Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Best Software Solutions For Managing Your Documents

By: Ray Feoli

For many modern businesses, a paperless office is now clearly an impossibility. In the 80s and 90s it was thought by many people that we were, due to the Internet and collaboration software, approaching a time when everything would be digital, clean, and neat. This has proven to be a utopian business ideal and is now looked at as a by-product of the �New Economy� mentality that was prevalent at that time. But, even though there is no imminent hope for a completely paperless office, document scanners and document management software have indeed changed the way we handle that remaining paper. Document management software has enabled businesses to move vast stores of paper documents to digital libraries. Document management software providers now offer a dizzying array of products that can help any business get a handle on their documents, even if they cannot eliminate them completely.

Even the most basic system requires some kind of document management software to run it. Necessary functionality includes character recognition and filing. Of course, document management software providers offer elaborate functionality that can serve even the most complex organization�s document management software needs.

One level of functionality is the basic document management package, which includes things such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR), search, and integration with other common applications. This package is offered by most document management software providers, and is great for small to medium businesses that want to extract greater value from their documents. OCR is the system by which printed words are identified in machine language.

Search is vital for making information in documents work for your firm. Document management software will generally allow for search based on certain key words, although advanced search functionality would allow the use of metadata and other features. The more powerful your search capabilities, the more important it is that you have the proper access control on your documents. Document management software providers have included security measure equal to their product�s search capabilities.

Document management software providers have also developed functionality that allows for tight integration of your system with other applications. For example, scanning expense reports or other financial documents into your document management software, and then accessing them directly through your firm�s accounting software. This can provide enormous benefits for your employees, especially if some of them work remotely. They will be able to access all the necessary documents using Quicken or Excel or whatever variant on these two applications that your firm happens to use.

This batch of functionality that comes with your document management software is a basic package that, nevertheless, yields incredible value to businesses. Document management software providers have identified the bottom-line, basic needs of small and medium businesses and put together document management software packages that deliver those solutions. If your firm is investigating the need for this software, a product that includes this limited but effective functionality might be the answer. Consult with a variety of document management software providers to find the suite of functionality that is best suited to your firm�s needs and budget. Document management software providers should be able to match your needs with their offerings, delivering to you the best product at the best price.