No matter the industry, every business has documents that need to be filed away somewhere so that they can be easily accessed later – whether those files are invoices, personnel records, patient records, or legal documents. But how should they be stored? As paper copies in filing cabinets or at an offsite storage facility? And if a company decides to go paperless, this brings up more questions, like whether the electronic documents should be saved in a file share or a DMS (Document Management System)? There are a lot of options to consider.
Faced with this decision, many businesses opt to use SharePoint for their document storage needs. But is it really the best choice? Is it better than using a paper system or a file share? And how does it stack up against a full-fledged Document Management System? These are all great questions to ask! In this post, we’re going to answer some of them and clue you in on some reasons why you might want to explore a Document Management System beyond SharePoint.
1 - Process Improvement Expertise
One of the benefits that comes along with selecting a Document Management solution is business process consulting. When you select a software vendor, one of the first steps they will take is examining your processes and determining how they can best be adapted to the Document Management System, which may also include a workflow solution. This is a great opportunity for your business processes to undergo a facelift. After all, if we’re honest about our business processes, we can all admit that they’re not always the best way to do things. Sometimes, our way of operating is more the result of someone else’s idea from many years ago, rather than the most efficient set of steps needed to get the job done.
When you decide to use SharePoint as a file storage system, you miss out on this very important piece. Generally, processes stay the same as they’ve always been. It takes just as long to complete your tasks, and work remains just as needlessly tedious as ever. Your business misses the opportunity to have fresh life breathed into its dated processes.
2 - Limits
SharePoint puts a critical limitation on file storage. For any folder you create, you can only store 5,000 documents within it. This means that the organizational structure you set up may work just fine in the beginning, but it can quickly become inadequate, forcing you to make adjustments and create a series of subfolders to accommodate all of your documentation.
Compare this to a scalable Document Management System, which is built to support your company’s growth. In fact, DocuPhase allows large-scale organizations to store their files on multiple servers if their volume is high enough to warrant it. Regardless of where the documents are stored, they are still all available through one centralized browser-based repository.
Don’t allow this limitation within SharePoint to rob your business of a well-organized, scalable file storage system.
3 - Administrative Requirements
If your company is going to use SharePoint, you will need an internal expert – someone who will take the time to learn how to create everything you will need and to maintain the system. In fact, companies that use SharePoint generally have a full time SharePoint administrator on staff. It is a labor-intensive system to use, and it’s easy for things to become disorganized.
Alternatively, a Document Management solution can be set up for you by the software vendor – someone with experience and expertise. While you will want to have someone on your staff who is cross-trained and can do some basic troubleshooting, the bulk of the support will be handled through your maintenance contract. If something breaks, the vendor can fix it for you. If changes need to be made, you will have the option of hiring the software vendor for consultation and to make technical adjustments.
4 - Duplication & Version Control
In some ways, SharePoint is a good platform for collaboration with your team. Surely, it can offer more than a traditional file share. Still, it falls short of what a Document Management System can offer. Document Management software should include a revision control feature, which allows users to check out a document, make edits to it, and then check it back in as a new version (or revision). Further, users should have the option to view previous versions and to promote previous revisions when appropriate.
When you don’t have this kind of functionality, you can end up with duplicate documents, and you can also find yourself spinning your wheels, doing the same work someone else has already done. Again, the organization you will get with SharePoint is not as robust as that of a Document Management System. The lack of version control serves as only one example of this fact.
5 - People Don’t Like It
In business, as in life, resistance to change is par for the course. While some people are excited for new opportunities, others loathe being forced to adjust to new standards and expectations. When a manager makes a decision about file storage, the bottom line is a very important consideration, but so is the solution’s level of adoptability.
A quick internet search will reveal that many SharePoint users simply do not like it. In fact, there are some surprisingly profane hashtags on Twitter that express this distaste. And when users don’t like something… they quickly cease to be users, choosing instead to store their files as paper copies or within the file shares they were accustomed to.
On the other hand, a business manager that chooses a Document Management solution with a sleek, intuitive interface can expect that his or her team will be more amenable to the change. Before choosing a document storage option, a business leader should check out the interface his or her team will be working within and determine how adoptable it is.
Selecting the Best Option
Once your business has done an honest assessment of what it needs from a document storage solution, hopefully you’ll be in a good place to choose the best option. For many companies, a Document Management System can make files easier to manage and can reduce overall effort, alleviating the strains caused by lost documents, process bottlenecks, and endless email reminders.
To learn more about Document Management with DocuPhase, request a custom demo!