Document management: Evaluation checklist

To find the document management product that works best for your agency, obtain trial versions of several solutions and evaluate them using the checklist below — after adding any agency- specific requirements.

* Infrastructure — What platforms does the product support? Is any additional software or licensing required? What level of scalability, availability and replication does the product offer?

* Administration — What installation requirements, security, and user and group account management tools are available?

* Client interfaces — What operating systems does the product support? Is it Web browser-based? Can it be accessed via wireless or voice systems?

* Client tools — Can you easily add or modify documents? What formats are supported? How do users route and collaborate on documents?

* Document accessibility — How easily does the product integrate with other agency applications, such as word processing and other office products, e-mail systems and collaboration tools?

* Document versioning — Does the product include a document repository and baselining tools? Can you retrieve earlier versions or save versions by author?

* Document routing — What out-of-the-box workflow capabilities does the product offer? Is document routing tied to e-mail and collaboration tools?

* User change notification — Can you flag document changes sent via e-mail, pager or other mobile devices?

* Developer tools — Does the product offer the ability to create custom document management applications, application program interface access, multiplatform tools or integration with other agency applications?

* Training — Will training be needed for administrators or end users? What training tools are available?

* Documentation — Is hard-copy and online documentation available? How accessible is it? Is it detailed enough?

* Cost — Does the vendor charge per user or per CPU? How long will it take to recoup the initial investment? What will ongoing maintenance cost?

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