Your workplace could also be effectively on its strategy to being a paperless one or maybe you are beginning to lead the cost. However it’s possible you’ll uncover that wrangling digital information may be simply as troublesome as organizing their printed-out counterparts. It could be that your online business would not have an actual system in place or that it makes use of a mixture of companies to handle, share, and archive information. Whatever the motive, losing time by repeatedly trying to find the information you want is expensive and inconvenient. It additionally makes it troublesome to collaborate on stories, spreadsheets, and different small tasks.
Doc administration (DM) software program can assist you handle your information each step of the way in which—from storage, sharing, and collaboration to archiving inactive information and destroying out-of-date information. To find out which options are an important for companies to have, right here we have a look at the highest DM companies, together with Adobe Doc Cloud Commonplace, Ascensio System OnlyOffice, Field for Enterprise, Citrix ShareFile, Dropbox Enterprise, eFileCabinet On-line, Evernote Enterprise, Google Drive for Work, Microsoft OneDrive for Enterprise, Microsoft SharePoint On-line, and Editors’ Selection Zoho Docs Commonplace.
After we discuss DM, we imply on-line document-sharing applications, equivalent to Dropbox Enterprise and Google Drive for Work. We’re not speaking about the kind of enterprise-level administration that includes paper file storage, offsite or on-line backup, retention schedules, and eDiscovery or authorized compliance (although a few of these merchandise, equivalent to Field for Enterprise, eFileCabinet On-line, and Microsoft SharePoint On-line additionally provide a few of these options, for an extra price). The important thing right here is that we’re specializing in software program that makes it straightforward to share and collaborate on vital paperwork, seize notes and feedback, and discover what you want if you want it.
Pricing and Packages
Each time your online business is making a purchase order, the value is clearly an enormous consideration. For DM, pricing will vary based mostly upon your organization’s dimension and its particular necessities, equivalent to what number of customers you’ve gotten, how a lot cloud storage your organization wants, and what kind of add-on companies you’d wish to have. Remember to examine what exactly is included within the base subscription value and what requires a separate charge or subscription. For instance, Field for Enterprise contains free Microsoft 365 integration whereas Citrix Sharefile and Dropbox Enterprise require a separate paid subscription to edit paperwork on-line. Different companies restrict the forms of information you’ll be able to retailer or require you to create paperwork by utilizing their software program. Nonetheless others require you to obtain information to edit them, whereas one of the best provide in-software enhancing and collaboration options, equivalent to monitor adjustments and commenting.
Subscription plans are typically month-to-month charges per consumer account. Relying upon what number of workers want their very own login, the prices can shortly add up. A few of these companies embody visitor entry, although, which allows you to share information with anybody, no login required.
One other factor to contemplate is whether or not or not you require different companies. For example, Google Drive for Work is right if you would like cloud storage, area administration, and hosted electronic mail, along with doc sharing and administration. It additionally gives archiving and eDiscovery starting at $5 per consumer per thirty days. Adobe Doc Cloud Commonplace additionally contains e-signature integration and is included within the Artistic Cloud subscription service so, if you happen to’re already utilizing Lightbox, Adobe Photoshop, and different Adobe merchandise, it is a good selection.
Microsoft additionally bundles SharePoint On-line and OneDrive with its Microsoft Workplace 365 suite, which incorporates on-line variations of Microsoft Phrase, Excel, PowerPoint, and different applications. Zoho additionally gives customer relationship management (CRM), email marketing, project management, and more. Dropbox Business has a sister product called Dropbox Paper that offers collaboration and note-taking features and can be integrated with business and personal Dropbox accounts.
Another common scenario is integrating your document management system with other business applications. DM systems can act as the lynchpin to any number of business processes by feeding their data and functionality into other apps. Web content can be created, edited, and processed in the DM system, for instance, and then monitored or even published through a marketing automation system.
As always, if you can try before you buy, then that’s the best way to decide if a DM service will work for your company. Most of these DM vendors offer at least a 14-day free trial. While Microsoft SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business technically don’t have free trials, you can try both products by signing up for a free trial of Microsoft Office 365. Similarly, you can try out Adobe Document Cloud Standard by signing up for a trial of the Creative Cloud suite. Ascensio System OnlyOffice and Zoho Docs Standard each offer a free plan as well, which is a nice way to decide if you like a service without being limited to a few weeks. Dropbox Business has a free plan with a 2GB limit; you can migrate your files over to a business plan if you upgrade. Likewise, Evernote Business has a free Basic plan with a 60MB limit, but it lacks features such as offline access and the ability to forward emails directly into your account.
Interface, Features, and Mobile Access
Ease of use is key when it comes to DM software or you’ll spend too much time and energy training your staff, responding to help requests, and dealing with general frustration. We tested each DM service by uploading and downloading files and verifying that files synced up on different devices. We also looked at how easy it was to add users, share files, and set up alerts. Luckily, none of the services we reviewed here presented any major usability issues; the worst we encountered was an overabundance of features, which proved overwhelming.
Speaking of features, the DM services here range from those offering specific functionality, such as Adobe Document Cloud Standard, which focuses on e-signatures and PDF creation, and Microsoft SharePoint Online, which is mostly about creating team sites (aka, intranets), though it comes with online versions of Microsoft’s productivity software and file sharing is a prominent feature. Ascensio System OnlyOffice, eFileCabinet Online, and Zoho Docs Standard each offer a suite of file storage, file sharing, and collaboration features. Ascensio System OnlyOffice, Google Drive for Work, Microsoft SharePoint Online, and Zoho Docs Standard each also offer built-in online editing tools.
Other features include the option to share files and interact with external users; that is, clients, contractors, and other non-staff with whom you need to collaborate. Ascensio System OnlyOffice includes unlimited guest users with your subscription. Google Drive for Work, OneDrive for Business, and Zoho Docs Standard also allow you to share files with external users.
With Dropbox Business, you can share files with anyone who has a Dropbox plan (free, Pro, or Business), as long as their account has the space to accommodate it. For example, if you try to share a 3GB file with someone with a free plan, then it won’t work because of the 2GB limit. But someone with a Pro plan, which has 1 TB of storage, will be able to access it. Box for Business allows you to share files with other Box users even if they’re not part of your business account.
Some services let you password-protect particular files, which adds an extra level of security and limits who can view them, even if they have the URL. Better yet, some of these DM services let you further restrict access by placing an expiration date on a shared file. Document retention schedules are also good features to have if you’re dealing with compliance issues; sometimes keeping a file too long isn’t a good thing. Google Drive for Work has an optional feature called “Vault” that includes document archiving. Document retention and compliance features are included with eFileCabinet Online’s Professional plans (for $45 per user per month).
Collaboration features are important, too. Having a check-in and check-out option that locks access when a user has downloaded a file prevents editing overlap and could prove to be a sanity-saver. Version history is a great way to track not only who has edited files and when but to be able to revert to an earlier version if the file becomes corrupted or if errors are introduced; eFileCabinet Online offers both of these features. Track changes and commenting is also helpful as is the ability to create files from within the cloud software. Some programs require integration with Microsoft Office 365 or Google Drive for Work to edit documents online. Box for Business can be integrated with both Google Drive for Work and Microsoft SharePoint Online, which is good for offices that use a mix of editing software. Others, such as Dropbox Business and Evernote Business, require that you create files in the software to edit them online.
Most of these services have mobile applications that offer limited or nearly full functionality. Ideally, there are apps for both Android and iOS so that your employees can have mobile access regardless of their device. Look for features in the app such as document editing and creation, file sharing, and more. Ascensio System OnlyOffice and Microsoft SharePoint Online only offer an iOS app, though Microsoft says that Android and Windows apps will be available by the end of this year. Microsoft SharePoint Online also has a mobile user interface (UI) that worked well in our tests and even includes an option to switch between desktop and mobile views. There, you can open documents, upload files, and add folders. Box for Business and Citrix Sharefile also offer account access on mobile browsers in addition to their suite of mobile apps.
Adobe Document Cloud Standard has mobile apps for Android, iOS, and Windows tablets and phones. You can view and sign documents, and even snap photos of forms and then fill them out on your device. Citrix Sharefile has basic apps for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows Phone, from which you can view and share files and folders.
Box for Business, Dropbox Business, eFileCabinet Online, Evernote Business, Google Drive for Work, and Zoho Docs Standard each offer Android and iOS apps that enable you to access your account and view, edit, and share files. eFileCabinet Online’s app also lets you use your camera to capture and save documents on the go. Account administrators can also download the Google Drive for Work Admin app for Android and iOS. Zoho Docs Standard has a document scanner app for iOS only.
Administrative controls are also important. While most file-sharing services let you set permissions on particular files or folders, adminis may also want to set global permissions for users. For instance, an admin may want to restrict some users from ever being able to delete files. Other admin controls to look for include the ability to remove a user’s access to some or all files (such as when an employee leaves the company or moves departments), and the ability to change ownership of a file for the same reason.
Checking Compatibility and Getting Help
Support and customer service is a very important element, even if the DM software is easy to use. The best services offer live help in the form of phone calls or web chat; email is also a good resource for non-urgent issues or questions. You may even be able to schedule a phone call with support so you don’t have to sit on hold. For small issues or for when you’re still learning how to use features, access to thorough online documentation is necessary and video demos are even better. Other important features include advanced search and organized FAQs.
For example, Microsoft SharePoint Online offers a helpful step-by-step guide for setting up your team site, including the estimated time commitment. Zoho Docs Standard has a helpful video overview of its primary features. Evernote Business has extensive documentation on how to introduce and train your staff to use the software, including detailed examples. Google Drive for Work and Microsoft SharePoint Online each have a huge library of help documentation as well as active user forums.
If you don’t have the resources for extensive training, then look into implementation help, a sort of “white glove” service in which, for an extra cost, a company will help you set up your account, import and export files, and train staff.
Finally, compatibility is also important. We’re dealing with web apps here so, unless you’re pairing them with desktop software, there’s not as much worry as compared to using other types of software. However, browser compatibility is something to consider. Check to see that the software functions well on your preferred web browser. Additionally, be sure to keep your browser up to date. If you do decide you want to use the desktop software, then be sure your Apple or Windows machine has a compatible operating system (OS) and any minimum requirements outlined. This could prove important since a handful these products, such as Evernote Business, have features that are available only on the desktop app, such as in-app editing and offline access.