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21 Sep Checkout this article

Why Using Free Software is Hurting Your Business

by Kylie Ora Lobell Comments: 0

These days, an individual can go online and, with the click of a button, download free software to manage their documents and files. While this strategy works well for a one-person engine, it isn’t equipped to handle the density of an entire business. In an attempt to save on costs, many companies have gone and replaced the enterprise software that’s appropriate for their user size with something far less substantial. An imprudent switch like this could really hinder a business’ growth and cause even bigger problems along the way.

Businesses, whether large or small, need software that can allow processes to run as effectively and efficiently as possible. Think of free or low-cost software as a bicycle; to the single rider, it’s a wonderful vessel, but a company of 2 or more wouldn’t get very far. When a business has more members than can fit on a bicycle, they’ll need to find a vehicle that can actually accommodate their entire staff (and all of their belongings). That’s where enterprise software comes into play.

Enterprise content management, sometimes known as document management, is a set of processes that assists a business in storing, organizing, and doling out all of the information that keeps them running. It gives companies of any size the ability to manage and oversee all of the documents that are important to them. (And even those that aren’t.)

If you’re not looking to transition from personal to enterprise software, here are some key factors that may influence your decision:


ECM_DMS(3)Your processes will be less segmented

Let’s say that right now, you’re using free software like Trello, Google Drive, Evernote, and Dropbox to manage and transfer your files. What happens when numerous people are accessing those accounts on a fairly regular basis? Because your documents are spread across multiple platforms, ongoing user entry can quickly get complicated. To try and pull this sort of maneuver off, one has to be proficient in organization and know exactly where every file is stored. Hiring someone for that task alone would be wise, but if your company is already using this ramshackle process to save money, on-boarding a new hire would be the opposite of cost-effective.

It may seem like common sense but if your documents aren’t all in one place, they’re hard to keep track of. Your staff doesn’t have the time to go on a scavenger hunt every time a file goes rogue.  With enterprise software, you can scrap the multitude of platforms and put all your documents into one system. You can track processes from start to finish, and easily see your progress on numerous projects. Less segmentation means a more unified approach to organizing all the pieces that make up your business.

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Multiple team members can utilize it

With many personal document management software companies, only one user can be logged in at a time. This adds another cog in the machine for your projects, making it a tedious effort to get things done. In the physical world, would you share one singular key to your company’s office with the entire staff? Of course you wouldn’t. The act of passing things from one person to the next may seem like teamwork, but the chance of someone failing to log out or getting their personal computer hacked is too great of a risk.

Enterprise software is designed so that multiple users can utilize it all at once. No more sharing of login or password information with several members of your team. Plus, most software of this caliber comes equipped with diversified levels of security. With multi-user access, administrators are set up to control document and security group permissions, which allows them to grant or revoke a user’s right to delete, view, create, and update individual fields and document types. You aren’t limited to one concrete access level, you can easily create several permissions per user, dependent on the levels of position at your company.

These permissions also apply to workflow and who can view a workflow, because some tasks are for your eyes only, just another benefit to having multi-user functionality. Workflow is the process in which a task, or several tasks, move like a digital train through the document management system. That ‘train’ picks up the necessary pieces (i.e. signatures, document edits, approvals) from all programmed recipients (whichever users the creator of this workflow assigned) and continues to do so until the task reaches completion. The bigger the company, the more complicated each workflow becomes.

ECM_DMS(5)Pricing is dependent upon your needs

Everyone, put your finance hats on because it’s time to talk about cost. Document management software for enterprises doesn’t really offer a one-size-fits-all price tag. Sure, some free software providers also offer features packages or custom pricing, but these will still be built exclusively for single users or personal use. If you need special pricing for your business, the rep for that free software you downloaded will have no clue what to tell you.

Enterprise software companies are going to offer your business many different modules, such as scanning or imaging add-ons and third party integrations. A lot of the features they offer are cost-effective for the businesses that need them. For instance, a company that has a surplus of paper to scan into their system may require an unusual set of services and scanning features in order to fit their needs. No two companies are exactly alike, and neither are the quotes they’re given.

Prices can also range based upon whether or not your business requires or needs Microsoft Office integration, scanning technology, revision tracking, advanced security, or instant notifications. Or, for certain companies, these features come standard. Enterprise software companies will work with you to come up with a program and pricing that fits your budget and requirements, so that you’re never paying too much for when you need less or getting too little for the value you pay.

ECM_DMS(6)It’s customizable

Savvy users know that you don’t have to be a developer to alter your personal software. Free software may let you set some personal preferences, but enterprise software is built around your whole business. You can choose what features to highlight and which ones can go. As an administrator or business owner, you can tweak your software’s blueprint to fit with your company’s purpose, style, and size. Your company is your vision and who’s to say your document management software can’t reflect that?

Enterprise software companies specialize in creating products based on your business’ individual needs. These companies don’t have a set of generic software that they sell to everyone else. If your business needs higher security levels, access for more users, document retention for regulatory compliance, increased storage space, let them know. The best enterprise software providers will do whatever it takes to make sure your document management system is the perfect fit.

DeskMockupYou receive individual support

When a problem arises with personal online software, in most cases the only solution is to call a company halfway around the world. Doing so usually results in an automated system rattling off dozens of choices while you try to categorize your very particular reason for calling. If you do happen to reach a live representative, they won’t know who you are. They will not know your business, its background, your history, or what you were using their software for. For many, this cold form of customer service leaves us feeling frustrated and unappreciated as clients.

When you collaborate with an enterprise software company, you’ll get individualized attention and support whenever you need it. They are sure to have a record of who you are, what your business does, and an up-to-date log of other calls you’ve made. If an issue ever occurs, they make the troubleshooting process quick and easy by keeping record of what software you use, any customized features they provided you, and all case logs of past communication.


The Takeaway

Even if you’re just getting your business up and running or your business is small, enterprise software can help you reach your desired goals. Investing in your business from the beginning and making choices based on company needs rather than budget, will end up being cost-effective in the future.


Want to learn more about the enterprise software we can offer you? Take a tour of our Contentverse document management software features today.

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