RedSky construction software specialist Barry Dell provides his top tips for choosing a document management solution that’s the perfect fit for your organisation. Make the right decision and you’ll boost collaboration with colleagues and partners, while also saving money, time and effort.
These are challenging times for construction and contracting companies. Many are turning to digitisation as a way to work smarter, collaborate more effectively and improve overall business performance.
It’s time to ditch the traditional approach
If you’re still using a traditional system, you may well identify with some of the issues listed below:
- Documents are held in many different places and systems (silos)
- Reliance on paper and archive storage facilities (analogue)
- No clear overview of progress on projects
- Too many costly, time-consuming and error-prone manual processes
- Double-handling and duplication
- Difficulties with version control, resulting in mistakes and delays
- Direct access to key project documents is restricted to office personnel.
Implementing a paperless document management solution can transform a business. Here are some of the benefits:
- Store and control all information centrally and securely in a digital format, including companywide documents (like forms, policies and procedures) and project documents (like emails, forms, drawings and photos)
- Always work on the current version
- Put an end to double-handling
- Work more efficiently, accurately, transparently and collaboratively
- Locate key project documents with speed and ease
- Create a water-tight audit trail
- Save on physical storage.
Take time to identify your system requirements
Choosing a document management system may seem like finding a needle in a haystack, but the considerations below may help you identify your top contenders.
- Go for a construction-specific solution – don’t shoehorn your processes into a generic system
- Move to the cloud – your teams and partners will be able to access documents at any time and from any location, from any modern device
- Look closely at collaboration security – can you control access, with different permission levels defining what each user can see, amend and create?
- Ask for a comprehensive demo – list what you want to observe and ask. Try the system out for yourself, to gauge how user-friendly it is. And take as long as you need
- See the whole picture – understand the system’s capabilities, including locating and retrieving documents; universal viewing, annotation and comparison; approvals; security, back-ups and audit trails; bulk uploads; and archiving
- Check out the ‘single source of truth’ promise – and ask about automatic alerts when a document is viewed, changed or emailed
- Investigate forms capabilities – how easy will it be to digitise your existing forms, create new ones and make them responsive and simple to use? Will they work on any device?
- Explore report generation – how quick and easy will it be to produce real-time reports and interpret them? Will dashboards be available, to highlight potential problems at a glance?
With the right document management solution in place, you’ll have opportunities to boost your efficiency, reduce costs, and access important new business insights.
Don’t rush into the decision. Be clear about your objectives… and keep looking until you find the system that will deliver them.
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