In an effort to stay organized and eliminate the majority of their clutter, many businesses are transitioning to a paperless office.
While the thought of getting rid of all the paper inside an office may seem overwhelming, the process can be quite easy when document management software is used. Document management software provides the tools to organize, edit and distribute the documents that currently sit on a desk or inside a bulky file cabinet.
The best software is able to quickly scan papers, import existing files and folders into a central location, and distribute documents in standardized formats. It can also be easily searched through either keywords or full-text.
When used properly, document management software provides businesses with everything they need to go paperless. Businesses that have made the switch to paperless systems say it has made their lives easier.
Stephen Rischall, co-founder of the Los Angeles-based investment management and financial planning firm 1080 Financial Group, said his business and clients have benefited greatly from document?management software.
“The financial services industry has strict regulations in regards to record?retention and document security,” Rischall told Business News Daily. “By imaging all of our clients’ documents?securely online we’ve been able to automate document retention policies and?limit access to confidential files.”
In addition, since his software is cloud-based, having on-demand access to documents has also been helpful, according to Rischall.
“Whether I’m?meeting at a clients office, working from home or at the office, I can?easily search and view any document I’m looking for,” he said. “It’s so much faster?than sifting through traditional files.”
Paul Cox, CEO of Business Compliance Partners, said his office is in San Diego, where wildfires are prevalent. He said going paperless ensures that should they need to evacuate, as they did in 2007, they can be sure their important documents are safe and that business won’t be interrupted.
“Going paperless protects documents from destruction, makes evacuation?easier, requires less storage space and allows management of your business?remotely in an emergency,” Cox said.
When searching for document management software, businesses should be looking for a variety of things, including the ability to convert paper and electronic documents to PDF files for easy distribution and collaboration. It should also offer tools for tracking a document’s workflow and be able to integrate with popular word processing and email programs.
The software should also feature multiple levels of security to ensure only those who are supposed to see a document can.
With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to find the document management software that best fits your needs. To help, our sister site Top Ten Reviews conducted in-depth reviews of document management software. Here are their top three recommendations.
Its organizational potential and easy integration with other programs are some of the reasons why M-Files DMS is this year’s Top Ten Reviews’ Gold Award winner. The software integrates with your whole system and gives you full workflow controls. M-Files DMS can be used and accessed by anyone within an office’s network. Businesses can set access permissions for specific files or make everything completely open to the whole office. When a file is opened, the software “checks it out” to that employee. While others can view the file, no one else can make changes to it to ensure there won’t be conflicting workflows on a single file. M-Files DMS also offers strong backup and restore features to protect against files being lost or damaged.
Tools: When files are approved, they are converted to PDF versions so they can be easily sent to other employees and clients. The software also includes auditing tools that allow businesses to inspect the full history of a file at any time. The searching tools M-Files DMS makes finding files a simple process. You have the option to search either by metadata or through the full-text of a file.
Integration: M-Files DMS integrates with Windows’ operating systems and communicates with all of your existing programs, such as email and Excel. The software also fully integrates with mobile devices. If a smartphone or tablet is networked to the rest of the business, M-Files DMS will recognize the device and allow you to import, export and edit files.
Help and support: When loading the software for the first time, you have the option of getting a full tour of the software that walks you through each aspect of the program. For specific problems, you can contact customer representatives via email or phone. In addition, the M-Files website offers a full FAQs section and extra training materials.
PaperPort Professional earned high marks from Top Ten Reviews for its excellent user interface and great tools. PaperPort works with Windows Folders, so you don’t have to transfer files into the software. Since the software is fully integrated with Windows, moving files around is as easy as dragging and dropping. The software’s document imaging combines optical character recognition and PDF conversion when filing and sorting documents into the correct folders. Once a file is in the PDF format, you can merge it with other PDF files or split and separate the pages. PaperPort also gives you backup and restore capabilities.
Tools: PaperPort’s digital file-tracking system allows you to set up individualized security permissions to ensure only those employees who need to view certain documents can. The software also has the ability to convert text files to PDFs by clicking one button. The PaperPort interface is also simple to use. All of the menus have large, clear buttons, so you can easily navigate through the options and tools. Once a document is filed away, you can search for it by the metadata it was labeled with when created.
Integration: With the exception of email programs, PaperPort Professional 14 works well with any program already installed on your computer. The software recognizes nearly any file type, and it has an in-program editor to work with those files.
Help and support: Nuance, PaperPort’s developer, offers a wide range of help from its website. The FAQs section has detailed answers to common questions, and if you need to contact customer support, they are available by telephone and live chat.
Read more: The Best Document Management Software