5 Myths About Electronic Document (DMS) and Content Management (ECM) Solutions in Small Businesses
Many Small Business owners view DMS and ECM Software Solutions as a luxury item that can’t be afforded but that is far from the truth. An efficient DMS/ECM Solution can actually result in huge financial savings for a company with the right amount of planning and foresight. Here are five common myths about DMS/ECM Solutions and Small to Medium Businesses:
Myth #1: I have Windows File Manager so I do not need a separate document management system.
Reality: Windows Explorer can help manage files, but it is a basic tool that is restricted to storing files in a hierarchy of folders. A good document management system will allow you to incorporate custom metadata to maximize your organization’s unique requirements.
With each scanned image of an invoice, you could affix an Invoice date, invoice amount, company, Status (Paid/Unpaid) and other types off metadata to each file. OCR processing will also insure access to information via natural search capabilities. These DM components significantly increase the number of ways you can search for and group documents.
An effective DMS/ECM solution should allow you to create links between documents, annotate documents (e.g. add highlights or stamps), and share documents with controlled access (e.g. user can view but not modify) using publishing capabilities. Being able to combine media (documents, audio, video, etc.) in a single published document is also significant.
This is a lot more than what your basic Windows file storage operating system offers.
Myth #2: Small Businesses do not need DMS/ECM Capabilities.
Reality: Small business owners are impacted by resource constraints and often cannot afford staff to handle routine paperwork, punch and file documents, search for and retrieve files, and file them back once reviewed.
Employees of a small business are further impacted by performing the above tasks rather than the tasks they have been hired to do. A good document management system ensures that employees have access to all relevant documents at the click of a mouse. The fact that this content is fully searchable and easy to use is the key to increased productivity.
Myth #3: DMS/ECM is too Complex to Implement for a small business.
Reality: Once your firm’s DMS/ECM requirements are identified, there are multiple solutions available that are easily implemented. The best way to implement a DMS/ECM solution is to launch it in a single department and roll it out from there (e.g. managing just the invoices you send and receive). Once you have had a chance to review the gains in one department, you can extend the solution to the rest of the organization. Care must be taken that the solution has the following properties:
- Simple User Interface;
- Easy-to-Install and Configure with no DLL’s to Manage;
- A Comprehensive User Manual and Technical Support available via Email, Webconference, or Phone.
Myth #4: A DMS/ECM is TOO Expensive for Small Businesses.
Reality: Small businesses may not need advanced, complex features that large enterprises typically require and the number of users working on the software is likely to be smaller. There are affordable document management software solutions available and switching to electronic document management helps reduce the consumption of paper and other office supplies. When you calculate the Return on Investment (ROI) on a small business document management system, you would find that investing in one would actually prove to be one of the most business-profitable decisions your firm could make for its medium to long-term growth.
Myth #5: I can destroy my paper based documents once the DMS/ECM system is in place.
Reality: You might still want to retain many of your documents in paper form. Divide your paper based documents into 3 groups:
- Documents that are required to be in paper form by law (e.g. physically signed contracts);
- Documents you may still need in paper form for your routine business operations;
- Documents that you will definitely not need any longer in paper form.
Of these 3 groups, the last can be digitized and the paper versions disposed of immediately. Documents in the second and third groups will eventually come up for possible destruction, bringing you one step closer to achieving a paperless office. Always check to see if your DMS solution can create retention policies for you so that users can be notified when both digital and paper based documents can be deleted/shredded.