When your company is drowning in information and documents, it’s obvious that you need a better system to control it. You might not realize it, but if you own a mid-sized business, you already have a document management system — of some sort.
Most likely, your current system is largely paper-based and includes myriad, seemingly small inefficiencies. As these inefficiencies add up, day after day, they could put your company behind your competitors. But how do you make cost-effective decisions about document management?
The value of enterprise content management (ECM) technology is well established in large organizations, according to the research group Bitkom, particularly in regards to facilitating economies of scale and meeting the high data security and compliance demands when handling documents. But this awareness hasn’t yet reached the same level for mid-sized businesses.
In a company with 50-500 employees, the business owner typically drives decisions about document management technology. It’s fairly rare for companies of this size to have a formal process for calculating ROI such as you might find in global corporations, government and other large organizations that require greater oversight of technology investments.
For mid-sized businesses, a less formal cost-benefit analysis is usually sufficient, as long as they look beyond the simple costs and consider the soft ROI that makes document management so valuable. In a recent report, Bitkom surveyed over 800 medium-sized companies, assessing their conceptual understanding and adoption of ECM, as well as the costs and benefits they have experienced with making this switch.
The survey results give you a sense of how companies of this size choose a document management solution. Here are the top five criteria they consider:
1) Cost-value ratio
Seventy percent of companies identified this as the single most important criteria, indicating that they selected the system they saw as delivering the best ROI.
The document management software’s overall usability ranked as one of the selection criteria for 65 percent of respondents.
3) Cost of ownership
Sixty-four percent considered the ongoing costs to operate the system after implementation, including maintenance costs.
4) Flexibility of the software
Sixty-one percent of respondents considered this factor. A major requirement for successful document management is the software’s ability to integrate with a company’s existing infrastructure, including an ERP, CRM or other line-of-business applications.
Another measure of the software’s flexibility is its ability to expand. This is especially important for growth-oriented mid-sized businesses that want to invest in a system that grows with them.
Only around half of those surveyed (52 percent) indicated that the system’s specific functionality was a major selection criteria.
These five criteria could serve as a useful starting point when choosing a document management solution for your company. The challenge, especially for first-time buyers, is that these benefits deliver soft ROI, and it’s sometimes difficult to translate them into quantifiable value. When using this less-formal assessment, your success depends largely on developing a relationship with a trustworthy ECM vendor.
A good ECM vendor should help to develop a solution that aligns with your business needs and present you with a strong use case and value proposition that reflects the daily realities of your organization. The vendor should also work with you to map out a plan for achieving a strong ROI within a reasonable time frame.
Discover the true value of increasing efficiency and productivity through document management. Download our free e-book, Cost-Effective Document Management: A Guide For Mid-Sized Businesses.
Learn more about enterprise content management.