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Can You Afford Not to Have the Best Document Management System?

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Roy Russell

The role that technology has played in enabling organisations to continue operation at near-business as usual levels over the last two years, the question that every firm must therefore ask itself is: “Can we afford not to have the best tech, and more specifically, the best document and email management system (DMS) available?”

Interestingly, pre-pandemic this question would have come with the caveat that funds are available to purchase the best tech, but cloud computing has all but put paid to that issue. The cloud has made the “best tech” supremely affordable. So, for any organisation today, compromising on the quality of an application on account of budget is no longer a strong excuse.

Naturally, cloud systems such as iManage Cloud, which have evolved from mature, quality on-premises products, inherit years of development and thought leadership invested into them via many upgrades and input from a large customer base. Not surprisingly, these tend to be the preferred systems of new users too. So, why invest in technology that isn’t a ‘sure thing’ and is by far the most competitive application on the market? The success of any technology investment lies in its adoption by users, which in turn underlines the application’s promise – improved productivity, business efficiency, agility and ultimately profitability.

With rapid digitisation, most notably in the last 18 months, a DMS has genuinely become the back bone of any organisation. There are many business reasons for organisations to invest in a proven and technologically advanced DMS, such as iManage:

Your employees expect it
The labour market has changed globally and across almost every industry vertical. Dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’, the evermore discerning employees are “voting with their feet”, and actively choosing the employers they want to work with. It’s not just about salary and perks anymore, people are actively seeking work-life balance, geographic flexibility, like-minded views on climate change, a work environment that is right for them, the most current technology systems, and so forth.

Recently, a senior lawyer in a corporate legal department of a large organisation, recounted that when they were interviewing new lawyers for roles, the candidates routinely wanted to know what technology applications were used in the department, and more specifically, if iManage was deployed for document management – given how important this function is for legal professionals. After all, the sophistication of this function, or lack of, has a major impact on the ease and quality of work that the lawyers are able to do. This senior lawyer said that they were asked this question so many times, that they thought “we better look into it if we want to attract the best talent”.

Likewise, there’s the issue of retaining talent too. Employees can very quickly become unhappy if the right tools are not provided to enable them to do their jobs in a manner that gives them job satisfaction.

Compromising on security is folly
With dispersed teams and hybrid working there’s no doubt today that technology underpins business operations. Cutting corners and deploying cheaper, less proven systems puts business at risk.

The old equilateral triangle analogy comes to mind – if you pull on any of the three corners – i.e., cost, time, quality – the triangle isn’t equilateral anymore. Too much emphasis on cost will compromise quality and time. But if you focus on quality, you may increase the cost, but you will also benefit from time savings which is likely to deliver longer lasting business benefits. The secret lies in finding the right balance and eliminating false economies.

Today, with technology systems being available in the cloud, compromising on quality – of which security is a major component – is potentially a folly and a possible high risk.

Customer experience is the name of the game
Deploying high quality technology products has a direct bearing on the quality of service that an organisation can provide. For example, a tool such as iManage Share facilitates secure and productive collaboration and can serve as a major win with clients. This solution directly addresses the major everyday issue that faces email users who need to distribute and share bulky documents, but face limitations on the size of attachments they can send.

Due to not having such capability, some employees then select their own file sharing applications from unauthorised cloud providers creating a ‘shadow IT’ problem, i.e., the internal IT department is either not aware of the application or does not oversee that software in any manner, which poses a major security risk. Additionally, if the customer organisation’s IT policy blocks the use of such platforms, the situation becomes even more problematic for clients.

iManage Share, in conjunction with the iManage DMS, provides a totally integrated solution to this specific issue providing both employees and clients with a simple, yet effective way of sharing and accessing large-sized and multiple documents within a highly managed and secure environment.

In the same vein of collaboration, and specifically for legal activity, another example of a tool that can win organisations major brownie points is simplification of the highly complex legal transaction management process. Consider Closing Folders. It is tightly integrated with the iManage DMS, so the entire transaction process can be automated – from check lists to eSignatures to branded closing books – completely supported with security and audit trails for governance. Firms that use such tools greatly improve their customers’ experience of working with the organisation. The lawyers are winners too – the amount of time freed up to allow them to focus on the higher value tasks across the deal cycle is tangible.

An eye to the future
Fundamentally, a DMS converts unstructured data into structured data and stores it in a single, central and highly secure repository that is underpinned by a powerful search engine to help efficiently discover and retrieve the organisation’s knowledge. In knowledge-driven sectors, this capability is not only essential to business operation, it’s also the foundation for other supporting technologies. These could include process automation tools such as document assembly and contract management, and / or regulatory compliance and risk limitation applications, such as records management, knowledge management, machine learning, and much more.

So, in effect, a DMS should not only be mandatory for any size of professional services firm, it is the first building block for the adoption of other newer value add technologies to support the evolving business requirements and indeed strategic aspirations of the organisation for the future.

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