Document Management for Small Businesses Overview
Today we're going to showcase our top 3 picks for the best document management systems for small businesses. Alongside this, we'll provide insights on each of the top options and even answer some of the burning questions you may have while looking around for the best document management system for your small business.
Remember the 2000's? The days of bulky and awkward file cabinets cluttering up every office space. The days of confusing and obfuscated paper trails where information was often misplaced and errors have gone unnoticed. Good news, those times are long past us!
In the modern day and age, small businesses across the globe are leveraging the best document management software solutions (DMS for short) to digitize, secure, organize, and access their documents and important data. In short, these solutions help small businesses leverage the latest in modern technology to make their operations more efficient and simplify their operations. And this, in turn, creates better outcomes across the board for your small business.
However, different businesses have different needs – from robust version control to powerful best-in-class security and audit trails, there are many solutions offering a stunning array of features. But going through them all can be a confusing and incredibly time-consuming experience.
That's where we step in. Read on for our summary of the top solutions for small business.
FileCenter: The Best Small Business
While building and improving FileCenter over the years we've taken feedback from thousands of small business owners to understand their problems and what they are looking for in a document system. We've also evaluated all alternatives to our software in order to produce the best software for SMBs. Our software is fully featured, easy to use, and secure.
We've made sure that our software is an asset to your business process and not software with a steep learning curve. What small business owner has time to learn overly-complicated software?
Additionally, our software integrates with your workflow and doesn't require employees to re-learn new processes in order to digitize their documents.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the best document management systems?
Whether you want to call it a system, software solutions, or management tools, document management software solutions help companies keep up with their documents. Here at FileCenter we've perfected small business document management software.
For one business, it may be the security aspect that they're most interested – that is, securing their data with best-in-class security technology. For others, it may be regulatory compliance and audit trails taking the top priority. In short, each and every business will value one feature offering over the other, and this changes on a case to case basis. As such, making sure that your needs and the offerings of the solutions you are considering line up is absolutely critical.
Despite the fact that business needs vary so greatly, there is a wealth of software that all feature a rich, robust, and powerful feature-packed suite of tools that can impact your business positively. However, before you jump on board with any given document management software – it's vital that you understand what your business really needs.
We would recommend that prior to doing your research, you carefully analyze what features your business is really looking for, and which ones are less important, if at all. This will help you pick the best document management system for your particular needs.
2. How do I organize my small business documents?
Let's face it, whether paper or digital – documents are often the biggest source of headache, confusion, and issues for most modern small businesses. That is, however, if they are not organized.
Thankfully, in due to today's modern technology-driven world, there are countless solutions and practices that you can implement to help you conquer the havoc and get your business running smoother than ever.
The secret here lies in going paperless (where possible)!
It's undeniably daunting when you have an entire barrage of documents out of order and consistent information gaps across the board, between departments, and worse off, between yourself and your business' customers.
This is why the very first step that you have to take is planning out a filing system or process. While there are countless software solutions such as a document management system that can help you simplify and digitalize your filing process, it's important to have a clear-cut understanding of what needs to happen to documents at each step of the way beforehand.
Once you've settled on a process and how things should be done – it's time to turn to the cloud. This is where storing your documents securely comes into plan. You should digitize relevant documents and store them in a shared storage space while organizing them in the appropriate manner for easy searchability. Keep in mind, it's never a good idea to mix business documents with personal documents, or simply leave them all piled up in one giant ever-growing folder of doom.
You can further enhance this practice by moving to a digital billing and invoicing solution and leveraging a secure digital signature solution to take care of any excessive office routines.
Going digital will not only help you keep your business documents organized, but it will also help you free up valuable time for yourself and your professionals to put towards the tasks and projects that will really get the business ahead.
3. What is the best filing system for a small business?
While it wouldn't be fair to say that the digital world has entirely eliminated the need for more traditional paper storage and document filing – it has certainly made storing and accessing information far easier.
From creating invoices to tracking your billing and automatically importing relevant data into an accounting software solution – this is just one example of how the digital world has made it easier to process, retain and store information in a way that is trackable and entirely comprehensive.
Making use of an electronic filing system can help you keep good track of vital business information. From email chains to project files, contracts, and agreements, electronic filing systems help businesses organize, secure, and access their data on the fly.
However, just like their more-traditional paper counterparts, you will need to have a solid organizational structure in place to really leverage the most they have to offer. This all starts with having a solid process in mind, one that is supported by folders, clear-cut steps, and secure, publicly accessible cloud-driven storage. And while most cloud-driven systems are rarely at risk of data loss, it's always a good idea to retain a backup copy of your entire data structure, just in case.
4. How do you manage documents?
When it comes to electronic file management, there is rarely one single best practice approach to managing your documents.
However, there are some incredibly helpful general guidelines and tips that we can share with you in an effort to help your business simplify document management. Here are a few of our tips:
- Proper and logical organization is essential and you should follow a strict logical hierarchy alongside correct file naming conventions to ensure that all relevant data is logged in the right place, in a manner that makes it easy to retrieve when needed
- Keep all relevant documents in one place as there's nothing worse than having to jump around between several different end-points to gather the information you need to do your work
- Keep fresh backups of all relevant files, the best idea here is to create backups of your entire storage on a regular schedule
- Remove old or unnecessary files regularly to clear up the clutter, this could be a hard-delete or simply moving them to an archive should they need to be accessed at a later time
Thankfully, all of these and more can be easily achieved and integrated into your business workflow with the help of a robust and powerful document management system, such as the ones that we've covered above.
Our Top Alternative Picks For The Best Small Biz Solution In 2023
As one of the longest-standing names in the industry, OpenKm is a solution that does not disappoint. In fact, the only reason that they come in second after Box is due to the fact that their solution, while certainly far more powerful and feature-rich, can feel a little visually dated to some of the more modern users.
Whether you choose to use their mobile app or web-client, OpenKm provides a robust cloud-based document management solution that has garnered the trust and respect of innumerable clients around the globe. They offer strong security, flexible and granular permission systems, and intuitive cabinet-folder-style filing. This all comes alongside secure sharing, OCR, templates, and powerful integrations with some of the most prominent small business software.
The only potential drawback that we can think of is the fact that OpenKm lacks the ability to allow you to edit your documents online. However, this can be worked around easily thanks to the wealth of third-party integrations they actively offer to their users.
At the end of the day, this is an incredibly comprehensive that boasts some of the best value in each and every area that modern solutions compete in. From their solid data-retention and strict compliance feature-offerings to the intuitive and fresh user interface and powerful searchability OpenKm will definitely help your small business alleviate the burden of document management.
Coming in third, we have a that comes in on-premise, cloud, and hybrid flavors to suit the most diverse range of needs, alongside their powerful platform.
Alfresco boasts automated workflows and cloud-driven collaboration along with granular security technology that allows for seamless collaboration between your professional resources both inside and outside of the corporate firewall.
One thing that really makes Alfresco stand out is the ease of use that you get to enjoy with their platform. If you're used to working with Windows File Explorer, the navigation tree should be a breeze for you to get the hang of. And given their integrations with popular document creation tools like Google Docs and seamless OCR-driven scanning alongside their powerful indexing engine that will make finding the data you're looking for an absolute breeze, you're looking at a very modern and user-friendly.
All in all, Alfresco is a fantastic option if you're looking into getting a set up for your small business that features the most modern feature capabilities, without the steep technological learning curve and resource expenditure to get everyone on board and keep it maintained.
C. FileHold Express
If your small business is in the market for an entirely on-premise with accessible one-time pricing and an intuitive user-experience alongside a powerful feature kit, FileHold should definitely be on your radar.
From secure and flexible collaboration tools to robust and powerful document management and granular security settings – FileHold packs practically every feature that a small business could need. In short, it's entirely comparable to other top solutions, but where it really wins out is in the simplicity department.
Not only is it easy to use, but their entire model is incredibly simple and straight-forward. From an intuitive Windows Explorer-like interface to their stellar one-time pricing model that makes FileHold one of the most affordable solutions for small businesses, they've managed to put together and incredibly powerful, yet intuitive platform.
All in all, if a that allows you to retain control of the entirety of your data, minus the learning curve and resource expenditure required to set up and maintain a traditional on-premise solution is on your wish-list, FileHold has got you covered.
D. BONUS ENTRY: Box
While Box isn't exactly what you would traditionally classify as a, rather being a tool that allows for secure and seamless collaboration across organizations – in today's world, many startups and small businesses are looking to use lightweight solutions like Box to take care of the baseline of their document management needs. Best of all, Box integrates with Filecenter seamlessly.
Box boasts best-in-class secure file sharing and flexible access and security options alongside the ability to set up simple workflows to streamline processes such as approvals, publication, and basic filing.
But, how does it stack up to other document management solutions?
First and foremost, Box does indeed feature somewhat limited document control and version control functionality. And while many businesses may shy away from using Box due to the "limited" functionality in these areas – it's important to accurately evaluate your small business needs, because in many cases, the functionality that Box does offer is more than plenty to cover the baseline needs of many small businesses looking into a cloud-based document management software for small businesses.
The other prospective downside for most businesses is that Box does not offer an on-premise solution or anything akin to a private cloud.
All in all, Box is a fantastic starting point for many businesses with relatively simple needs, where a more top-end management system would simply be overkill in terms of the feature-functionality, learning curve, and the resources required for rollout and maintenance. However, small businesses with a sophisticated set of processes will quickly find themselves running against Box's drawbacks compared to the best document management software for small businesses.
Closing Thoughts – Choosing The Best Document Management Solution For Your Small Business
Whether you're looking to modernize your small business with the latest document management software or help improve the efficiency across departments while reducing human error – a document management software for small business may just be what you need.
Today we've looked over the top 5 solutions available on the market in 2023. We've covered the ins and outs of each solution to give you a comprehensive overview of your best options. And we've gone over the top questions most small business owners ponder when choosing a document management system for themselves and their business.
We hope that after reading this article, you can now shop for a document management system with confidence and have a better idea of what sort of feature functionality will benefit your business the most.
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