First, let’s clarify how a real estate document management system (DMS) differs from other technologies with which it is commonly confused:
Why Would I Choose DMS over Content Management Systems (CMS)?
A content management system is designed to manage and publish content online, usually through an organization’s website, (WordPress, for instance).
CMS does not utilize process management, workflow, and security management processes like DMS.
Why Would I Choose DMS Over Quality Management Software (QMS)?
Quality Management Software (QMS) is more specific to manufacturers bound by FDA regulations than the typical enterprise.
Whereas DMS helps organizations utilize information effectively and at the lowest cost possible, QMS helps manufacturers produce high-quality, compliant products at the lowest cost possible.
Satellite/Remote Access prevents auditors from having to travel from office to office when auditing an organization with multiple branches, and is imperative to keeping the various office locations of an organization compliant in the auditing process.
However, satellite and remote access has more than just benefits to auditors—it helps managers and administrators of the real estate document management system control unstructured information among multiple office locations.
These access features work especially well in tandem with cloud-based, online DMS solutions, because multiple office branches’ information can be accessed from any location where there is an internet connection. An imperative to organizations with growth-centric objectives and high compliance demands, satellite/remote access gives administrators, executives, HR managers, and their employees the means to structure content en masse.
Folder, File, Cabinet, and Drawer Renaming
DMS vendors should offer multiple, easy-access methods of renaming various content storage repositories. For instance, these views should be enabled via a few simple mouse clicks.
There should be an ability within every real estate document management system vendor’s solution to mark frequently used repositories, expediting the content search function of the DMS solution and facilitating a quicker workflow pace.
Item Tagging and Un-tagging
Intended for less permanent content accessibility needs than item favorites, the tag function helps knowledge and process workers alike flag the files they need.
The impermanence of these un-tagged items is important as certain action items may be relevant only for brief periods of time.
Content Check-out and Check-in
This feature, which is probably the most basic yet important feature preventing content overlap and duplication (much like file versioning), is essential to any real estate document management system vendor’s suite of features.
When a file or piece of content is checked out of the DMS, it can be worked on in PDF editors or Microsoft products.
While the item is checked out, no other employee can check out the file within the system. Only once it is checked back in can it be checked out by another employee.
Another benefit of this feature is the fact that it does not allow for file renaming, making sure two or more parties can work on the same file simultaneously as it is channeled through the workflow process.
Boolean Content Search
In Enterprise Content Management, the Boolean search function is the convergence of logic, math, and real estate document management system code, which is made manifest in the ease of file retrieving features.
Although a basic component of database search, this allows users to keep themselves from opening irrelevant folders or pieces of content. Much like a Venn diagram would, this search capacity dichotomizes and assimilates content into identifiable components within an DMS.
Custom Email Server Settings
This feature allows DMS users to update custom email server settings with speed and ease of use.
Automated Document Deletion and Retention Scheduling
This feature enables automatic content deletion and retention, which cuts back on overusing storage space and declutters preexisting content structures. A solid retention and deletion feature will be able to set the retention to an indefinite time, a specified time, or any other time upon user request.
Pervasive Drag and Drop Bandwidth
Although Drag and Drop features are well-known in the Microsoft Windows and Macintosh spaces, the DMS software’s ability to streamline this function across all hierarchies of storage and nomenclature is the key to the ease of use, speed, and functionality within DMS systems.
On-Premise to Online Converter Tools
Although many industries prefer to use a real estate document management system solely in one particular medium (accountants, for instance, prefer on-premise DMS), many organizations purchase on-premise solutions before transitioning into online, cloud-based DMS.
Organizations ready to make the leap to the cloud, on-premise to online converter tools—which come built into many DMS vendors’ product suites—ensure that businesses make the leap successfully. This does not mean that on-premise solutions are outdated; they merely offer a distinct set of features and benefits that are easiest for newer DMS users to understand and, therefore, utilize.