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10 questions to pose when qualifying a document management opportunity for Business Central or NAV

10 questions to pose when qualifying a document management opportunity for Business Central or NAV

The key questions to ask your customers

Greg Cole

A Document Management System or DMS helps an organization store, manage and track its electronic documents and scanned images of paper-based documents. Integrated and automated document management helps to connect file storage with Business Central, facilitating bulk document scanning, emailing and archiving.

The launch of Business Central means a number of new features, including access to the document management app SharePoint. True value is added, however, when these business apps such as SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics are combined using an integration tool to allow faster working.

This post suggests 10 questions you should ask your customer when qualifying an integrated Document Management opportunity for Business Central.

1. Does the customer frequently use SharePoint and Business Central alongside each other?

SharePoint users have grown naturally since being included in Business Central and NAV implementations from 2016 onwards. Whilst they are implemented together, there are many basic functions that are not possible when working between the two, such as the ability to drag and drop documents into Business Central from SharePoint, or filing emails to a Business Central Archive.

This means that customers waste time flitting between programs without the ability to organize and file documents against related accounts. If the customer is an active user of SharePoint, it’s worth asking how they keep track between their document folders and Business Central records, to see if they could benefit from an integrated experience.

2. Who needs access to your documents and which should be hidden from wider teams?

When using a central database for company files, your customer may want to keep finance or HR-related documents separate from the rest of their team's view. Zetadocs uses security trimmed searches by default to be sure that when someone is searching for a document, they are not given visibility to folders they do not have permission to view.

A system like this prevents issues around confidentiality and gives each user a personalized, streamlined view of the documents available to them.

An integration tool such as Zetadocs can also work in reverse, giving permissioned staff the ability to share records from Business Central to those who do not have a license, so that wider groups of staff in your customers' organization can benefit from collaborative working with SharePoint.

3. How do customer-facing staff find documents?

Automatic electronic indexing of documents with metadata (information about the documents) makes the job of finding those documents outside Business Central so much easier.

The metadata can be used easily to sort lists, to search on Business Central record numbers or to search on a piece of information that is more relevant to a team outside finance than any Business Central record number could ever be.

Zetadocs supports metadata for indexing both incoming documents that users capture and outbound documents that users send via email or print.  As a result, it’s easy to find a purchase order, a delivery note, an invoice, and so on.

Zetadocs Express gives users simple metadata like the Business Central record number and the organization name. Our Essentials editions give configurable metadata, enabling you the partner to take any field on the associated Business Central record and upload that, along with the document, without writing a line of code.

4. What will your customers require from their DMS in the future, and how will you deliver this?

Being able to attach related documents to any Business Central record is a common requirement, be that a customer’s email to a Sales Order or a compliance certificate to an item. Having an easy way to add that ability for any Business Central record is made simpler if there is a configuration tool to do that. The Zetadocs Page Modifier tool takes any Business Central page as text input, automatically adds the Documents FactBox and outputs a modified text file for you to import into Business Central for your customer.

It’s really that simple to customize Business Central to meet your customer’s requirements that not only help them search for files and emails attached to the current Business Central record, but those attached to other records.

Business Central users often request to have documents such as sales invoices shown within the customer card, or to see contract documents on a Business central Job card, even if they are logged elsewhere. It’s straightforward satisfying such requests using Zetadocs. Such flexibility gives a partner the ability to create many custom solutions according to exact customer requirements and simply extend them when those requirements change.

5. How will you manage the capture of paper documents and emails?

Uploading electronic documents to Business Central records is all fine and good, but consideration needs to be given to the capturing of paper documents and other files such as emails from Outlook.

Supporting locally attached scanners gives the option to upload electronic images of paper-based documents directly into the Zetadocs Documents FactBox in the Business Central server. This is useful in customer scenarios where immediately scanning documents like contracts is simpler than a two-stage process of walking to a network-attached scanner, scanning to the PC desktop or Outlook and then uploading the file to Business Central.

When document volumes demand, the addition of a barcode sticker to inbound paper documents enables scanning in batches with automated filing. Zetadocs reads each barcode, then splits the scanned batch of documents and automatically links them to their existing Business Central records. This feature is particularly handy in scenarios when it is important to capture proof of delivery or other signed evidence to progress a sale transaction.

Emails stored in Outlook are more easily attached using drag and drop than any two-stage process where the email must first be saved to desktop and then uploaded into Business Central.

6. How to automate without losing the personal touch?

In the first portion of this guide, we have focused on the questions and considerations around the incoming documents process. Let’s now consider the output of Business Central records as documents and how partnering with an expert such as Equisys increases your chances of successful and profitable DMS projects.

When emailing electronic documents from Business Central, customers normally demand that you consider a number of extra elements beyond just sending the standard report as a PDF file in an email. For instance, do your customers need to add extra attachments like their Terms and Conditions of Sale or a seasonal promotional offer when a particular item is ordered?

Are you able to use dynamic fields to personalize the emails or consolidate multiple emails in a batch so that the customer only receives one email at a time? What about setting the From address on the email so that replies are routed to a communal inbox monitored by an appropriate team, or even having flexible delivery rules that add additional recipients (TO, CC and BCC) and change the default delivery method for particular customers.

Zetadocs Delivery offers these varying degrees of extra control to help you sell a document output solution that really matches your customers’ needs.

7. How will you enhance your customers’ business processes with automation?

Zetadocs is able to handle rich automation options like the scheduling of bulk-email batches.

So, when an overdue account slips past a new threshold, Zetadocs could automatically email a customer with an appropriately stern reminder; or all posted invoices could be sent automatically at different points in the day, or at the end of each month all customers with an overdue balance could be sent a statement automatically in a bulk email task. When adding automation, there are lots of possibilities, yet all the while flexibility and control of the process within a Business Central codeunit is retained.

8. How will the solution help you add value to your business processes?

One of the key principals of Zetadocs for Business Central is a clear distinction between Zetadocs core codeunits and codeunits provided for partner customization.

This distinction makes it easier for us to update our codeunits without fear of disrupting a partner’s customization code. The other benefit of this approach is to provide repeatable code management for partners that include examples of how to achieve additional customization for common business processes.

This way our partners are able to develop software in a familiar programming language, working from strong examples, whilst making it far easier to port each customization with minor modifications for the next customer.

This helps Business Central partners working with Zetadocs differentiate themselves and deploy more quickly each subsequent new customer system.

9. Are you confident that you can deliver DMS solutions profitably?

Gaining a deeper understanding of how all these considerations impact your choices and the ultimate DMS that you deliver to each customer is made easier when you partner with Zetadocs.  After all, we have now been down that road before with over 1,000 customers since the days of NAV.

Zetadocs partners can rely on our deep understanding of using Business Central with a DMS, and our willingness to help.  We can explain how best to provide custom solutions, and we will work with you to meet each of your customer’s unique business requirements.  That can make the difference between an effective DMS that can be customized quickly to meet specific needs and one that is basic and generic that you have had to develop extensively on your own with little or no support.

We invest in our partner support systems, from pre-sales solution advice and implementation insight to post-sale technical support, ensuring our partners have the best possible chance of successful and profitable DMS projects.

10. How will the solution enhance your customer’s experience with you?

Don’t find yourself painted into a corner where your options are limited.

Look for a Document Management solution that offers your customers choice, from where they store their electronic documents, how staff can search for those documents, to how you can tailor the solution to match precise business needs, getting expert advice along the way from a solution provider that really understands how to do document management within Business Central.

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