations direction and daily process mode, a document management system creates information hierarchy that doesn’t deviate much from an existing process.
2. Connect and Leverage your Information Flow
With carefully applied data across organizational touch points, you can find practical usefulness as leverage for managing your daily application. A modern day business task rarely come under sole responsibility or capability of a single individual or group. This requires smooth application between different teams, requiring better process management across teams. With mobile document management, you can make significant progress and improve the way information gets shared across platform. Remember that having to share specific information for each client would be prissy and time-consuming. A mobile document platform giving access to document platform, makes you data instantly accessible. This allows you to make your document flow instantly reviewed and shareable for daily processes.
3. Compatible Across Devices and Browsers
If you are looking to make your documents easily accessible for both customer and employee,it needs to be compatible with multiple devices and OS. Among these, scrutinizing the resource usage comes along the same lines. This requires your documents to be simultaneously available across devices and browsers.
4. Managing Large Documents and Resources
Modern day document management is not just about speed, but it’s also about ability to share large chunks of information. While you can easily set-up a system for passing-on information, having access to complete source can have an effect of directly speeding up processes. The system also ensures that your team can work with a large source of information at any time point. There’s a discernibly large difference between having access to individual information pieces and having access to complete information. This enables you to systematically derive a complete picture of the existing process.
4. Document Security and Manageability
With having data grown into the organization pillars, securing them have become more important than ever. The increased stress on security has severely dented organizational ability to manage and avail information internally within organization. But data has its best practical utility when it’s available at right time and context. A document management system allows you balance between securing and availing critical data. A cloud-based system comes with the essential guarantee of security and security. It also enables saving, access and modify documents within a centralized system, making them instantly accessible across platforms.
5. Managing Clear Information Hierarchy
Having access to the information is useful only if you can actually acquire them. Even with a unified document management, ability to reach and share documents could be demented by requiring technical knowledge across teams. Instead an information hierarchy provides an easy-to-browse paths, making data accessible for everyone involved.As most business owners are familiar with following architectural path for PC or website, having a similar system makes your data easily accessible. In this pitch, a document system should be able to make data accessible across platforms, providing easy accessibility across platforms. The role of a document management tool isn’t to just send documents to right place, but availing them at multiple hands on right time.
Russell Stalters is a recognized subject matter expert for information management, SharePoint and Office365 solutions. Most recently as Director, Information and Data Management and Chief Architect for BP’s Gulf Coast Restoration Organization he created the strategy and applications to manage over a petabyte of information.
“The single most important feature to look for in document management software is…”
Whether the solution will integrate with the way I work. Does it tightly integrate with my email client/solution, my desktop applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. and does it provide a reasonable experience on mobile devices? If the answer is no to this fundamental requirement, then the likelihood of successful adoption and use by people diminishes significantly. Bottom line – it has to be easy to use or no one will use it.
Further Reading from the Docurated Blog:
- What is Agile Marketing?
- B2B Marketing Automation Tips
- 10 Components of a Marketing Plan
- Top Marketing Automation Tools
- Measure Marketing ROI
- Strategic Marketing Plan Resources
- Account Based Marketing Resources
- Consultative Selling Tips
- Sales Pipeline Management Tools
- Business Analytics Software
- Digital Marketing Trends