Top ten questions to ask a document management supplier

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Organisations are under mounting pressure to streamline their business processes, increase their bottom lines and reduce their carbon footprints.

In order to meet these demands, many are turning to electronic document management (EDM) systems to gain a competitive advantage. Document management enables organisations to electronically store, retrieve, manage, deliver and authorise business documents. It also enables the automated capture and verification of purchase invoice data, reducing manual data entry.

The falling costs of disk storage, hardware used to scan documents and high speed internet connections has led to document management becoming more widely used. These systems are easy to use and as well as reducing operating costs and improving efficiency, they also support organisations green agendas and business continuity plans. However, with so many document management providers in the marketplace, choosing the right supplier can be an overwhelming task.

Catherine Murphy, Marketing Manager of document management and imaging company, Version One, says that you must ask a document management supplier the following key questions when selecting an EDM system:

  1. Do you author the document management products you supply? A supplier who is also the author of the software is more able to tailor modifications to fulfil your particular needs. The supplier can also ensure that the solutions are tightly integrated into your core business systems. You will also be better positioned to benefit from regular advances in technology to ensure your organisation doesnt get left behind the competition.
  2. Do you provide an end-to-end document management solution? Lots of companies claim to provide a full end-to-end portfolio of electronic document management products but many employ third party organisations to enable them to provide a complete solution. EDM solutions that combine software from different providers can be difficult to install, integrate and support.
  3. Do your document management products tightly integrate with all major accounting and ERP systems? Does your supplier integrate its solutions with all major accounting and ERP systems? Check your document management technology can tightly integrate into your current system. This will enable you to view and process documents by quickly and easily drilling down from your ERP system, saving time whilst providing a comprehensive audit trail of financial transactions.
  4. If we move accounting system can we take our document management with us? Make sure your investment is a sound one by checking that your document management software is portable. This will give you flexibility and confidence that should you change your accounting system, you can take your document management with you.
  5. Are you UK-based? Many document management suppliers are based abroad and have a limited understanding of UK business needs. It is important your supplier is UK-based so that they have the necessary understanding of the needs of UK businesses and can provide you with local resources for training, implementation and support. This will ensure any difficulties can quickly be overcome.
  6. Do you have a well-established customer base? Your document management supplier needs to be able to demonstrate a long track record in delivering successful solutions to different industry sectors.
  7. Do you have any customer reference sites we can visit? Does your document management supplier have a proven track record of providing solutions to leading companies across a wide range of industries? If so, its satisfied customers should only be too happy to act as reference sites and share their success stories so you can purchase in confidence.
  8. Can we buy your document management through our existing software provider as well as direct? Check whether your document management supplier has a close partnership with your existing software provider.  You may feel more confident about buying document management through your established provider.
  9. Whats your after-sales support like?  Your supplier should possess a dedicated support team that can quickly respond to your needs. It should also carry out customer care campaigns to make sure you are happy with your document management and imaging software. Check that the supplier also provides end-user training courses so you can acquire the skills and proficiencies needed to maximise the capabilities of your EDM solutions.
  10. What return on investment (ROI) can I expect? Document management and imaging software has one of the fastest ROIs. Your document management supplier should be able to demonstrate an ROI of six months or less.

The advantages of electronic storage and processing cannot be ignored and make a compelling case for implementing document management solutions. However, organisations shouldnt expect to reap benefits from just any EDM software solution. A lot of thought and research needs to go into selecting the right document management supplier for your companys needs and also for those of your customer base. Not all suppliers have the breadth of applications, the development capability in-house or the track record to successfully deliver. By choosing carefully the benefits are substantial an increased competitive edge, significantly streamlined business efficiencies and a much improved bottom line.

 

About Version One

Version One Ltd is the author of electronic document management and imaging software.  This software enables the automated electronic storage, retrieval, management, enhancement and delivery of business documents such as invoices, purchase orders and statements. This 'paperless office' technology is seamlessly integrated into all major ERP and accounting systems and with a typical ROI of less than six months, Version One's solutions are enabling thousands of organisations to save dramatic amounts of time and money.

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