The fundamentals of a document management solution

There are a few core considerations you need to take into account when you’re looking for the right Document Management Solution fit for your business, regardless of size or industry. It’s important to be aware of these early on, so you are able to make the smartest decision for your company.

On-site vs cloud-based

An on-site document management solution requires the use of your company’s servers and storage space. It probably also means you’re responsible for the maintenance of the system and the security of your documents and data. On-site systems can be installed in a private cloud managed by the provider or your organisation.

A benefit of an on-site system is your business has full control at all times and you’re not relying on an outside provider. Of course, there are costs associated, both upfront and ongoing, like annual software updates and keeping secure backups.

On the other side, there is a cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) system, which is hosted by your software provider and accessible online. Generally, there are lower upfront costs associated with this option, and your business is more likely to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee as an operational, instead of capital, cost. Your provider will look after system maintenance, software updates and security. One of the biggest benefits is being able to access the system securely from any device with an internet connection.


Does your business have software applications already in use? Think about whether these programs need to integrate with your new document management solution. Some valuable integrations are with email clients or customer relationship management (CRM) or your ERP software.

In-house expertise

Think about how much expertise in document management your employees currently have and if you will need to upskill your staff. If the levels of expertise are low and the resources (or aspiration) to upskill aren’t there, look out for a system with excellent support, user-friendly design and preconfigured workflows to make the transition as seamless as possible.

Onboarding and support

Consider the onboarding process of your DMS solution and how it will affect business as usual. Different systems will have a range of impacts, so keep that in mind. Also take some time to consider what training your vendor will provide as well as the ongoing service, maintenance and support included in your software solution. Phased implementation, improving the most important, then urgent and other processes is the approach to consider.

If you’re looking for a place to start, reach out to the Sharp Office team.