7 questions to ask if you're planning to buy a document management system

For companies with hundreds of governance, risk and compliance documents, using an intuitive document management system to organise, share and control documentation is critical. So when you decide to invest in a new document management system, it is essential that the solution will meet the unique requirements of your organisation. 

When choosing a document management system, it can be very difficult to decide which system and which vendor will be the best fit for your requirements. To help you to narrow the playing field, we have provided you with seven questions to ask your selected vendors. 

1. How will the software help to overcome documentation issues? 

document managment software

Make sure that the software will overcome your document management issues. 

If your company has too many paper-based processes and needs a document management system to digitise paper documentation, you will require a different document management system than if your main problem involves ensuring that policies and procedures are available for all members of staff to access.

By discussing your current problems with vendors, you will be able to ensure that the document management system will align with the strategic direction of your organisation. 


2. How configurable is the system?

compliance management software

When managing governance, risk and compliance documents, you may not want everyone to be able to access all documentation. Request information about how configurable the system will be and whether that level of configuration is necessary for your requirements. 

Whilst bespoke document management systems are configured entirely around your requirements, these systems can also be unreliable, expensive to update and often take a long time to develop. You may also be dangerously exposed to the developers availability to improve the software or fix any bugs. 

Off-the-shelf document management systems will vary in terms of how configurable they are. Mature off-the-shelf software will more than likely have very sophisticated options for configuration. By discussing your requirements with your selected vendors, they should be able to provide examples of how their software can be configured to suit your requirements. 


3. Who is using the document management system and what do they say about it?

best document management software

You wouldn't buy a new bike or a new car without first researching the company you are buying it from. You would spend hours looking at web reviews, talking to friends and looking on social media to see what is being said about it. Document management systems are the same, so you will want to ask for reviews, references and case studies. 

Some things you will probably want to know are: how the customer would rate the system & service, does the vendor understand the industry and regulations, how have system updates been managed and how long the system has been used. This will validate the vendors ability to provide a high level of service and give you an insight into the maturity of the software.


4. How can the document management system be accessed? 

using a new electronic document management system

The document management system needs to work cohesively with the ways your employees are accessing information. 

If your employees use SharePoint, you may want a document management system that can be accessed from SharePoint. If your employees access documents on their mobile phones, it fits that your document management solution is either mobile friendly or can be accessed by a mobile application. 

By asking how the document management system can be accessed, you will be able to make sure that the software will meet the requirements of all employees. 


5. What is the cost of the software? 

cost of grc software

Assess whether the vendor is a good fit by requesting cost information.

It is highly likely that every vendor will use a different costing structure which makes it difficult to compare. A more comprehensive way to determine which document management software will provide you with the best value to your company is to request information about the expected return on investment.

This ROI Calculator can be used to give you an estimate of the four year return on investment of EQMS Document Manager. 


6. How does the document management system prevent outdated documents being used?  

grc document management software

If you will be using the document management system to manage policies, processes, SOP's, quality, regulatory or compliance records, your document management system must prevents out-of-date documents from being used.

Request information from your selected vendors about how the system will help you to manage the delivery, acknowledgement and review cycle of documents. 


7. What level of support will be available?

governance, compliance and risk managment support documentation

Most vendors will provide you with software training. However, after this initial training, find out what other support the vendor will be able to provide you with. 

You may need user-guides, online help desks and extra training further down the line, so make sure that the vendor has the resources to support your ongoing training requirements. 

It can also be helpful to ask the vendor about what other governance, risk and compliance management software is available in case your requirements change. For example, EQMS is also available for auditing, supplier management or training records management. By finding a vendor who can provide you with more software solutions, you will save time and money in the future. 


What Next? 

Knowing the answers to these questions means that you will be more likely to find a solution which aligns with your overall business goals, organisational culture and future plans. 

If you need more information on getting a new document management system into your organisation, download the EQMS Buying Toolkit to access a number of resources to support you throughout the buying process of your document management software. 


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Topics: Document Management, Governance Risk and Compliance News

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