With the massive amount of data gathered in day-to-day business, there’s no question that you need a robust document management solution. But the market is flooded with a lot of different platforms and EMC software solutions. How do you choose the right system for your business?

Your first consideration might be an expense. It’s a business, after all. While you do have to invest money in the structure of your business, you also need to make certain that the systems you invest in bring you a return. So your research can’t be a simple comparison between the costs of different providers. A system might be far less expensive, but not offer the usability your company needs. Some vendors might be very costly, but your company won’t use all of the features – so the extra expense might not be necessary for you or weigh out in return.

Start Your Research Internally

Whenever you’re considering a major business purchase or partnership, you need to start the research internally. What this means is that you should assess your current business protocols. Make this process as detailed as possible so that you get a full picture of how your staff works and where you need to improve.

Remember that your document management solution is just that, a solution. Before you choose your vendor, you want to recognize which documentation processes need to be improved. Even when your documentation and administration procedures are stellar, you’ll still want to make sure that the new solution won’t negatively impact your process. Essentially, you should come up with a list of features that your business needs. 

This will give you a good place to start your research. You can easily winnow out solutions that don’t fit your wish list of tools and processes if you already know what you’re looking to gain. At the end, you should have a smaller list of vendors to research more thoroughly.

Important Questions to Ask

The answers to the following questions will give you a good overview of the vendors and your own business needs:

Cloud-Based or Internal. Many vendors offer cloud-based solutions. This is a major benefit because it means that your information will be updated in real time. It also often means that the initial investment will be minimal. Some businesses prefer to buy an internal system, though this means that there will be a larger initial investment and the software itself will likely only be available on premise. This is an inefficient approach if you have remote workers or multiple offices. Your best option would be a solutions provider that offers a cloud-based document management system or ECM software that stems from the browser.

Specialty in Your Industry. Does the vendor have experience in your specific industry? This can be an important qualification. It will mean that the system is equipped to handle regulatory compliance particular to your business so that the solution can be customized easily for your needs. The vendor doesn’t necessarily need to specialize solely in your industry, but they should be able to give examples of work they’ve done with similar companies.
Support and Training. The vendor you choose should offer training for your staff plus personalized ongoing support. Look closely at their customer support offerings to make sure that your staff can quickly find expert answers if there are any questions or problems. 
User-Friendly. If the system is intensely technical, you may have issues in training staff to fully use all of the features. Discuss the ease of transitioning to this system – is it similar to commonly used software that your staff will be familiar with? Are instructions and prompts easy to recognize? The more user-friendly the system, the easier it will be to train staff and eliminate errors.

The document management solution you choose should improve the organizational flow of your business. When implemented correctly, this can result in increased productivity and efficiency. The important goal is to choose a vendor you can work with and a system that your staff can embrace wholly. 

Author Bio

As Marketing Communications Manager, Lauren Ford is the dynamic voice behind Square 9 Softworks. Delivering highly effective messaging across reseller channels, end-user communities, and outside agencies, Ford develops, drives and executes communication plans that effectively support Square 9’s overall marketing goals and objectives. To learn more visit http://www.square-9.com.