If you’re in the market for content management tools for your dealership because you’re looking to improve staff productivity or reduce filing and storage costs, you’re making the same decision countless other dealerships across the country are making—the decision to go paperless.

However, considering the sheer number of providers of content management systems, choosing the right system for your dealership can be a complicated, sometimes challenging process. It’s also a process that shouldn’t be made hastily, as the content management system you choose now will likely be with you for years to come.

After all, its important to remember that document management systems are more than just online storage, and offer more than just a place to keep your documents. By imaging and indexing your documents, there are a number of additional tasks dealerships can utilize with document management software, such as:

  • Storing various document types
  • Searching the entire library by keyword
  • Sharing documents with coworkers, clients, etc.
  • Accessing, editing, and sharing via mobile device
  • Creating new files within the system that can be edited and shared
  • Tracking and retrieving edits made to documents
  • Restricting access to certain documents
  • Creating an audit trail of who has viewed certain documents
  • Controlling when out-of-date documents can be deleted

Most businesses rely on documentation. There are few industries that wouldn’t benefit from document management tools—and automotive dealerships are not one of those. From deal jackets to parts invoices to customer records, there are a number of documents used in day-to-day operations. The organization and management of these can be made much more efficient by adopting document management software.

So, before you go out and decide on a provider, consider these following questions when choosing your document management system.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Begin by questioning yourself. The following list of questions will help you determine what you expect to get out of a document management system, and will help you get some relevant answers you’ll need to know before reaching out to a vendor.

  • What are you looking for? Are you looking for just an imaging system, just document management software, or both?
  • What are your goals? What do you hope to accomplish with the document management system you choose? Efficiency? Productivity? Cost-effectiveness?
  • How many users will need to access the system? Will your entire dealership be using the system? Just sales reps? Just mechanics?
  • How many documents will need to be scanned? On a daily, weekly, monthly basis? This will help determine your future scanning needs.
  • Do you have remote locations? Will these need remote access to the system? If so, you may want to consider a cloud-based system, rather than one based on your own in-house server.

Questions to Ask Vendors

After determining the answers to the questions above, you’ll be more prepared when discussing options and negotiating price with your potential vendors. When talking with them, consider asking the following questions to gauge their fit and their expertise.

  • How many other dealerships does the vendor work with? Finding out how many (if any) dealerships a vendor works with will help you make sure you choose a vendor with experience in your industry.
  • Is the vendor’s software equipped for the future? Does its architecture support mobile access and does it have a modern web browser?
  • Does it integrate with other software? If you use a customer relationship management (CRM) software, can it integrate on this front? What about other software you use in your dealership?
  • Is it scalable? Every business should have plans for growth—does the software the vendor provides offer scalability for the future?

Other Features to Look for in Document Management Systems

And of course, these questions are just starting points for choosing the right vendor for your document management needs. As mentioned earlier, there are a number of additional features document management systems offer. Check out the list below and take note of any features that you think will be necessary for your ultimate choice in vendors.

  • Intuitive filing structure
  • Collaboration capabilities
  • Cloud-based access
  • Compliance measures
  • Disaster recovery data backup
  • Custom user settings
  • Functional scanning capability
  • Usable search features
  • Editing capabilities