Collaboration is one of the key things you need to have in mind with your small businesses; whether you’re sharing information internally with your coworkers or with your business partners all over the world – sharing files can get messy.
To stop losing files, being sure the other side got it and everything else that goes with this kind of collaboration, many of you will see that simple email sharing isn’t good enough. Should you use some specialized tools like Dropbox or SugarSync? Or should you think about implementing a document management system (DMS)? Here are some things that Square 9 Softworks thinks you should consider when choosing between file sharing and document management systems.
- Security. Security is one of the key things with handling documents. With a simple file sharing you can secure a shared directory (along with its subdirectories) to restrict access to them. Document management systems, however, provide many more security features than that. Yyou can decide who can edit documents, add them, delete them, etc. and, of course, you can get notifications on who and when accessed the document.
- Taxonomy.Naming the files is another problem huge problem with simple file sharing programs because it’s at the discretion of the creator. Can you imagine how hard it would be to find a document just by its name in countless folders and subfolders? Very hard, right? DMS systems make this task a lot easier because they use standardized naming convention and enforce the use of required fields.
- Revision control. Revision control should also be important to you, as it’s always nice to have older versions of the files on hand just to be safe and in case the newer version somehow is worse than the original one (or just some previous version). That’s another area where document management system are better than file sharing.
- Scanning Capabilities. Of course, there are some other great things which should speak in favor of document management systems; one of them is how they handle scanned documents. Sure, it would be great if businesses could be 100% paperless, however, that still isn’t possible. So you’re going to have to scan a lot of documents to create a digital archive of them and that’s where DMS shows up as a great helper. Scan the document and if you’re using a good enough DMS system, it will OCR the document so you’ll have a searchable digital copy of your documents, opposed to basic .jpg files in a shared folder system.
- Control. The real benefit of having access to your documents and being able to share them is not in how many you can store and share, but in what you can do with those documents once you have them. Document management provides tools like workflow automation which allow content to flow throughout your organization based on pre-set rules or events. It also allows for the automated capture of email, web forms and even print output in many cases.
This is just a tip of the iceberg of collaboration and file organization; once you start using a document management system, you’ll get used to it and find out all the advantages over file sharing. It will transform your business from an unorganized pile of files and papers into a finely structured, easily searchable digital storage system.