Cloud vs On-Premise Software for Digital Document Management

There is no question that a digital document management system provides easier access to documents from anywhere compared to a paper-based system. This is one of the primary reasons for adopting a DMS – accessibility. A DMS can remove all kinds of barriers to access, allowing for teams to collaborate regardless of their location, the time of day, or the platform they login from. This is true whether it’s internal collaboration between employees or external with clients. This collaboration is best served on a DMS that can perform across platforms. Thus, many organizations opt to use browser-based DMS applications.

Greater productivity is also a factor. A DMS approach can let users simply access documents via any popular browser and from any device: desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Paper documents have a plethora of information that is often not fully taken advantage of. Today’s digital document management solutions can employ technology to leverage that information. For example, paper documents for an insurance company claim might have a claimant’s name, phone, place of incident, etc. spread across multiple files. Thus, each time you need just one bit of that information you need to recall which file. But, with optical character recognition (OCR) this information can be digitized and automatically populated into a database for easier and more rapid recall.

Organizations commonly move to paperless document management solutions because of the vast amounts of time employees spend just managing files and paperwork. It’s estimated that organizations relying on paper as a primary means of record keeping spend most of their day just on records management. But, the move to paperless continues to be a struggle for many organizations.

For many of today’s application options, the trend for businesses is in trying to decide between a cloud approach, keeping things on-premise, or to do a hybrid approach. Is this also the case when considering a document management solution?

Cloud vs. On-Premise

The services cloud solutions provide are vast. There pretty much isn’t a single aspect of an organization that isn’t served: HR, accounting, marketing, sales, operations, inventory, documentation, and so on. As for on-premise software for an organization, it’s also vast in its offering. It can be for any type of organization, in any industry, and with any number of employees.

One of the biggest obstacles with grappling whether to go to the cloud or not continues to be how much control one might lose over security and access. It’s simple to arrive at these concerns. For decades, organizations had been in control over the security they enabled and how they granted access. Suddenly, cloud computing solutions turned this on its face. Scenarios such as these remain obvious pros and cons to consider in cloud computing.

Datamation has created a more comprehensive set of considerations, summarized herein. Probably the biggest advantage of going to the cloud is deployment is almost immediate. On-premise software typically requires extensive planning, vetting of multiple hardware and software vendors, even if just for a single software solution, and then weeks to months of implementation and integration. But, a SaaS solution often lets an organization get started within a day or less.

Another common concern with cloud solutions is the common case involving employees dropping documents for sharing onto personal accounts for online storage solutions. This can cause serious security concerns for companies that have strict document policies. Thus, it’s often a must for IT to monitor document workflows when adopting a SaaS solution. Some more advanced solutions also offer tracking of documents to gain insight on who a document is shared with, if it leaves the network and to where, and so on.

Cost is another common advantage in cloud computing. Subscription models are all the rage now. This removes heavy up-front costs of deploying an on-premise solution. But, this can be a negative in the long-run. If you know you’ll need a solution running 5-10 or more years, a SaaS implementation may end up costing more than an on-premise solution. In these scenarios, IT management must anticipate and consider the cost of hardware maintenance during this time.

Document Management

So, when it comes to selecting a document management solution, what’s best – SaaS or on-premise? Many organizations choose to build their own internally but, there are also plenty that opt for a DMS vendor. According to CMS-Connected, there are many reasons to consider a cloud-based DMS / ECM.

Many IT organizations might still grapple with deciding between an on-premise, cloud or hybrid approach to document management. However, today’s requirements to be able to work from a smartphone just as well as on a desktop, demands at least a hybrid approach. So, the bigger question for most organizations today is to either fully embrace a cloud-only solution or a hybrid approach. Typically, organizations with serious compliance and security concerns will opt for a hybrid approach. And, as such, there exist today a plethora of options for document management.

These reasons and many others are why the document management market is booming. The billions-of-dollar market is expected to nearly double in size from 2017 to 2023 in the US alone. A primary drive of this growth is, you guessed it, the cloud.

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