The reception and generation of paper is something that all businesses must simply live with. We do our best to organize growing mounds of paper into filing cabinets, but the sprawl continues, making it harder and harder to find the paper we need and in the end real estate costs gradually expand as well.
Document management solutions are not just useful for storing digital versions of paper documents but can also assist with work flow. Instead of relying solely on paper, a document management can also assist with ensuring that your entire team is seamlessly communicating.
For example, WritePoint, Ltd. provides technical writing, documentation and software implementation services to Israeli technology companies. WritePoint installed KnowledgeTree (a hosted document management solution) for one of its clients, Atom Ltd., a developer of content management software. “Before KnowledgeTree, our writers spent up to 30% of their time searching for and verifying the latest version of a document,” said Thomas Bakanidze, CEO at Atom. “Re-creating content took up to 50% of their time. Now, we no longer have these problems.” Atom distributes its software in two editions, and each edition can be customized, resulting in the need to maintain a large amount of user documentation, such as user manuals, installation manuals and release notes.
Another benefit of a knowledge management solution is enabling remote employees and branch offices to connect and better communicate with each other. Often times, these employees and offices communicate through email. Which is “ok” but can create huge annoyances and deficiencies in productivity and time lost.
A Knowledge Tree spokesperson answered some questions.
What are advantages of a hosted solution vs an on premise solution?
The advantages of a hosted solution include lower cost of entry (no hardware capital costs) and reduced operating costs. This makes for a far lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and therefore a faster return on investment (ROI). Implementations can be accomplished more quickly and the hardware is run in a higher performing and more secure environment than an organization would be able to provide on-premise. SaaS products also bring an expectation of continuous innovation, where new features are being constantly added to the environment as part of the subscription fee.
The disadvantages of a hosted solution may be perceived security risk, and the mind shift the organization has to make to relinquish control over its data. These are far outweighed by the advantages outlined above in addition to the fact that the data is accessible 24/7 to authorized users regardless of their location.
Finally, some may argue that hosted applications do not provide the rich user experience that desktop software can offer. KnowledgeTree, through its cross platform Explorer, offers a rich experience on Windows, Linux or Mac while connecting to the hosted repository. With the Microsoft Office Add-in, users can access their online content from within their desktop applications.
There are many hosted document management solutions, how can one choose the best solution for them. What are some traits to look for?
One has to determine what the organization’s actual need is. Is collaboration your primary use case or are document control, auditing and versioning your main concerns? Where will your users use the software? Is your workforce mobile? Do they work remotely or are they located in several geographies? Choose a solution with features that meet the main requirements of the user base.
Does your organization appreciate a single tenant architecture where you can be sure your data is not sharing an application layer with other customers, or is price the primary concern in which case a vendor offering multi-tenant solutions might be acceptable.
You may also want to ensure that your data is portable between the hosted offering and an on-premise version should you ever decide to bring the document management system in-house at a later date.
Be sure to ask these questions of your vendor:
What SLAs (service level agreements) does are in place?
What uptime guarantees are provided?
What are the storage limits on your package?