August 8, 2018

Moving from papers to digital documents is no longer an innovation; it is a path all organizations should follow to be successful. The need to migrate to digital solution results from maintaining and managing paper documents: papers are harder to browse, take more time to process, plus they need big physical storage. Even with the best organization, it remains very time-consuming and each action requires a more or less important human intervention depending on the operation. Additionally, opting for digitalization is more environmentally friendly. However, handling digital files can be challenging. The electronic document management system software is an important part of the enterprise business intelligence and automation system part and responds to a problem of dematerialization: the tracking and management of digital documents.

List of The Contents:

According to the research by GMI DMS software market may hit $6bn in 2024. Today organizations are using an increasing number of files, and it becomes essential to have the right solution to manage and to make collaboration easier among employees. When dealing with an important volume of data, it is crucial to be able to perform a quick search, to make a change and share with the appropriate people. The more time we spend on these tasks, the less productive an organization is. Collaboration is often behind documents use. Therefore, it is equally important to have a record of each change made by the different contributors and to be able to revert to any version of the document at any time.

WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL FEATURES OF A DMS SOLUTION?

We have seen that the DMS solution should address collaboration challenges, in this section, we are going to browse all the critical features for a DMS solution.

  • Optical character recognition: Image documents often result from a scan of a paper document once an organization opts for dematerialization. Document management programs should have a feature that allows character detection from an image and scanned files. This option is especially needed during research and document validation. Check our article about the options available for the screen scraping of the other software and the paper documents data recognition approaches to learn more about that. 
  • Document storage: let’s start with the obvious one. An electronic document Management System software should be able to allow users to store their files and digital information. It should offer a central location where everyone in the organization can push and pull files as needed. Now information is presented in several different forms and formats; the DMS IT software solutions should be able to store any digital records: text, image, video, etc. Online document management solutions should be a standard, the electronic document storage solutions should be accessed anywhere as long as there is an Internet connection.
  • Sharing features: Records are created and updated so that they can be shared with the right people within the organization or with the organization’s partners or to other people. It is important that the DMS IT software solutions make sharing easier. This implies being able to share to anyone to edit, view and manage the document. The document management application should also be able to facilitate access to the list of people eligible for sharing through integration with the company’s LDAP for example.
  • Security: If files are created and used, it means that it is somehow critical to the enterprise’s business. It is then important to ensure that the electronic document storage solution is always secured. The DMS IT software solutions should provide a high level of security especially for sensitive information, any public folders and files can be accessed by everyone, and no further protection is needed, but security should be increased for data that are not meant to be accessed by everyone. DMS should be able to tell who has accessed to a given document at any time; alerts should be triggered anytime illegal access is made.
  • Versioning: When we are referring to collaboration, it implies that the electronic record has a different state every time someone within an organization is editing the file. It is essential to enable versioning: every edit will lead to a new version, and more importantly, the document management application should allow access to a revised version all the time.
  • Research features: researching for a file or within files should be easy with document management programs.  Without this feature, looking for a specific file or document can be very time-consuming: not knowing where to search and not being able to perform custom research. Document management programs should address this problem as well. Research should be more straightforward and costumed researched should be allowed: research by keywords for documents, research for specific words or phrases within a document.
  • Mobile compatibility: a Mobile device is now part of standard work tool; basic tasks should be able to be done with a mobile device. The document management application should offer mobile compatibility so that everyone could have access to documents anywhere and anytime.

Now that we have identified features of DMS let’s see what technologies are used for DMS development and implementation.

WHAT TECHNOLOGIES ARE USED FOR DMS SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT?

Regarding the technical aspect of DMS development, these are the leading technologies to take into account:

  • Programming languages: The choice of the technologies will depend mainly on the DMS development team skills and habits and especially on technologies that are often used by the organization to develop its applications. However, the following technologies are the most commonly used while developing DMS software:
  • .Net Framework(C#): when developing a document management application from scratch, .Net is a powerful technology that can be used to develop reliable enterprise application .Net offers several built-in solutions that can speed the development process.
  • JEE: like .Net, JEE is very powerful and is much more flexible than most languages. Since it is based on Java programming languages, it benefits from strong support in concurrency
  • Ruby on Rails: DMS development takes less time and effort thanks to Ruby on Rails several frameworks.
  • PHP is one of the most used programming languages, it is primarily used to build a website, but it can also be used for DMS development. Since online document management solutions availability is a must, PHP offers a lighter solution, pages can be loaded more quickly.
  • Database Management System: there are several options for the database to use.
  • Relational Database: we can opt for free databases like MySQL or proprietary databases like Oracle, MS SQL Server.
  • NoSQL database: unlike a Relational database, NoSQL does not require a schema and a defined structure, which makes NoSQL databases more suitable for DMS development. DMS aims to store any file types, which aligns well with the NoSQL database. For NoSQL database, we can choose MongoDB which is a document-oriented database making it the best choice for DMS development.
  • OCR: during DMS development, it is also essential to choose the right OCR API. Depending on the programming language you choose to build the DMS software, there can be several options for the OCR solution. You can, for instance, consider Asprise Java OCR.

There are few document management companies that offer standard DMS solutions, however, each business is different and doesn’t handle recorded information the same. This is why it is important to go for a tailored DMS development. Before addressing the cost of DMS development, let’s first see the modules that should be included in the DMS development.

WHAT MODULES ARE TYPICALLY INCLUDED IN THE ELECTRONIC DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM?

We have already seen the critical features that a document management web application should include. We are going to consider all of these modules during the following estimate.

  • Security module
  • OCR module
  • Document storage module
  • Document upload and creation module: here we define what are the documents that can be handled and how to upload them into the system: file or document creation, mobile and web file upload, scan, email upload, drag, and drop, etc.
  • Document search and processing module
  • User interface module
  • Document workflow management: each organization has its own workflow; workflow management implies roles and authorization management.

DMS development follows the application development process. This process includes:

  • System requirement specification phase
  • Design of the document flow system
  • Design of technical architecture
  • Development
  • Test
  • Application deployment

COST AND TIMELINE FOR DMS DEVELOPMENT PROJECT

For this estimation, we are going to consider the modules we have previously listed. We are going to consider a document management web application software that can be accessed on a mobile device as well. The estimation technique used is the same as we have used for web-based application and mobile application development.

Let’s first define the IT specialists needed to build this document management application. We recommend the use of a NoSQL database.

  • A project manager
  • Backend and Front-end developer
  • QA engineer
  • System Administrator
  • NoSQL DBA
  • Mobile developer: iOS and Android developers

We have seven modules with similar complexity level, the estimation of one of these modules will help us estimate the whole system, and we will extrapolate our estimation using the document workflow management module.

In this module we are going to develop the following:

  • Role management
  • Workflow definition: creation, update, validation, document sharing, archiving, etc.
  • Document management process flow validation

Implementing this workflow management module will cost:

  • 1 back-end developer working full time for 2 months charging $25/hr = $8,000
  • 1 front-end developer working full-time during 2 months charging $30/hr = $9,600
  • 1 QA engineer working full-time during 1 month charging $20/hr = $3,200
  • 1 Project manager who manages the project from design to project closure for 2 months charging $30/hr = $4,800
  • 1 NoSQL DBA working full-time for one week charging $30/hr = $1,200
  • 1 System administrator working full-time for one week charging $25/hr = $1,000

Additionally for the mobile application part:

  • 1 iOS developer working full time for 1 month charging $35/hr = $4,800
  • 1 Android developer working full-time for 1 month charging $35/hr = $4,960

The workflow management module will cost approximately $37,000

The overall DMS software system will cost approximately $220,000

TABLE OF APPROXIMATE COST

Now let’s put the document management solution development cost from this example in the table for greater visibility. For this sample budget cost, we took the outsourcing rates which you can expect in referring to companies in Eastern and Central European countries such as Ukraine including Existek. The budget is calculated for the fully functional solution with approximately 6 modules included. 

SpecialistNumber of DevsMonthsRateTotal
Total
Back-end Developer262548000
Front-end Developer263057600
iOS Developer163129760
Android Developer163028800
QA Engineer232019200
NoSQL DBA11304800
Project Manager163028800
System Administrator11254000

CONCLUSION

Engaging in DMS development presents many advantages: it offers improved document management process flow, helps save time during research and document processing, and allows an organization to be more productive. It is essential to tailor the document flow system like any other application that is tied to the organization’s business. Every organization has its own document management process flow, security policy and a way to interact with documents. Every step of the DMS development process is crucial from designing the system requirement specification to the system deployment. Parameters such as technologies have to be taken seriously into account.

If you want to know more about DMS system designing process and challenges, read our case study about the development of the data migration module for the IntelliChief Paperless Process Management solution. Existek is an offshore software development company with the long track record of creating document management and data recognition software and addings for the vast variety of industries including healthcare and education. If you loved this article and would like to get the timeline and cost estimation for your project in this area or struggling to find right way of technology implementation or solution to your technical challenge – contact us via the website form or simply type “Hi” in the chat widget and we will be glad to help you.