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SharePoint or DMS? Should you actually choose?

More and more organisations are using a document management system (DMS). But when buying such a system, a very important question often haunts the mind, namely: ‘if I choose a DMS, should I say goodbye to SharePoint?’

The answer to this is ‘no’. In fact, it might even be smart to deploy both. There are quite a few misunderstandings and half-truths about how it works. Time to take a look at these and clear them up. And who better to explain this to us than Hilbert Leijen, Technical Director at Infoland?

Hilbert, can you first explain to us what a DMS actually is?

“Of course, a document management system is a software solution for storing and managing documents. Its main purpose is to make various processes around documents more efficient. There are several document management solutions.

Let’s start with SharePoint. Although SharePoint is often put away as an alternative to a file server, it is much more than that. In fact, SharePoint is a document management system, where you have the ability to create an advanced folder structure, apply version control and which also offers a good search function. In addition, rights management is possible and document collaboration is a big advantage of working with SharePoint for professionals.”

That sounds like an excellent product?!

It is. Microsoft has made quite a splash with SharePoint since its introduction in 2002. At the time, the 2010 version was portrayed as the solution to all document management problems.

And the product has continued to evolve and improve since 2010 as well. But there is still a need in the market for other solutions. Organisations have quality management and audit management requirements that SharePoint cannot always meet, at least not in most configurations. And that has led to the emergence of other document management solutions.”

So is a DMS like Zenya a competitor to SharePoint?

This is indeed often assumed, but we see it differently. In principle, any DMS is a competitor to SharePoint, but we see SharePoint as a rather general solution.

A DMS like Zenya DOC is a document management system with a specific purpose, namely to offer up-to-date documents to professionals with which quality can be guaranteed.

Zenya DOC has a number of differences compared to SharePoint.

The main three differences are:

  • Interactive documents: instead of static, long documents with process descriptions, protocols, etc., Zenya DOC offers you the information in an interactive way. A few questions will lead the user to the right place within the document, without having to search. In addition, pictures and videos add extra user-friendliness.
  • The learning loop: the professionals working with the documents in Zenya are generally unable to make changes to them. This is also not desirable from a quality and compliance point of view. But there is a desire to be able to provide feedback on documents, so that a learning loop is created. Once a professional provides feedback on a particular document, the administrator/owner of the document receives a message. Once the feedback is processed, a message goes to the enquirer.
  • A specific solution: Zenya DOC is a product specifically designed for quality management. A product that is also user-friendly and intuitive, which does not require technical knowledge, even as an administrator.

So do you mean Zenya can be used in conjunction with SharePoint?

“Organisations that do not use SharePoint obviously do not have to if they choose Zenya. Since this is Infoland’s own development, which does not use SharePoint technology, it can run stand-alone.

Organisations that do use SharePoint, or are considering doing so, absolutely do not have to say goodbye to SharePoint. In fact, using it also has advantages.

For example, for documents with a short lifespan, which are not important for quality management, SharePoint is a good solution.

For documents where management, compliance and quality assurance do matter, such as work instructions, protocols and process descriptions, a specific DMS can be used.”

Don’t professionals find it tedious to use multiple systems?

“This is a valid point. Indeed, an end-user does not become happy with an excess of different systems and apps. This is why we offer integration between SharePoint and Zenya, as well as with various intranet solutions. This allows you as an organisation to use the best of both worlds within DMS, but offer it to your end users as one solution.’’

As more and more organisations switch to, or start using, SharePoint Online, that is where our focus lies in terms of integration. But there are also opportunities in other situations.

“Indeed, how you make your document management system accessible to professionals makes a difference in how they use and experience the software.

For the quality manager, the most important thing is that the documents that matter are used in the right way. So that even for an audit it is guaranteed that the right documents are offered to the right people at the right time.

For the end user, it is pleasant if all documents, from whatever system, can be found in one place as much as possible.”

Hilbert, many thanks for your clear explanation! So a specific DMS is mainly a complement to SharePoint and choosing one is not necessary!


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