REQUIRED READING: How To Select Doc-Management Products, Accessories

Document-management systems provide numerous benefits to a commercial mortgage organization. However, the flexible nature and wide-ranging functionality of these systems can sometimes make the buy decision tricky.

When you are evaluating these systems from a product-capabilities standpoint, there are several questions to consider:

  • How well does the product's functionality match your specific business requirements?
  • What is the expected return on investment after the effort and costs required to use and implement the system?

  • How easy will the system be for employees to learn and use?

These questions are, by no means, all-encompassing, but the answers should offer a clearer picture of not only a product's capabilities, but also of how well it will meet your needs.

Furthermore, it also helps to solicit recommendations from peer institutions. You can often get a better perspective on how a system will function in a real-world scenario through end users.

Resellers can also provide better insight into a product's functionality, as well as recommend complementary hardware and products to maximize your investment.

The most obvious companion hardware product to a document-management system is a scanner. The size and scope of your document-management implementation will determine what kind of scanner is needed.

For optimal performance, institutions should seek out a network scanner with HTTPS capability. Images from the scanner should be in the TIFF format and at least 200 dpi, as these characteristics offer the best combination of quality for viewing and file size.

Users can scan in any format and any dpi, but they will suffer in the long run if they opt for fast and easy in the short term. Specifically, low-quality scanners might blur, speckle and distort valuable data that may be essential later.

Before purchasing a scanner, institutions should run scanners through a series of tests in many configurations to ensure it is compatible with their document-management system. Often, the document-management vendor will have partnerships with hardware companies that provide companion equipment, and many resellers will offer hardware/software packages for products that have been tested and proven to work well together.

But nothing beats old-fashioned due diligence. Institutions should do their homework before purchasing items to integrate with a document-management system.

Getting employee buy-in is critical to a successful technology implementation. Project managers and the IT staff should be in constant communication with employees about any IT implementation.

This type of dialogue will make employees feel aware of what is going on and will most likely diminish the likelihood of employee dissatisfaction. In addition, employees should have a forum to express concerns or difficulties they have experienced with the software or the implementation process.

Finally, when your new system arrives, hands-on training classes conducted by your vendor and webinars for remote offices and employees are great ways to educate your employees on the new system. Employees should also have user manuals that are specifically designed to walk them through using the system to complete their day-to-day job responsibilities.

Jason King is director of financial services for Hyland Software Inc., the developer of the document-management software suite OnBase. OnBase includes applications for document imaging, workflow, electronic document management, COLD/ERM and records management. King can be reached at (440) 788- 5000 or


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