Worldox vs. iManage

Worldox vs. iManage – A Document Management System Comparison

The right legal document management system (DMS) is essential for many law firms. Since the creation and adoption of cloud-based technology, law firms can now choose between a digital DMS system that may be hosted and operated from a firm’s on-premise server and one that is hosted and operated from the cloud. Here at Uptime Legal, we spend a lot of time talking with law firms about their current technology use and how they can create a better and more productive overall experience. For that reason, in this article we’ll compare two popular document management platforms head-to-head: Worldox vs. iManage.

Before we talk about the differences between two of the DMS options we often answer questions about, we want to address a few basics about DMS and law firms.

What Law Firms Must Know about Choosing the Right DMS

It would be great if every DMS available offered exactly what your law firm needs to function better. However, the truth is that much of what is out there in terms of document management software isn’t made specifically with the legal industry in mind. Sure, many law firms may use these applications (because anythign is better than “the G: drive”), but that doesn’t mean it’s the best overall fit for your law firm.

It’s critically important that as you’re doing your research on DMS options that you consider the following:

  • Does the system manage law firm documents, or does it just act as a digital storage space? It’s important to check. An actual document management system should do more than act as a digital filing cabinet. It should also allow you and your team to work together on documents in some capacity.
  • How are the documents organized? Does it make sense for your law firm? This is key. Since many DMS options are made for use in multiple industries, you must consider how the documents are organized, if that organization style makes sense, and if it is something that can be easily adopted. Both Worldox and iManage are both DMS options made for multiple industries. They aren’t as matter-focused as a DMS solution made with law firms in mind. As you read through the comparison of the two below, really think about how the organization could and would impact the productivity of your law firm.
  • Will your most used services integrate with the DMS? This is important. If the DMS doesn’t integrate with Microsoft Office, Outlook, and your other commonly used applications, you may find that the software isn’t as relied upon as it should be because it just becomes an extra step that feels like more work. The right DMS should make law firm life easier.
  • Is the search function helpful? Consider how searches are performed within the software. The best search option is optical character recognition (OCR). With OCR, the DMS will take the search term and look for it not just in folder and file names, but also within documents.
  • Is it easy to use? If the DMS isn’t easy to use, no one is going to use it. If you have people not using it, you have data and documents scattered out on individual drives. This can make it harder for everyone to find what they need. The software should be easy to learn and easy to use.
  • Can it be customized? Can you change different aspects of the DMS to make it work better for your law firm or even for each user to make it work better? Is everyone stuck with one interface?
  • What about data migration? Data migration is a fancy term that means moving over your data and documents into the DMS. Will the DMS company do this for you or are you on your own? If the company offers data migration, is it included in the price? Also, look into how the migration is performed so that you can know what to expect. Nothing is more frustrating (and sometimes terrifying) for law firms than to not have access to their data and documents even on a temporary basis.

Alright! So now that you know what you should look for in a DMS, you’re better prepared to read about both Worldox and iManage. We’re going to give you a brief overview of each, tell you what we really like about some of the features for each, and our verdict about the programs.

A Short Overview of Worldox

Worldox is a DMS that is used in many industries. It has several versions, including Worldox Professional, Worldox Enterprise, Worldox Cloud, and Worldox Web. While Worldox provides Worldox Cloud, the DMS is not a native-cloud application. Worldox integrates with Office 365, the online version of Microsoft Office. It also integrates with several applications used by law firms, including both ProLaw and PCLaw.

Worldox acts as a centralized location to keep all documents and data. To help make finding what you need easier, Worldox’s search function can search on documents, emails, and metadata. Users have the ability to create tags for each document. Tags can be created and applied at any time.

Documents are organized through a worklist. To find documents, Worldox relies on a layout that looks and functions very similarly to Windows Explorer. Documents may also be organized by projects. Projects can then be shared with others through a workgroup. Permissions may be set based on access levels for each user. Tabs may also be set-up by each user to help them organize the documents they work with.

Worldox has a check-in / check-out feature which is very helpful for law firms. When a document is checked-out, others may open a copy as “read-only.” This can help law firms minimize the likelihood of having multiple versions of the exact same document for the same client floating around on different devices.

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An Overview of iManage

iManage is a long-standing DMS used traditionally by large law firms. Much like Worldox, it’s used in several industries. iManage can be hosted on-premise or on a private cloud. However, it is not a native-cloud application. It is important for you to know that if you want to install iManage to your own private cloud, you’ll need quite a bit of technical knowledge to do it (and a lot of cloud server horsepower).

iManage integrates with Outlook, Microsoft Office, document scanners, and popular document repositories such as Google Drive, OneNote, and Dropbox. The DMS comes with predictive email management. When this feature is enabled, emails are automatically moved to projects based on the content of the email.

iManage organizes documents through projects. In those projects, you can place emails, documents, and other matter-related data. Projects appear on the left side of the screen. To search the documents, iManage first indexes them. However, it does not come standard with OCR. Users can also tag documents to make searching for what they need a little bit easier. It is important that users go through the process of filling out the client information, author name, and other pertinent information of each document to make it easier to find it through the search feature.

It also provides a check-in / check-out feature as well as document change alerts. These features can make managing and collaborating documents easier. Much like Worldox, when a document is checked-out, other users can still read the document, but they cannot change it. Document change alerts are helpful because they can be set to notify someone anytime a change is made to a document.

Features We Like in Worldox

Worldox integrates with Office 365 as well as several popular time and billing programs used by law firms. The Office 365 integration may not seem like something you’d expect us to get excited about. Yet, you’d be surprised at just how many DMS options do not integrate with it. Most integrate with only the physical copy of Microsoft Office that is installed on individual computers. Worldox does not require a separate purchase for it to work with Outlook. We also appreciate the tags may be set-up through profiling, and they can be applied at any time. Through the use of profiles, Outlook can automatically categorize emails and attachments.

Worldox acts as a centralized DMS for both users within the office. It can also be used between multiple offices of the same law firm. Projects can be shared between users regardless of their location. This makes it simple for team members to work together regardless of which office they physical work in. Users, regardless of location, may also be able to access Worldox from anywhere as long as they have an Internet connection and a smart device that supports the use of JavaScript.

We also appreciate the familiar feel of the program. It’s similar to using Windows Explorer. Most law firm employees have very little problem learning how to best utilize the DMS. We love that each user can set-up their own tabs to customize their experience.

Features We Like in iManage

We appreciate iManage’s intuitive nature and how it organizes information based on projects. Each project assigned to a user through permissions appears on the left side of the screen. This makes it easier for law firm employees to find what they need, when they need it.

We also appreciate that iManage integrates with document scanners. Physical documents can be scanned and immediately stored in iManage. It also integrates with popular cloud storage providers. The application’s artificial intelligence allows users to set-up predictive email management. Emails and attachments may automatically be routed to the appropriate projects. Users can also elect to move those documents and attachments on their own.

Another favorite feature beneficial for law firms is the document change alerts. When a user makes changes to a document stored in iManage, you can have alerts sent to the original author (or the person who will ultimately take responsibility for the document).

The Verdict

Both Worldox and iManage are great for law firms, but they also both have some serious drawbacks.

Worldox is, to its credit, a solid, long-standing DMS used by many law firms. It has not, however, aged gracefully, from the interface to the functionality. Lacking a true, native-cloud solution, running Worldox in the cloud requires hosting it in a private cloud or similar platform.

iManage, it its credit, is powerful and robust. It is also, very expensive, both in terms of outright cost to buy the software, as well as the expensive server infrastructure (hosted or on-premise) that you’ll need to run it. Its used by many very large law firms, but most small and midsize firms simply find it to be too much for their needs.

Neither option is made specifically with the legal industry in mind although both have extremely robust document and data security. You’ll notice that while both allow the check-in and check-out of documents and integrates with Microsoft products, they don’t offer certain features that law firms rely on such as allowing users to create and apply deadlines for documents.

When looking for the right DMS for your law firm, it’s important that you consider all of the needs presented by the law firm. Do your research. If you have questions about either Worldox or iManage, let us know! We’re happy to talk with you about your needs.

Take a Look at LexWorkplace

Both NetDocuments and iManage are capable platforms. But if you’re looking for modern document management software that was born in the cloud and built for law firms, take a look at LexWorkplace.

LexWorkplaceprovides matter-centric document and email management, enabling your law firm to go paperless, get organized and work anywhere.

Learn more about LexWorkplace.

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