A document management system is much more than just cloud storage. But the answer to this question is yet to be sufficiently answered by the majority of document management vendors, for they focus too much on describing document management system features, not the office problems they solve. Before describing features native to this powerful software, we will first discuss DMS in terms of the benefits reported by our customers at our Edge User Conferences and within our customer success stories—terms which everyone can understand. These benefits are just some of the reasons organizations are going paperless through document management solutions at unprecedented rates.
A Document Management System is Freedom
Freedom is the most frequently mentioned benefit of our customers at the eFileCabinet Edge User Conferences, and this freedom was largely found in the ‘lightness’ associated with going paperless via a document management system.
This ‘lightness’ also overthrew the painstaking processes of faxing, searching for information for long periods of time, manually handling documents, and more. Most existing customers did not understand the pain of working in a paper-dependent office until they experienced work without it, realizing that paper, in some sense, is what kept manual labor alive—even in the white collar world. Most of the world’s information has been created within the past 3 years, and a significant portion of it is contained in a digital format. Imaging documents is only the first step in organizing digital information. Without a system in place to automate, secure, and potentiate documents’ value as mission-critical assets to an organization, the information contained in these documents will not deliver its full value.
A Document Management System is Free Time
When it comes to work, time is practically as important as the currency of your paycheck, and opportunity cost proves this: The more time you spend boggled down by administrative tasks associated with paper such as walking to the fax machine, printer, and filing cabinets, the less you are paid for the expertise defining your role, and this detracts from your value to your organization no matter how talented you or your employees are.
The more time you have at work to do what matters, the more wisely you can use it. Although many view paper-related interruptions at work as ‘part of their jobs,’ it needn’t be that way with the right technology, and this mindset—in large part—is what keeps workers partaking in the oppression of their professional lives. Relying on a document management system to overcome these inefficiencies can literally change the trajectory of professionals’ lives, and the companies for which these employees work. Document disarray is the number 1 cause of organizational chaos, and without the means to manage, optimize, and orchestrate information, there will be little if any means for organizations to receive the information assurance they need in today’s era of digital transformation.
A Document Management System is Convenience
Convenience isn’t just meant for consumer-driven technology—it has also gained a strong foothold in small to mid-sized businesses. For instance, cloud-based document management solutions and the mobile apps for it make it possible to access files, collaborate, and securely send sensitive information from anywhere there is an internet connection. The built-in web portal of a document management system also gives users the ability to share very large sets of files securely via their mobile phones. Although accessibility and security were once viewed as mutually exclusive benefits of technology solutions, the document management system brings each of these benefits together in a single functional solution.
From a security and convenience standpoint, this is important for workers in small healthcare clinics, whose IT managers must utilize the document management system to keep sensitive information secure when employees store office-related information on their own mobile devices, and from anywhere there is an internet connection. In the accounting industry, DMS’s Mac compatibility and mobile application provide the responsiveness that CPAs’ clients demand now more than ever, and the same is true of the finance and insurance industries – particularly as financial advisers and insurance agents spend more time traveling and meeting clients at their location of choice.
A Document Management System is Peace of Mind
Security breaches, information leaks, and other data catastrophes dominated the headlines in 2016 and have already made several headlines in 2017. However, most of these breaches were the result of poor internal information management, and a document management solution provides the tools to keep information safe both inside the office and out. Recurring 24-hour data back up, secure Amazon Web servers, 256-AES (advanced encryption standard) bank-grade encryption for data in transit in the mode of SSL (Secure Socket Layer), and data storage with multiple artificial and physical points of presence are only just a few of the peace of mind facilitating features comprising top-notch document management systems. Additionally, the role-based user permissions feature of document management software mitigates the fear associated with the rise of internal data breaches, which comprise over half of all data breaches occurring in the past two decades. Organizations failing to quell the rise of internal data breaches with their own solutions will fall victim to internal breaches in greater number. In 2017, ransomware has also become a significant problem for organizations, but document automation technologies are paving new roads for organizations to combat ransomware attacks
A Document Management System is Professional Growth
Most of the world’s data has been created within the past 5 years, making it more difficult than ever to not only trace this information, but also to extract insight from it. When information is lost, misplaced, or un-utilized, it becomes difficult for employees to receive praise for their good works, much less the professional growth these good works bring. However, the metadata of a document management system makes information far more retrievable and securely stored, preventing the arbitrary naming of files that leads to needless document duplication, and slow document retrieval times. Consequently, DMS puts information at our fingertips more quickly, providing more time to utilize this information, solve problems, develop our skill sets as professionals, contribute to our organization’s success, and, ultimately, advance our careers via the right document management system.
Types of Document Management System Products
Contrary to popular belief, On-Premise DMS products do not necessarily require the on-site maintenance and upkeep required by an internal IT department, because many vendors will still partake in the upkeep of the on-site technology. However, whereas On-Premise DMS products are designed to integrate and sync with an organization’s preexisting, on-site IT infrastructure, Online, Cloud-Based DMS do not require the same level of planning at the implementation level. Another facet of purchase frequently overlooked is the higher power and electricity costs that are associated with On-Premise DMS. Despite this intuitiveness being typically accompanied by higher prices than other DMS models, on- premise solutions still outshine the cheapest manual storage systems in overall cost efficiency.
Sometimes used to describe more than a single DMS product, the term On-Premise can include an array of third-party, desktop-licensed products purchased from other software suppliers. The On-Premise solutions themselves, however, require server hardware unlike their Online, Cloud based counterparts.
An Online, Cloud-Based document management system is arguably the most functional and secure of models offered in the DMS product spectrum, because it transcends the desktop compatibility issues sometimes faced by organizations using niche operating systems (other than Windows) on their computers. These DMS products will essentially charge organizations for data and information storage space, and the accessibility of this data—hosting it on the DMS vendor’s server, which will be accessible to the buyers from anywhere there is an internet connection available, and, oftentimes, through mobile applications and Mac operating systems. The cloud is also more conducive to mission-critical stages of organizational growth, allowing a greater reduction in operating expenses (OPEX), when compared to On-Premise DMS.
Although On-Premise DMS solutions are typically easier for DMS newcomers to understand, it should be noted that online DMS solutions tend to have more up-to-date features. Despite the presence of these up-to-date features, larger organizations sometimes find that the cloud’s bandwidth is limited – making the higher up-front costs of On-Premise solutions and the power output required to run them, financially justifiable.
The cloud (frequently referred to as software as a service or SaaS), is not as intangible as its name implies—it is rather a global infrastructure occupying many different tangible spaces (such as highly encrypted data centers) around the world, integrating the enhanced security, collaboration, and storage bandwidth necessitated by the increasing complexity and volume of small to mid-sized organizations’ information.
One of the most appealing features of the Online, Cloud-Based DMS is how their vendors make its storage space, enhanced security, and hyper-collaborative tools available to organizations at very low prices without forcing buyers to adapt to new information architecture. Some of the most widely mentioned Online, Cloud-Based DMS products also provide staff with access to multiple servers without occupying too much space in the office, simultaneously offering flexibility for the organization’s IT department. However, this is only a starting point for the differences between On-Premise and Cloud-based DMS, and should not be used as a substitute for a more comprehensive comparison.