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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Charles1992 on March 12, 2015, 11:00:39 PM

Title: Document management software or company?
Post by: Charles1992 on March 12, 2015, 11:00:39 PM
Hello everyone,
This is my first thread in this forum. I have been working in as a counselor for past 3 years. Its an educational institution where a lot of courses offered to students. The problem we are facing is that there is a lot of paperwork in our office. All the documents including applications, resumes, student details, grade cards etc are maintained as paper documents. It is very hard to maintain and retrieve data from these documents. I have been suggesting document management services for few months. But my boss did not took any action against this. So now I want to know whether document management services are worth of money. What are the advantages and disadvantages? I have heard about document management companies like Ash conversions in Ontario. But is it secure to share our confidential data to these companies? Please share your suggestions.
Title: Re: Document management software or company?
Post by: TN_Steve on March 14, 2015, 11:03:36 AM
charles, I'll bump this for you.

Research the companies, but generally speaking, your confidential data is probably safer at one of these companies than if you have your own network/db.  IF you have need to retrieve/compare and manage the documents, electronic dbs are going to assist versus paper.  Plus, you'll likely have the advantage of Amazon/rackspace etc. continuing to improve their hardware, upon which many of the management companies rely.

In my legal practice, we are comfortable with off-site databases for our larger document cases, and that is common in the US legal field, despite extremely high confidentiality concerns.  So too, some of my physician friends have used remote record services--and I think they are happier than DW is with her group's service, which is hosted on their own server. 

Perhaps this bump will get someone more knowledgeable to chime in....
Title: Document management software or company?
Post by: hodedofome on March 14, 2015, 02:40:25 PM
I sell document management systems but only those that tie into our accounting software. You can go mild to wild with document management. Simple would be just scanning a bunch of documents and being able to search for key words on the document to pull up later. It won't store it intelligently, but as long as you can search well then you should be ok.

Wild would be scanning something and automatically putting that into a specific student's folder and possibly labeling it automatically as well. That's what most document management salespeople try to tell you what they can do, and they also promise they can integrate with anything. Experience says otherwise. The implementation can be very difficult and very costly if not properly defined ahead of time and kept under control. Customizations can be very expensive.

Simple could cost $5-20k for a single office. For multiple sites, many users and a good bit of automation would be tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. If this is for a major university and everyone will be using it, it could be millions of dollars. It's probably why your boss brushed it off.

Or, it could be that your boss is set in his ways. Or, it could be that his job would be in jeopardy if software did his job for him. I see both of those scenarios a lot.

I've sold Acom and Altec because they tie into our software. Canon and Xerox and other printing companies have been doing document management for a while. There's the new web-based companies popping up all the time now. I think that's the future for sure.

It's also possible that document management is available with your current software you use to manage students and just needs to be set up.