I just came back from holiday. Getting away from the normal daily activities gives you a chance to look at things in a different light once you return to the regular routine. My first project back has been to finish up a document management system expansion redesign for a client project.
Here's the story. This client has been using a document management system for over eight years to store one part of their account payable records. The documents arrive from over 900 sites across Canada and are then scanned, indexed and stored into the DMS at the Toronto head office. It has been a good install, handling lots of data and very reliable. Great news, right?
We have been contracted to help them look at expanding the use of the system and see what the feasibility is of using remote scanning to feed the DMS instead of physically transmitting documents to one site for processing. Analysis shows that there are nine categories of documents that could be easily added into the DMS and that the transfer of the electronic files from the remote sites can be setup reliably. Sounds like a slam dunk.
After meeting with the project team and drafting the project requirements one key feature stood out. If the remote sites are going to no longer be required to store their original paper documents (seemed like a good standard to set) then they would need to have access to the central DMS. This means adding a web component to the system. The current software will permit this, however the additional tools and the licensing implications can be fairly costly.
This is where we decided that we owed it to the client to look at configuring the installation with a whole new DM package and see what the cost and performance implications might be. This package is web based from the start and it offers some very valuable licensing benefits as it has a server based licencing scheme which would reduce the costs of connecting the remote locations. There are some performance trade-offs to consider and we are discussing these with our client.
The bottom line is that the client now has two options to consider. One which they know and is proven, but which could cost as much as one and a third more per year to operate than the alternative. The performance differences may lead the decision one way or the other, but in the end the exercise of reviewing the DMS install beyond the legacy system has been worthwhile and will lead to a better decision for both ourselves and our client.
A fresh look can often lead to better results. Don't be afraid to reconsider legacy systems once in awhile....you may be surprised with what you learn.
9 Red Flags to Avoid in Document Management! Free Download