Why You Shouldn’t Put Documents in Your Line of Business Application

While incredibly good in its ability to serve your industry’s unique needs, line of business (LOB) software is often not an optimal choice for document storage. We’ll explain why in this post. But first, humor us with a little analogy…

When you buy a new TV, it ships with some basic apps pre-installed, right? And yet the majority of us would much prefer to use an Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV Stick for streaming content instead. Why? These devices were made to do this job.

Sure, your TV can play Netflix natively, but with Apple TV, you can…

  • Control Netflix with your voice.
  • Benefit from Apple TV’s $1B investment in original content.
  • Benefit from future software upgrades and integration in the iOS ecosystem.

For the best experience, you want both: the TV and the additional streaming device.

In the same way, LOB software is great at what it does: solving problems specific to your industry. But document storage solutions in LOB applications tend to be tacked on as an afterthought. They’re the equivalent of using your TV’s software to watch Netflix, when the real reason you bought the TV is for the screen – not the software.

Here are five reasons why you should use dedicated document management software over your LOB’s built-in document storage features.

#1 No Bells, No Whistles

Document storage solutions in LOB applications are often very basic and limited in scope. In many cases, you can attach a document, but that might be about the extent of your document storage options.

Just as you purchased the LOB app because you want great LOB results, you need a great document management software to experience great document storage capabilities. With a dedicated document management software, you have more robust configuration possibilities. For example, you can set up document retention with automatic purging, as determined by custom business rules – something that would not be possible in typical LOB apps. Additionally, with a document management application, you have the ability to set varying “edit” and “view” permissions depending on the type of user, a necessity for satisfying your company’s security or compliance requirements.

#2 It’s Easier to Change LOB Softwares In the Future

Migrating from one LOB software to a new one can become quite difficult if you’re relying on your LOB app for document management. This is partly due to the fact that some LOB softwares convert uploaded files into a proprietary format. For example, a PDF is no longer a .pdf when uploaded to your LOB application. Instead, it’s converted and stored as a file type only readable by your LOB software. This presents an obvious problem should you ever want to leave that LOB software.

Even if your LOB software doesn’t use a proprietary file format, the act of migrating data and documents from one software to the next is more involved than migrating data alone. Having to move documents and other files can add to the total amount of time it takes to make the transition, while also resulting in greater potential for complications in migration.

Of course, when you use a dedicated document management software instead, you’re much more free to change LOB applications. In this case, separating LOB needs from storage needs is a win-win for everyone!

#3 Collaboration Is Easier in Document Management Software

Document storage can be more difficult when you have multiple LOB applications that are all storing different documents. Sure, you may be able to figure out a workaround by developing a custom integration, but this approach may not be ideal for your business.

Instead, enjoy the polished collaboration tools found in a dedicated document management solution! With an independent document management system, all file types are stored in the same application, which makes collaboration between the various files so much easier.

#4 Keep Training & Licensing Costs Manageable

Training new users in a LOB app can present challenges. This isn’t Office 365, after all. Since LOB apps are more department or industry specific, only a subset of users generally need all the product’s features. So, it doesn’t make any sense to configure and train a large group of read only users on how to use each LOB app when they could be taught how to simply use a single document management solution instead.

Also, in the case of LOB softwares that charge per-user license fees, adding more users to the LOB app can make this a costly solution for your company that’s not very user-friendly in the first place. Retraining costs continue to accrue for organizations that take this approach, as many of their employees would login infrequently and require support to access the system.

With a dedicated document management system, you can grant access based on group rights, so that users see only the documents you intend for them to see. Additionally, users would only have to use one login in one system, increasing the retention of training received.

#5 Maintain Peak LOB Software Performance By Storing Documents Elsewhere

Finally, using a dedicated software for document storage can keep your LOB app from getting bloated. Images and document scans usually take up significantly more space than data. When a LOB app is used as a primary document storage solution, performance may drop as the system built to handle data becomes flooded an influx of document images. Instead, let your document management software do the job it was made to do!

Is a Dedicated Document Management Solution Right for You?

LOB applications have many invaluable uses. But when it comes to your document management needs, there are better options available! Our specialists at InStream are available to talk with you about your needs. We have a diverse range of experience in many off-the-shelf and custom document management solutions. Let us help you find a solution that’s a perfect fit for your current needs and future growth. Contact InStream today.