Is Flexibility the Key to an Effective Document Management System?

Author: Richard Shaw
Posted: April 29, 2016

While it may be true that “flexibility” is at the heart of any effective Document Management System (DMS), it’s worth exploring exactly what flexibility means, and why it is important for businesses now … and will probably be even more vital in the future.

Centralised and cloud-based document management systems allow businesses of all sizes to reduce costs, enhance efficiency and improve collaboration by enabling documents of all types – from customer correspondence and vendor invoices to internal reports and archive documents – to be accessed and utilised remotely, and even simultaneously, by employees where and when they need to. Good document management systems aren’t just flexible in themselves; they allow the businesses that use them to be more flexible, agile and competitive.

Flexibility for the Future

The requirements of a document management system fifteen or twenty years ago differed massively from what we expect as a minimum today. Back then, the vast majority of users would still be accessing documents and workflow systems on a workplace desktop PC. Now, you might need to view a document on your workplace PC today, on your smartphone tomorrow and on a tablet the next day.

The past decade has also seen an increase in the number of employees working from home, as well as enterprises hiring outside contractors or freelancers who may not even be based in the same country. It’s more important than ever that workers are able to share and access documents and business workflow tools remotely, and that they are able to do so securely.

This type of shift in the way businesses and workers operate is likely to become even more marked in the next few years, and document management solutions need to be flexible enough to stay ahead of the curve.

What Will Users Expect from a DMS?

Developments such as cloud-based document management and Software as a Service (SaaS) can no longer be thought of as emerging technologies – they’re here to stay, and they point the way to the future. The substantial increases in the adoption of various elements of enterprise social networks in the past few years also highlights changes in the way businesses are choosing to interact, collaborate and manage data.

Business tools such as SAP Business ByDesign offer a diverse range of SaaS “modules” designed to track specific business processes like project management, human resources, customer relationship management and many others. We believe that the best document management systems will offer similar modularity, allowing enterprises to stack and build a flexible, tailored solution that’s right for them, rather than opting for a one-size-fits-all package.

The cloud-based collaborative tool Slack also demonstrates the value of broad integration capabilities, incorporating services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Zendesk alongside video, voice and screen-sharing capabilities. It seems likely that this type of integration flexibility will become more prevalent in document management and workflow systems in the years to come.

If your business could benefit from a flexible document management solution, speak to one of our expert consultants today to discuss the best options available.

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