Documents, then profit
March 21, 2011 5:51 AM   Subscribe

Which document system should we implement for a financial services company?

My company is building a website for a new financial services company, which has also asked us to help them implement a document system (i.e. DOCS Open, used by many law firms).

Requirements:
- Document sharing (with user-based access)
- Version-comparison capabilities
- Secure
- Archival system


We do a lot of web and application development, but this request is a new one for us. Any recommendations?
posted by asuprenant to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's hard to recommend one system since there are so many out there. It's not really the system that you choose, but the one that will most be used and adopted by the company. A system that may seem to have whiz bang features will still "not work" if it has some sort of pain in the butt feature that users hate. A lack of compliance is why most document solutions fail and why content management systems are not a cure all. Users will resort to their own workarounds, trust me :-) I managed Documentum eRoom at one job for years. eRoom was great btw - it was one of the first groupware solutions out there and it just got better with every version.

Many companies think, "Oh, we'll install this and we'll be able to find everything now!" but it doesn't work that way because the organizational behaviour of the users has to change as well.

I would include training in your requirements. It is important that users can be sold on the "what's in it for me" part of the new tool. I hope the client has informed you of their records retention policies as well. That can make a big difference in choosing a CMS with the appropriate storage capacity.

Any of the large CMS makers out there would be happy to tout the features of their product. Any of the popular systems will also have all the features you listed - they are really a must for any organization's records management program. You can check out the buyer's guide on ARMA's website and do a product category search to find out more. HTH!
posted by Calzephyr at 6:42 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not great, but look at Microsoft Sharepoint. I know that many financial services firms use this so it must meet at least the basic requirements and could give you some ideas.
posted by ch1x0r at 7:39 AM on March 21, 2011


Seconding Calephyr - the best tool is the one that gets used (at least 70% of the users are happy). I would suggest that as part of gathering user needs, you spend a week or two watching how end users currently use documents/records (creation, storage, archival, search etc). This will give you a way to implement a system that is close enough from a workflow perspective while offering other nice features.

As ch1x0r points out, Sharepoint is a great choice if the company is a Microsoft shop. It has great version capabilities, version comparisons (at least for MS products), controlled access, creation of forums/projects apart from the main repository (can be used for "projects", after finishing which the docs can be moved into archival mode), good search (provides filtering and results by filetype, which is a God-send in many cases) and most importantly, has the familiar Microsoft feel.

Training is also very important, but build in an on-going administrative component into your proposal - either your company doing it or training someone from your client.
posted by theobserver at 7:59 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The specific type of CMS you're looking for is an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system. My company resells one of them, MeMail me if you want more info.
posted by djb at 8:51 AM on March 21, 2011


Thanks for the tips, everyone!

Sharepoint seems a bit big for us, so right now we're leaning toward Cabinet NG but are also reviewing HyperOffice.
posted by asuprenant at 6:14 PM on March 29, 2011


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