NetDocuments Vs. iManage – A Document Management System Comparison
Document management software for law firms is a critical tool. It helps law firms keep their documents (including emails and attachments) organized. This is important because when documents are well organized, law firm life is more efficient and clients are better served.
Yet, it’s not an easy job to find the right document management software. There are a lot of companies out there. The different options can make finding the right one overwhelming. And randomly choosing one to try can result in serious problems for the law firm.
In this post, we’re going to compare a couple of popular document management software solutions. Before we do, though, we’d like to share some things you should look for when evaluating your options:
- Is it matter-centric? Most document management system software options are made with multiple industries in mind. So, it may not be matter-centric. You may need to do a lot of tweaking to get the software to work in way that makes sense to your users. When your document management software is truly matter-centric, it makes it easier for users to save, search, and work together on specific documents.
- Does the software offer the features you need? For example, does it integrate with Microsoft Office and Outlook? Can you create permissions or security based on user? Can you set-up the ability for documents to be checked-in and checked-out? Can documents be indexed and searched? Of course, that’s not a full list of questions about the features you may need, but it’s a good start.
- Consider accessibility. It’s certainly no surprise that law firms are looking for cloud-based solutions to improve accessibility. When considering document management software, determine how it will be installed and used. If the software is meant to be installed to an on-premise server, it’s not going to be available to you when you’re not in the office. If the company says that their software is cloud-based, or has a “cloud option,” do your research. It could be that they provide you with a web browser-based log-in that provides limited functionality when you’re accessing it. If you want to access the document management software when you’re away from the office, look for something that can either be hosted and ran from a private cloud or something that is a cloud native (meaning it was made specifically for use on the cloud).
- How are searches performed? Does searching rely on the folders, tags, or profiles? Does the software have the ability to read the inside of the documents (OCR)? OCR is key when it comes to easily locating what you need through the search process. You can use a name, word, or phrase and OCR will search the inside of documents saved within the software as well as any tags, folder names, or meta-data.
- How hard will it be to move your data? Data migration is an important part of the process, and can make or break your experience. Depending on the document management software you choose, you may be required to move your own data. If you don’t have the ability to do that, you may need to hire a professional to help. Look for a solution that provides data migration as part of its package, from the company that makes the software (rather than farming this function off to a third party).
So now that you know some of the things you should look for when evaluating document management software, let’s look at a couple of commonly used ones: NetDocuments vs. iManage.
NetDocuments is a cloud-based document management system that serves several industries, including healthcare, financial services and law firms. Documents are arranged by workspace. A law firm may need to create a workspace for every client or client matter. They may also opt to create a workspace for each lawyer to manage all of that lawyer’s projects. Then, the lawyer would provide access to each person with whom they work. NetDocuments manages documents and email (with an added extension), allows users to work together on documents, allows users to compare previous versions of documents or approve changes, and includes a mobile app.
NetDocuments charges per user and per gigabyte (GB) of storage for each user. Each user is $20 / month, and comes with only 1 GB of storage. More storage (which you’ll undoubtably need) will cost more. Law firms must consider their number of users as well as have a good idea of how much space they’ll need to determine the monthly cost.