I have outlined 8 steps that a customer needs to go through when evaluating an On-DemandDocument Management System. I have organized them based on highest to lowest priority. The priorities could be different based on a customer’s business model and document usage patterns.
- Search – What type of search capability exists on the system? Does it have attribute search as well full test keyword search? Can you search the whole document or just title?
- Security – Make sure the server hosting the document storage is secure. Make sure the company that is hosting is trustworthy and known. Find out how long the company has been around for and how many customers they have.
- Document organization – What type of organization of documents the hosted document management system allow? Are documents organized by folders in a system similar to what you are used to? Is the organization structure very complex and hard to figure out? How easy is it to upload documents or entire folders?
- Server speed – Are you able to access documents quickly and easily or is the load time very slow making it difficult to access your documents?
- Ease of use – Take into account who in your company needs to access the hosted documents. Do those that need to access the files have limited computer knowledge who need an easy interface? If so, is the interface self-explanatory or will you need to retrain your office staff.
- Document revisioning (editing) – Do you have the option of editing the documents online or do you have to check them out each time you need to make a change?
- Document sharing & permission – how does sharing documents with other employees work with this system? Are you able to check documents out so that only one employee has access at a time?
- Price – this should not be the only deciding factor, but it is a consideration. There are some hosted document management companies that charge only a few dollars a month. There are others which charge hundreds of dollars a month that offer enterprise hosted document management.