Find Considerations 1-5 here
6. Document management solution pricing—how much should you expect to pay? Is the total cost of ownership stated up front?
Document management systems are a major capital expense. You can expect to pay thousands of dollars for even the most basic system. Ask your potential vendor to analyze the costs of your current paper system and provide you with a ROI calculation. Most well designed and implemented document management solutions will provide a payback of less
than 12 months.
One of the biggest hidden costs that paper-intensive businesses face is the time it takes to work with paper files. Say it takes a $20/hour employee five minutes to walk to a records room, locate a file, act on it, refile it, and return to his desk. At just four files per day, that’s over 86 hours per year spent filing—around $1,700 in wages. At ten files per day, that shoots up to 216 hours per year—over five weeks’ time, or $4,300—and that’s only for one employee. A system that lets employees find and work with those documents without ever leaving their desks can instantly and significantly slash those costs.
Document management systems also eliminate the “lost document” cost—the time it takes to recreate a document that’s been destroyed or misplaced. Some suppliers estimate the cost of replacing each lost document at $250.
Additional cost savings come from the office space that can be freed by eliminating most paper records. With real estate costs at $15 to $40 per square foot in many major cities, converting records rooms into usable office space can save considerable amounts of money. In other cases, you may be able to eliminate warehousing costs for years of old records.
Costs for a document management system vary tremendously depending on the features and integration work you require.
For entry-level paper conversion systems, including a server, scanner, and software with all the basic indexing, searching, and security features, you might be able to find solutions as low as $5,000 for a very small setup. At ten users, you’re more likely looking at a minimum of $10,000, often more. A medium-sized installation, with web access, auditing, and workflow features and support for 30-75 users, can range from $20,000 to $100,000.
You want an affordable solution with no hidden costs, so understanding the total cost of ownership is critical, and that includes service engagements. Key considerations to keep costs down and minimize risks are to go with an industry leader with a proven integration methodology. Look for certifications and endorsements that are credible in your industry and marketplace. Ask for costs to be clearly broken down for software, services, support, and maintenance. Services as a percentage of software should generally be 50% or less and, if possible, quoted as a fixed price so that you know the total costs of ownership up front.
Considerations/questions to ask include:
- How does the pricing model work?
- After the initial investment in software modules, do you only need to buy additional user licenses?
- How are service engagements quoted? If possible, secure a fixed price versus time and materials to avoid runaway costs.
7. How self-sufficient can your organization become with the document management solution?
If you are like most customers in the mid-market, there are certain requirements you should insist upon:
- You want to be less reliant on the solution provider and prefer to be presented with options when it comes to
purchasing and implementing software solutions.
- You want the ability to control change management so that you can introduce procedural changes in steps or phases and at a pace that is comfortable for your organization. This generally calls for greater product modularity and scalability.
- You want the ability to have your own IT staff be able to configure and maintain the product rather than relying on the specific software vendor to do so.
- You don’t want to end up with obsolete technologies, preferring to adopt middle-of the-road platforms so that switching costs are kept to a minimum.
- You desire software that is configured rather than customized so that your organization can make changes independently without having to hire an expensive software programmer to write code.
Considerations/questions to ask include:
- If you should decide to move to another document management system, can the documents be easily exported to another system?
- Can the Workflow module be configured for virtually any business application? Are your staff and in-house personnel taught how to configure the software?
- Can you create additional workflows for other types of documents?
- Is there a software development kit (SDK)?
8. Is your Sage Partner involved?
Involving your Sage Partner in the vendor selection and business requirements phase assures a smooth implementation and richer customer experience. As a trusted advisor to your organization, your Partner can be a key resource on the task force, helping to ensure maximum utilization of the document management functionality and assisting in identifying
and streamlining your business processes. Sage Partners are experts in business transaction processing and can provide invaluable support and direction in charting your paperless course.
9. Is the document management solution certified by Sage?
Certification is a major competitive differentiator among document management solutions. Sage Certified Products must:
- Support all Sage upgrades and product updates within certain minimum time periods.
- Meet a broad range of accounting, architectural, and product support guidelines.
- Be submitted for independent testing by VeriTest, the product certification division of Lionbridge Technologies.
Certification standards vary slightly by product line, but in general, Sage Certified Products have been pledged to:
- Be independently tested for minimum stability and functionality on the current release of their relevant Sage product line.
- Be independently tested for minimum compatibility with current Windows 7 Business client systems. Server components must be independently verified with Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and 2010, Microsoft Windows SQL Server® 2008 and 2012, and Pervasive 10 (where relevant).
- Perform internal testing, which verifies that the certified product does not damage Sage data integrity.
- Offer Certification Statements available on the Sage or VeriTest websites, which detail all certification testing and relevant platform configurations. These must include a statement to customers about known performance issues related to concurrent user loads.
- Provide Sage technical support with lists of product integration points and Sage module modifications, where relevant.
- Provide user documentation that has been independently audited for clarity, currency, and completeness.
- Support each monthly upgrade of the relevant Sage product line within minimum time periods, and to re-certify with major Sage upgrades.
- Offer automated installation, which detects dependencies and alerts users to known conflicts and deficiencies in pre-installed products.
- Use Sage pre-installed, compatible third-party integrated and accessory applications, if available.
- Not install unsupported third-party integrated and accessory applications, and not to overwrite supported products with different versions.
- Offer documented uninstallation procedures that do not damage Sage product modules or Sage data.
- Perform Windows version checking before installation, install to Windows-standard program folders, and adhere to Windows Resource Protection (WRP). (Sage 500 ERP and Sage 300 ERP solutions must also support Windows Least-User Privilege, also known as LUA.)
- Follow generally accepted accounting principles as defined by the country in which the solution is sold.
- Adhere to the payment card industry data security standard.
- Adhere to a number of relevant user interface, file naming, data handling, and coding standards as published by Sage, and varying by product line.
Purchasers of Sage Certified solutions can be assured they follow certain minimum standards and have passed certain minimum tests for installation, functionality, design architecture, and feature support.
10. Finally, migrate at your pace . . .
While you may eventually want a comprehensive, company-wide system, document management vendors strongly
recommend you start by implementing a solution for one application in one department. It’s much easier to get management support for a new effort that only affects a single department at a lower cost. Tackling one problem at a time also makes installation less disruptive.
Once it’s been implemented, vendors indicate that it’s very common for a company to come back to expand the solution to multiple departments or processes months or years later. The success of the first, smaller solution leads to greater support for a more significant investment later. For example, a successful implementation in Human Resources or Accounts Payable can serve as the launching point for larger, company-wide projects.
Vendor selection is perhaps the most critical decision you will make in your document management review. It’s important to find a solution that will fit with the needs of your company—now and in the future—and it’s equally important to find a trusted vendor that will be available and around to support the needs of your organization. Going with an industry leader with a proven track record can save you thousands of dollars down the road and get you started on your paperless migration in the smoothest and most efficient manner. Utilizing the above checklist of questions will properly “arm” you with the knowledge to find the best fit for your organization
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