Like a Tarantino film, I’ll start at the end and then jump to the beginning. If you’re considering purchasing a Document Management System (DMS), NetDocuments and Worldox are both amazing products. In order to select the right product, one has to understand how the firm operates. Since not all firms are created equal, the way to choose the best DMS is being aware of all the firm’s needs. Then select the product that meets those needs. Now back to the beginning…
Server-Based vs. Cloud-Based DMS
Worldox and NetDocuments have two very different platforms in which they operate. One is server-based and the other is cloud-based. A server-based DMS (such as Worldox) electronically stores documents in a physical database which is attached to a server on the network. This is usually located inside the firm’s building. This allows all users to access their documents through the server, often through a company network or portal. In contrast, a cloud-based DMS (such as NetDocuments) stores all files in an off-site location. In this case, there is a physical building somewhere else, that electronically stores the firm’s files. This allows users to access documents from anywhere through the internet. Worldox does offer a cloud option, but the purpose of this is comparison is to compare Worldox Premise based DMS with NetDocuments cloud based DMS, not Worldox Cloud with NetDocuments.
Worldox vs. NetDocuments
Now let’s take a look at how NetDocuments and Worldox stack up against each other.
The NetDocuments interface looks very professional and is easy to navigate. The buttons and options are clearly labeled. The interface allows users to customize their workspace, alter how documents are viewed, and adjust screen parameters; which allows for more or less of a particular part of that screen to be viewed. As of February 2014, NetDocuments has released an update that changes the layout of documents list. They have sortable and adjustable columns in list view, and a cleaner Outlook integration interface that is similar to Outlook.
Although the layout does no look as clean, nearly everything is adjustable to maximize screen real-estate. Also, sort options can be adjusted or moved around added or deleted.
Draw – when it comes to appearance and user interface, preference depends on user perspective and experience.
|Recent Documents||A “Recent Docs” link makes it easy for users to view the last forty documents they created, opened, or edited.||Worldox allows users to view recent documents that have been opened, edited, or created. Also, users can have favorite matters and projects.||Draw – both products easily sort and provide many options for accessing recent documents.|
|Searching||Offers full text searching and search profiles. You can search by keyword, creation date, e-mail address, document type, and additional filters. You can also search through folders. (more info)
|Offers full text searching and search profiles. Search by keyword, file type, profiles, recent documents, and date. Also offers direct access and multiple search tables. (more info)||Draw – both allow multiple search options and have the ability to save searches, look up recent searches and e-mail those filters|
|Integration||Integration with Microsoft Office, Outlook EMS folders and profiler, Time Matters, Clio, Workshare, DocSolid (for scanning/barcode), WordPerfect, and OBDC database driven practice management systems.||Integrates directly with Microsoft Office, Outlook, and scanning hardware / software (e.g. Adobe, Fujitsu ScanSnap). Also integrates with Amicus Attorney and Time Matters.||Draw – both systems integrate with a number of different programs.|
|Conversion||Either the vendor or an outside consultant will perform the conversion. A folder import utility and mass import tool is used to tag and move documents into the system. Depending on the size of the firm and number of documents, this could take days or months.||Allows all documents to be migrated to the system individually or in batches (as long as each batch is saved under the same profile group). Again, this is typically done by the vendor or an outside consultant.||
Draw – both products offer similar abilities and options to convert documents.
|Document Saving||Compatible with MS Office, and Adobe Acrobat. Can save any documents and make those documents searchable with comments and profiling. Users can also save audio, picture and video files.||Allows users to save MS Office files, Adobe Acrobat and Corel Office files (in 32bit versions). Worldox allows you to save anything into it, including audio, picture, video, and even executable (exe) files. Then using comments sections you can make that document searchable.||
Worldox – since it’s compatible with an additional office program.
|Operating System Compatibility
||Compatible with Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. It also works on both Windows and MAC. Best with Internet Explorer for Active-X compatibilities.||Compatible with Windows, MAC, and Mac IOS. According the the Worldox website, “The Mac version is not a standalone product; it requires a Worldox back-end including file server and indexer.”||Draw|
||All updates are performed automatically.||Updates must be installed manually.||NetDocuments|
Offers users a few ways to organize their folders in the cloud. In this case, specific to “Profiling,” NetDocuments offers tagging. Other options include drag and drop and you can force users to save everything in NetDocuments or provide them with options to save locally. All of these options are customizable. You also have the ability to drag and drop a document and NetDocuments will automatically profile it for you.
|Allows customization of predetermined fields to profile the documents making them easy to find. They can also be profiled by group as well (accounting vs. attorney). Since Worldox integrates with Outlook, you can save e-mails within the structure as well. Worldox provides “quick profiling” where it remembers how you profiled recent e-mails, and through this feature you can set up Outlook folders so they can be dragged and dropped into that folder right from Outlook.||
Draw – on one hand, Worldox forces userts to save files within it’s file structure. Also, documents may not be dragged and dropped anywhere at anytime. However, NetDocuments offers more options to setup this structure and offers many similar features.
|Security||Access to files, folders, or cabinets can be controlled. Meets compliance requirements related to HIPAA, SEC, FINRA and other industry-specific standards.||Allows varied levels of access based on document, user, or group. Supports Active Directory securing model. Additional security can be applied when e-mail documents by applying a password to access those documents outside the company.||NetDocuments – because you get the added security of cloud storage and document redundancy automatically.|
|Support||Offers online support though website including videos and forms. They offer the ability to submit a request online and check on the statues of that request. Although they offer phone support, they prefer that you go to support.netdocuments.com. They can be reached M-F 8am-5pm your time zone.||Offers online support options through their website including videos, forms and a knowledge base. They can be reached by phone or e-mail and they maintain regular support times (9am to 7pm EST M-F). They also allow you to check on the status of your ticket.||Draw – both offer similar support.|
|NetDocuments offers a “View in Browser option.” This allows you to view the document without opening it and view highlight search results in text.||Offers a document preview tool that allows you to view the document without opening it. Users can also copy text or fields, search for text or words, and tools to scroll though hits that were returned by text search in preview mode.||Draw – both programs have similar preview options.|
|Print to Adobe & Save Email||
Users can override an existing document or save it as a different version. Users can also e-mail documents as a link or an attachment. Shows document summary that provides many different options to change or view details about that document. Documents need to be converted to PDF first then e-mailed.
|Users can override an existing document or save up to 256 different versions of the same document. User can also save a document as a new file or change the profile if needed. E-mail (send copy for external use, send link for internal, or send file zipped so the user needs a password to view documents). Allows you to turn a Word document into a PDF and e-mail in one step.||
Draw – NetDocuments has a cleaner, more modern Outlook integration, while Worldox has a better compatibility with Adobe.
|Hardware Requirements||The beauty of NetDocuments is that it only requires web access and a browser. (more info)||Worldox can run on a shared network PC or a server, however, it requires a non-workstation PC for the indexer, as well as periodic updates to keep it running smoothly. (more info)||NetDocuments has fewer tech requirements overall.|
|Project Capabilities||NetDocuments has “workspaces” which allow the user to look at all of the documents on a particular matter. These can be shared and viewed with co-workers. All users can make changes to these workspaces and the changes will affect how everyone else views this workspace. Workspaces have customizable names, descriptions, logos and layouts. Users can have multiple folders or workspaces available at one time on the home page.||Worldox has a “favorite matters” option which allows users to track matters rather than just the documents within them. Workspaces are setup by each user so they can personalize matters they are working on, folders and these can be shared with other co-workers. Worldox can run on a shared network PC or a server, however, it requires a non-workstation PC for the indexer. (more info)||Draw – while both systems provide different customization options, overall they are similar.|
|Workflow Tools||NetDocuments does not have anything labeled as a workflow tool. They do allow users to share workspaces which allows for real-time collaboration and assign or approval features.||Workflow feature allows users to generate a process that assigns other users certain actions for that document or set of documents. Deadlines can be included within this feature. Example: editing before sending.||Worldox – since they offer workflow tools. If there was a greater need for workflow tools then practice management software should be considered.|
|Client Portal||NetDocuments has a few options. You can send a secure link to users to view documents. Share space allows you to share a handful of documents with people outside of the organization. The third option allows you to create a folder in a work space for external users.||While Worldox does not have these options you can share and encrypt documents via e-mail.||NetDocuments – since this feature is not offered in Worldox.|
|Document Stamping||NetDocuments offers Personal Digital Certificate, which provides legal protection. Documents also get a signature which is basically a date/time stamp and locks document text.||Worldox stamps every document with a Worldox ID, which is customizable.||NetDocuments, since they offer digital certificates.|
|Price||Basic: $20/user/Mo (10GB base storage plus 1GB per user). Professional: $30/user/Mo (10GB base storage plus 1GB per user). Professional+: $38/user/Mo (10GB base storage plus 2GB per user). If needed additional storage is $3/GB/month (more info)||GX3: $425.00 / user. Maintenance: $84/user/yr. (more info)This does not include mobility tools, discussed below.||Draw – this can depend on application and needs.|
|Mobility||Full access to all documents from any web browser or free NetDocuments App for your smartphone and tablets. Digital signatures make finalizing documents easier from anywhere.||Offers 4 add-ons that give you access to your documents from any Internet connected device: Hosted (SAAS) Worldox/Web Mobile: $25/user/Mo. Traditional Worldox/Web Mobile: $995/server; $49/user + Maintenance costs.GX3 has Enterprise which is great for multiple offices and remote environments. Worldox also offers a cloud option, giving you the ability to choose cloud or servers based within one product. (more info)||NetDocuments – it is more easily compatible with mobile devices out of the box. However, keep in mind that Worldox offers multiple options for mobility (although some come at an additional cost).|
|Annual Cost for a 5-Person Firm (over 5yrs)||Basic: $6,000 (10gb Database plus 1GB per user so 15GB)Professional: $9,000(10gb Database plus 1Gb per user so 15GB)Professional+: $11,400(10gb Database plus 2Gb per user so 20GB)||GX3: $4225**Price does not include Web Mobile (mentioned above), required hardware (mentioned above), or the cost to apply maintenance and updates on said hardware.||Draw – Based on the stand-alone products, Worldox has the advantage. However, additional mobility features and/or hardware requirements can change this. NetDocuments requires less hardware and does not need to be maintained or upgraded by the firm.|
So where should one begin when selecting a program? Start with a few basic questions:
- Is mobility a key feature or can we better leverage a local DMS?
- What features will most benefit OUR firm (i.e. client portal or quick profiles)?
- Can we commit to the training and education we’ll need to ensure success?
- Do I need (not want) any specific integrations?
Remember that with a basic edition you may not get all of the features you need. It is important to know your needs. This is where a consultant or a third party that can provide valuable recommendations to ensure that you’re selecting the right DMS.
Finally, on a personal note, I always look at technical support as a critical decision. When something goes awry – how will I be helped or treated? In the long run, just make sure you have considered the firm’s needs to make sure the effort goes as smoothly as possible.