Box is similar to Dropbox or Google Drive in that it is a cloud-based content management application that syncs with your desktop. It provides 10GB plus syncing capabilities with its free profile. Box can be accessed by any mobile devises such as iPad, iPhone, Android and tablets. It also has a very nice document preview capability without opening the document. Users can add comments and view versions with documents with a paid subscription to the app.
The advantage of Box over DropBox is that it allows online editing of documents and has 8 GB more space with a free account.
Currently, there are hundreds of Document Management Systems (DMS) systems on the market. Although the basic functionality is similar, it is important to consider multiple factors before recommending an electronic record keeping system. These issues are important because they will inherently affect the use and trust employees have on a DMS system. Employees who trust the cloud-based document management system to save, retrieve, and manage documentation easily, quickly, and reliably will be more apt to use and adopt the system. Some electronic file systems were designed with a focus on an industry or profession. These systems have additional features and functionality specifically related to that industry. Other document systems are more broad-based and can be used with any profession and/ or industry and customized accordingly.
Some key issues for clients to consider before purchasing a DMS system include the following:
- Size of system required. Determine how much file storage your organization is currently using on the server. And how much storage will be needed on an annual basis.
- Scanning functionality. It is important to have robust scanning options when moving towards a paperless office. The DMS system should have scan software options available.
- Search functionality. The search functionality is probably one of the more important aspects to consider when choosing a DMS system. This is a key element for finding and retrieving data quickly. It is important to have the ability to search using multiple fields such as keywords, date created, author, etc. Make sure the system is speedy and can display results in five to ten seconds. Having robust search functionality builds trust in the system, and employees will have a tendency to adopt the system more quickly.
- Ease of use and user training. Any new software in an organization requires staff training. Make sure the DMS system seems user friendly and intuitive to non-IT related employees. Engage a few employees to test the proposed DMS system, and observe the ease of navigating the system. Be sure to inquire about the type and cost of training programs the vendor offers.
- Permissions. To ensure confidential data is secure, it will be important to understand the function of access rights within the system. Ideally, the system should allow the author of the document the capability to grant permission to the appropriate job level and/ or specific individuals.
- Recognition and integration with other systems. The DMS system should easily integrate and recognize other major software systems used by the organization. It will be important to test various document formats and files to ensure capability. Make sure that the DMS system can search email profiles to find specific emails.
- Retention. Make sure the DMS system has strong retention functionality. Fields should be available to denote how long a document should be retained. Industry-specific DMS systems should have built-in compliance guidance. If the system has an auto-delete function based on the retention inputted, be clear on the system process of those deleted documents.
- File hierarchy structure. Make sure the system has the ability to create and design a file hierarchy. File hierarchies are still important for users who think of data and documents related to a specific file structure.
- Scalability and transferability. As with all systems, an organization will eventually outgrow them. First determine if the prospective system has the capacity and functionality to grow along with the business. If the client company decides to use another DMS system, determine if the data can be easily migrated into a new more robust DMS system.
- Upgradability. It is important for the vendor to have a few upgrades to show improvements in the system, but if there is a significant upgrade every year, this cost might need to be budgeted annually and/ or prohibitive to an organization.
- Backup. Although all companies have an internal backup system, the DMS system should also have its own backup utility. Find out what type of format or encryption code is used. Be clear on the restore process if data is ever needed and/ or lost.
Document or content management systems (DMS) are separate cloud-based systems that specifically manage electronic data and records. DMS systems are not only for large companies. Even in smaller offices, DMS systems can effectively help organizations file, store, search and collaborate on documents that need modification and/ or tracking. Although organizing the shared drive with an electronic file hierarchy structure and establishing clear guidelines is valuable, it does require more work to manage and maintain versus having data stored in a document/ content management system.
DMS systems have more robust functions of input, storage, search, and access of data than the mere file management tools that come on computers such as Windows Explorer. DMS systems allow users to find data not only through a file hierarchy structure. These systems have additional information related to a document such as keywords, categorization, and indexing, all of which make searching and finding data much easier. It also compresses data so that it has the ability to store significant numbers of documents in a smaller amount of space, increasing server efficiency. DMS systems also have auto-archive and auto-delete functions that make adhering to record retention and compliance guidelines instantaneous.
A common file repository in a document/content management system is an opportunity to create a consistent records management system that will provide the following benefits;
- Create ease and simplicity for users to have one centralized system to manage official records and documents.
- Improve accessibility permissions and ease of filing electronic documents and records through one centralized system that is cloud-based and accessible via mobile devices.
- Documents and records are automatically indexed and increased searching functionality will be available.
- Easier access to shared information and documents within the entire organization.
- Easier management of records retention through increased system functionality and centralized data location to manage data.
- Easier access to collaborate on documents, manage version control and access important information quickly through one centralized access point.
- Lays the foundation for a paperless office by reducing official paper files and increase reliance and trust on one centralized electronic system.
It is important to organize documents on the Shared Drive before being uploaded to a document management system. To learn how to organize electronic files on the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.
As if organizing electronic files on your local drive hasn’t been hard enough, we now have electronic files in cloud-based services such as DropBox, Picasa, Google Drive, FTP servers, SugarSync, and a host of others. There is a great app, Otixo, that is a cloud-based file manager that helps to solve at least part of the problem. Otixo is essentially an app that allows you to view and access your data across multiple platforms. Otixo is not a hosting service all the data still resides on the original app, it merely provides a dashboard to manage all your cloud based files in one screen view. It uses an OAuth to connect to your accounts, so it doesn’t see nor collect usernames and passwords. The platform also allows users to click and drag files from one cloud-based platform to another. You can also preview, delete, rename, organize and search across multiple platforms all within Otixo.
Another great feature is their ‘spaces’ which is a collaboration tool. Let’s say you are working with vendors or contractors on some projects. They of course have an on-line platform they use, DropBox, and your company prefers Google Drive. Until now, usually one entity has to compromise to use another’s platform. With Otixo, you don’t have too. Otixo allows a collaboration space to be created that will connect multiple accounts and platforms. The user who sets up the space can provide permissions to users. Otixo also tracks all activity and provides an easy log to see who has accessed, changed, and updated files to a space. You can add notes and comments to documents that are separated from the document but easily seen in Otixo.
This is an excellent and well-designed app to help manage cloud-based files and applications. And a great deal at $47.90 per year or 4.99 per month.