There are numerous reasons why document workflow is one of the most overlooked aspects of SMB technology for prospective DMS buyers. By workflow, we do not simply mean everything encompassed by the workflow feature, but rather the document workflow that is established through more general use of any document management system.

Many prospective buyers choose document management vendors in consideration of the industries the vendor serves, but this is not always the best way to make the decision as practically every office in the world and nearly every business in the world experiences documentation problems, many of which prospects are not even aware. Ironically, sometimes the problems that plague businesses most deeply are problems they are not even aware they have.

To learn why document workflow is more important in choosing the best solution for your organization than the industries a vendor is used to serving, keep reading.  

Without an Understanding of Workflow, You’ll Be Drinking from a DMS Firehose

This is the first and foremost reason why document workflow matters. There are so many different features and benefits in describing what a DMS can do for an organization, that sometimes trying to communicate them all at once in a product demo can make prospective buyers feel like they’re drinking from a firehose.

It all sounds great, but the question usually remains if the DMS hasn’t been described in its proper light: How can this immediately simplify what I’m already doing? If this question goes unanswered, the result will be a choice paradox of sorts: the prospect may find the features and resulting benefits of a DMS to be worthwhile, but they feel as though the investment it would require to learn all of them is far too overwhelming to endure.

What’s more, even in the workplace people are creatures of habit. We’ll always return to what’s familiar and what we understand when uncertainty arises. Not only does this detract from positive change, it makes the adoption of new technologies to stay abreast of the competition a pipe dream.  

Example 1: HR On-boarding

To answer the question outlined in the previous section, we can analyze the kind of conversation an HR manager would have with a DMS vendor if he or she were to see the solution’s value.

For instance, when it comes to workflow, an HR professional working for a growing company is likely to be looking for a way to either reduce the number of steps in the HR onboarding workflow process, or at least make each step in the workflow faster.

One of the ways eFileCabinet improves this workflow is through adjustable, field-level Zonal Optical Character Recognition (OCR). Instead of onboarding an employee with a typical Windows folder structure or backing up files on a shared drive, then storing and manually retrieving them for later use, Zonal OCR enables the automatic routing of documents and metadata needed to make findability easy.

What’s more, predefined document names erase the confusion of storage and retrieval in the document workflow process. And when it comes to retaining an employees’ files, most HR managers don’t want to keep the records longer than they have to in order to minimize clutter and keep things organized. This is why the retention feature of eFileCabinet is so imperative to many HR professionals—it specifies when certain employee documents can be deleted from the system according to strictures specified by the HR professional and regulatory authorities.

Why document workflow matters in this sense is because it further enhances document findability by shedding files no longer needed in the system.

This is another reason why document workflow matters. There are a number of document management solutions that many accountants use, including eFileCabinet’s. There are also a number of document management solutions that are popular among more blue-collar industries, such as construction and manufacturing.

However, as different as these industries are, they all require similar workflows and suffer from similar document problems: finding a way to keep everything in one place, finding things quickly, maximizing performance at the operational level, and securely sharing large files of any size, for instance—whether it be through internal documents or external documents.  

Rapid Retrieval with a Huge Mass of Documentation

It doesn’t matter if you’re an accountant and your tax software has great ancillary features. If you’re a reputable tax professional and you have your own consulting gig, you’re likely going to amass a huge volume of documents you’ll need to have on file for compliance purposes and upon client information requests.

You’ll need a few things in your document management workflow to monetize this process and keep it from lugging you into a downward spiral: the ability to save a copy of the tax return in electronic format for future reference, the ability to store that copy in a folder with the customer’s metadata, including name and other relevant information; and finally, the ability to print a copy to be mailed or simply given to the customer upon request (we know paperless software is eFileCabinet’s forte, but sometimes clients want what they want, right?)

But the most important aspect of why document workflow matters in this instance is akin to what the HR professional does with HR onboarding (remember, industry-agnosticism is the argument here). Replicating folder structures and mass applying them across the system via templates of a document management system, for instance, will not only make client acquisition more efficient, it will give tax professionals the extraordinary organizational power they need to grow their consulting businesses.  

Core Document Management Features Facilitating Industry Agnostic Workflow Improvement

When it comes to why document workflow matters, asking for features to see in a product demo that will enhance workflows across an array of industries, you’ll want to ensure your vendor offers the following items:

Templates: If you’re constantly acquiring new revenue streams and the documents they produce, this feature provides automation that can save you hours each week in file storage and replicability.

Zonal OCR: It’s the equivalent of a virtual office assistant, after all. It automates document routing and leverages metadata to keep documents findable.

SecureDrawer: Compliance is an uncompromising standard for most clients of financial professionals and accountants, and this secure web portal enables it. It also can increase a company’s web presence.